Wood Destroying Pests of the Greater Seattle Region

Author: Kurt Treftz, Cascade Pest Control

The Seattle / Puget Sound region is a spectacular area known for its beauty – and enjoyed by residents and vacationers alike. While the region provides humans a lush, rich landscape of vegetation, it can also provide wood destroying pests and organisms an ideal environment for breeding, and infestation. And unfortunately, these pests can cause your home and business structural damage if left untreated.

What are the Wood Destroying Pests of the Pacific Northwest?

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter Ants are the most commonly encountered wood destroying insect in our area. Here’s some of what makes them so tough on our homes:

Only 1 in 10 homes that are infested with carpenter ants have them appear indoors where they’d be easily seen. Carpenter Ants only destroy wood in their nesting process and do not eat it. Since their food consists of other insects and aphid “honeydew,” they seldom forage indoors, but instead leave the structure to forage outdoors.

They divide their huge colony into multiple nest sites, often spreading out over several different homes, or stumps and trees in the vicinity.

Many homes have more than one Carpenter Ant nest sites in the structure (i.e., wall framing, substructure beneath bathroom, attic/roof structure).

Carpenter Ants are complex and formidable. Every homeowner needs to know about this serious Northwest Pest and the damage carpenter ants can cause in your home.  Contact Cascade Pest Control for more information on Carpenter Ants or to schedule a treatment.




Termites are the classic “home destroyer” and we in the Pacific Northwest actually have two very different termite species: one that is found throughout Western Washington -and happens to be one of the largest termites in North America- and another termite species that comes up from the soil and is limited to certain parts of our region. All termites actually eat and digest wood cellulose.  Prevent attracting termites in your home! Contact Cascade for more information on termites or to schedule a treatment for your home or business.

Pacific Dampwood Termites

These are some of the largest termites in North America, perhaps the world, but thankfully they only attack wood that is so wet and moist that rot (wood decay fungus) is likely to set in. They are found throughout the Puget Sound and are commonly found in wood that is laying on the ground, partially rotted. Homes only encounter these termites when there is some excessive moisture condition such as a chronic roof leak, a chronic pluming leak, or excessive moisture in a substructure crawlspace (standing water, lack of ventilation, etc.) Dampwood Termites swarm – that is, they send out their winged-reproductives, in the late summer. We at Cascade emphasize moisture control and repairs over chemical application for this termite pest.

Western Subterranean Termites

The “subterranean” termite is the infamous termite that does so much damage to homes. They send troops out of the ground nest lying somewhere beneath the home and it is these worker termites that tunnel through the timber and framing of homes and, over time, cause significant destruction. This kind of termite is found in certain geographic areas of King County and southward. (It’s whereabouts in Snohomish County is not clearly known.) The only “sturdy” way to control this termite involves treating the soil around the structure.



Wood Boring Beetles

There are numerous kinds of beetles, actually the grub-like beetle larvae, that infest wood and destroy it. The various beetles each prefer different kinds of wood, such as either hardwoods or softwoods, and particular moisture levels. The female beetle lays eggs into pores within the woods surfaces and it is the larvae that tunnel though the timbers as they eating and digesting it along the way. The mature larvae tunnel there way nearly to the surface of the wood to pupate, then they emerge from just below the surface as adult beetles. A couple of the most important wood boring beetles follow. Contact Cascade for more information on wood boring beetles or to schedule a treatment.

Powder Post Beetles

These are the most famous wood boring beetles, and nest only in hardwoods, such as oak flooring and furniture. They are, for the most part, not native to our area, but are brought in the ‘previously infested wood’ of our new flooring or furniture. This often means that some hardwood manufacturer didn’t properly kiln dry the timber prior to milling. Their damage can be significant, but will not re-infest nor will they spread into the structural timber of our structures (as structural framing consists of softwoods that powder post beetles do not like.) Treatment may or may not be needed even if found to be emerging and the methods vary according to the particular situation.

Anobiid Beetles

These are the beetles that can infest structural timber in Western Washington. They love softwoods (the Douglas Fir and Hemlock that make up our homes), particularly the sapwood portions, and can only thrive in wood that has a high moisture content. As such, they are most often found in log homes, very old homes with timber that was not kiln dried, and situations where homes are exposed to too much moisture. Control is achieved through some combination of moisture control and direct treatment. Contact Cascade for more information or to schedule a treatment.

Wood Decay Fungus (wood rot)

Wood Decay Fungus is the proper term for the species of fungus that damage wood. Wood Decay Fungus will only set into wood when the moisture content is quite high, so most cases involve faulty roofing and gutters, faulty plumbing, or standing water in a substructure crawlspace. Control of Wood Decay Fungus must entail “moisture control,” and may also include the application of a wood preservative as well. Repairs are often necessary. Cascade can provide many of these services, depending upon the nature and extent of moisture problem and damage.

Professional Pest Control

Cascade Pest Control has the knowledge and expertise for safe pest control for all wood destroying pests in the greater Seattle region. Request a Quote below or call 1-888-989-8979 

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