RAL Inspection and Testing Services

A Healthy Environment is Essential for a Life With Good Health

Call 215 257-4500 for Questions or to Schedule a Service

Serving Southeastern Pennsylvania and Offering Peace of Mind, Knowledge, Safety, and Security

Termite (Wood Destroying Insects) Inspection

(Average fee: $55 - $100)

- We are Pennsylvania Licensed Pesticide Applicators.

- A termite inspection (WDI) includes inspecting for wood destroying insects which include: termites, carpenter bees, carpenter ants, beetles, and other wood pests.

- A wood pest inspection examines a structure for evidence of a wood pest invasion. In the case of termites, this evidence may be the termite itself, expelled termite wings, termite droppings (frass), damage to the wood, tunnels, mud tubes etc. Factors such as direct wood to ground contact, high moisture conditions, and cracks in the foundation, need to be closely examined for possible termite intrusion. Holes in the wood or piles of wood particles may suggest the presence of beetles, carpenter ants, or carpenter bees.

☀ Wood Pest Insects Include:

*Termites - Cause the most damage

*Beetles - Can cause medium structural damage over time.

*Carpenter Ants- Can cause heavy structural damage if left unchecked

*Carpenter Bees - Generally only mild damage.

*Horntail - Light damage.


Subterranean termites are the most economically important species of termites in the United States, and can cause significant structural damage. The subterranean termite is found in southeastern Pennsylvania. They are social insects and live in colonies. Termites generally live in the ground and enter wood structures looking for food (the wood). Development occurs through incomplete metamorphosis. It is important that structural wood does not touch the ground to prevent access to the structure by the termites.

Winged termites have two pairs of wings, of equal length. Termites have a thick waist and the antennae is not elbowed.

Carpenter ants have elbowed antennae, a thin waist, and two pairs of wings of unequal length.


Over 30,000 beetle species exist in the United States. Fortunately only a few are pests of wood. One major group of wood infesting beetles is the powderpost beetles. Another group is the long-horned borer, with the old house borer being of particular concern.

Beetles can infest and cause notable wood structure damage over time. Only a few beetle species are of concern with regards to seasoned (dry) wood and the damage may be minimal.

Some beetles are small, such as the powder post beetle (1/8" to 5/16" long). However the small beetles can account for a majority of the wood structure damage. Clues to identifying a particular beetle pest include the adult or larvae form of the pest, the type of wood infested, the size of the exit holes, the droppings or frass, and the marks left in the feeding galleries.

At times in the life cycle of the beetle, the adults may emerge from the infested wood by the thousands causing concern by home owners. This situation however, may result in more cosmetic damage to the wood than structural damage to the dwelling.

Carpenter Ants

Of the 500 native species in the United States, only a few are of concern in damaging structures. Carpenter ants are social insects lining in large colonies of several thousand. Carpenter ants do not eat the wood as do termites, but hollow out the wood for a nesting site. They bore tunnels into the wood to form shelter. This hollowing of the wood can cause considerable damage over time.

An ant can be recognized by the slender waist and the unequal wing lengths. Termites have a thick waist and wing pairs of equal length.

Carpenter Bees

The carpenter bee is a solitary insect and is less likely to cause serious damage to a structure. This is a large insect and may cause concern to those that view the bee.

The damage caused by carpenter bees is caused by mated females excavating new tunnels or expanding or cleaning out an old gallery. These round 1/2 inch galleries may reach 6 to 10 feet in length and become branched and interconnected. This may result in structural and cosmetic wood damage.

It can be distinguished from the bumble bee by the lack of hairs on the top of the abdomen. The top of the bumblebee's abdomen is covered with hair.

Wood Wasp (Horntail)

The wood wasp is not a wasp but rather a beetle. It is a harmless pest and neither bites nor stings. It may live in wood for years before exiting as a large insect. The damage caused by this insect is caused by the larvae burying in the wood. While harmless, the insect is large and may even look fierce, and it is the appearance of the adult insect that may emerge indoors that causes concern.

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