different-types-ofwood-eating-insect

DIFFERENT TYPES OF WOOD-EATING INSECTS

Wood is one of the most substantial elements found on earth, it is used in almost every building and furniture, which makes it a highly important material, which in turn makes insects that eat wood, one of the most destructive pests in the world.

Not all types of wood-eating insects are hazardous to the environment and can be found everywhere on earth, however, some perform vital ecological functions and are of grave importance to the health of ecosystems they live in.

HOW DO INSECTS DIGEST WOOD?

Wood digestion is not dependent on microorganisms in real wood-feeding insects. There are two sorts of such insects:

  • In the absence of cellulose-breaking enzymes. Insects of this species get their carbohydrates from the soluble sugars and starch in the wood they eat, hence they can only eat wood that is somewhat rich in these components.
  • Enzymes that break down cellulose. Through the action of their secretions, these insects may use the cellulose in the wood. As a result, they may survive on woodlands that are deficient in simple carbohydrates.

TYPES OF INSECTS THAT EAT WOOD

There are several and numerous types of insects that ingest wood as their food, some of which are major threats to the environment, properties, and forests. Following are a few insects that live on wood:

TERMITES

Termites are members of the Blattodea family. Although they resemble ants in look and behavior, these insects are much more closely connected to cockroaches. Termites are found in over 3,000 distinct species across the world.

Termites are dreaded by people because they tend to invade wooden human constructions, destroying them if effective pest control is not implemented. Some termite species dwell in wet wood, others in dry wood, and still others reside in the ground, where they form massive termite mounds that allow them to exit the earth in search of their preferred diet, wood.

They can consume and digest wood because of a symbiotic interaction with a type of bacteria in their intestines. They are responsible for eating trash and deadfall in the environment, offering an important ecological function. When they come into touch with wooden structures, though, they can inflict costly damage and possibly weaken the house’s supports to unsafe levels.

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WOOD-BORING BEETLES

This is a huge beetle family with a diverse range of species. The larvae of certain species eat wood, whereas the adults of others eat wood. They may wreak a lot of damage in any circumstance. They love to attack dead or dying trees, making them extremely essential in forest ecosystems. They assist in the removal of dead trees to make room for new ones to grow.

They are also one of the most significant wood foragers, helping to recover nutrients from dead trees. Adults frequently deposit their embryos inside the wood, forcing the young to dig their way out. Because the life cycle of a beetle can last more than a year, it’s usual for cut lumber used in construction to contain beetle eggs, which hatch after the wood has been used to make furniture or homes.

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CARPENTER ANTS

Carpenter ants, unlike many other wood-destroying insects, do not eat wood for food. Instead, these bugs derive their names from the fact that they bore into wood and make nests in weakening or decaying wood, insulating materials, hollow-core doors, and crevices between walls. Carpenter ants produce wood decay after the nest is established, allowing the infestation to spread. Because they feed on decaying or damp wood, these pests are frequently found in bathrooms, under sinks, and near dishwashers.

Carpenter ants consume honeydew, a sticky substance generated by aphids. They actively cultivate these aphids to guarantee they constantly have a source of honeydew. They provide refuge for them within their nests, as well as food and predator protection.

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CARPENTER BEES

Carpenter bees are found in almost 500 different species all over the planet. Instead of just living in big hives, the majority of them live alone. They, like carpenter ants, don’t use wood for nourishment; instead, they chew it up to create their nests. They dig through dead wood, opening a single entrance that splits into several tunnels that lead to the chambers where they lay their embryos and nurture their larvae.

Carpenter bees resemble bumblebees in appearance, with big, fluffy bodies and placid behavior, seldom stinging unless provoked severely. Because males lack a stinger, they are completely harmless. Nectar and pollen are their principal sources of nutrition, the same as other bees.

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HORNTAILS

Horntails, often known as wood wasps, are a subfamily of the Siricidae family of insects. Wood wasps come in around 150 distinct species, all of which have one thing in common: their offspring feed on wood.

The huge, spike-like bony protrusions at the end of their stomach distinguish them from other solitary wasp species. Adults lay their larvae in trees, and the larvae tunnel their way deep into the trees once they hatch. They’ll spend two or three years living within the tree.

Surprisingly, these larvae do not devour the wood they bore through. Instead, they ingest a fungus that is placed alongside their eggs in the wood. The fungus develops and grows with the larvae, supplying them with food. They bore back towards the top shortly before becoming adults until they are barely beneath their bark. 

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POWDER POST BEETLES

Powder post beetles come in seventy different kinds and may be serious pests. Their embryos bore into wood, creating a characteristic sawdust-like powder mound outside their boreholes. The larvae are sustained by the wood’s starch content while they develop and mature for months or years, depending on the variety.

In other species, the infestation is only discovered after the adults have burrowed their way out of the wood. If a powder post beetle infestation remains unreported for long enough, the larvae may quickly convert the interior of the wood to powder, destroying the structural stability.

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WEEVILS

The large, thin snouts of weevils make them identifiable. Weevils come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and not all of them devour wood. Many of these are well-known agricultural pests, such as the boll weevil and maize weevil, which can wreak havoc on whole harvests.

The wood-boring weevil, for example, only eats wood. Unlike most weevils and every other bug on this list, however, it does not pose a threat to humans. That’s because it only consumes wood that has already been predigested by a fungus. To put it another way, it consumes decaying wood and hence does not infest buildings or furniture.

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CARPENTER MOTHS

Carpenter moths belong to the Cossidae family of nocturnal butterflies. Males of this species do not eat anything; instead, they have a shrunken tube that serves primarily to reproduce. It feeds its enormous larvae on old, damp wood. Throughout their youth, which may last up to three years, they remain concealed behind the bark of the trees.

VERDICT

Wood is useful and yet most widely used substance for humans when it comes to building a huge infrastructure or a small house or for paper, tools, or weapons. Most of the useful wood is often infected by these hazardous insects or bugs that rot it completely, leaving it for no use. If any certain patch of wood is infected by these unwanted wood eaters, then you should replace it as soon as possible before it rots other patches too. You can also treat your woods from being infested such as: For your wood treatment, go for a borate-based solution. Disodium octa borate Tetrahydrate, often known as borate, is a chemical compound that combines oxygen and boron to cure and prevent bugs from devouring wood.