How to Get Rid of Wood Borers

Termite trails in old, rotted wood.
  • 1 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 80
What You'll Need
Ant bait or gel
Termite bait

Wood borers are not especially prolific, but they can still do serious damage to your home if you don't handle them quickly. The most common culprits are termites, wood-boring beetles and carpenter ants. Getting rid them is essential if you want to keep the value of your home intact but there are separate methods for exterminating each of these bugs that you should become familiar with.


A winged termite

Termites are the wood-boring pests that show up most frequently in homes. While there are several different types, all of them exhibit the same general symptoms when you have an infestation. If you suspect a termite problem, look for cracked or bubbling paint, mud tubes on your exterior walls or in crawl spaces, or temporary swarms of winged insects around your home (or discarded wings from these swarms). You can also tap on any wood structures and listen for a hollow sound that will indicate the damage already done inside.

Two main kinds of treatments exist to deal with termites. One is to use termite bait, which you can place directly into the ground where termites will find and feed on it. Bait is the preferred method of treatment in areas where pesticide use is restricted. The other method is a chemical treatment that, when applied, forms a barrier around your house that prevents termites from entering. The chemical stays in the soil and prevents future infestation for many years. Make sure when purchasing that you find a treatment specially made for termites.


Wood-boring beetles are insects whose larvae can live from two to five years within your home, eating through the wood until they destroy it completely. Adults exit the wood when they are grown, so the best indication of a wood-boring beetle infestation will be small holes in the surface of the infested areas.

Beetles have specific moisture requirements, so if a barrier like a polyethylene covering the foundation of the house is put in place, you can prevent them from spreading. Also, brush any unprotected wood with a special insecticide that will kill the beetles and larvae to stop an infestation before it starts.

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants on grass

Carpenter ants are one of the largest species of ant in the US, while these bugs do not eat wood, they do bore into it to make their nests. The most common signs of a carpenter ant infestation include visible foragers looking for food, swarmers from a mature colony looking to form a new one, and a rustling sound sometimes heard from their movements in your home.

These ants require effective ant bait or gel and a spray pesticide to get rid of. First, destroy any nests outside the home and you will be rid of their whole colonies. Use bait and sprays to kill any remaining carpenter ants in the house.