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Termites And Other Wood Destroying Inspects – What They Look Like [with pictures]

BY Steve Rodriguez

Termites and Carpenter Ants and Carpenter Bees (oh my)

Aka Wood destroying insects.  Or WDI. 

In Kansas City, houses and termites go together just like any other bad relationship – you can expect some damage and disappointment to come out of it.

So along with the home inspection, radon test, and sewer scope, the termite inspection (technically the Wood-Destroying Insect or WDI) rounds out the 4 most important inspections every homebuyer should always consider.

Kansas City has a few different types of havoc-wreaking wood-destroying insects that eat, burrow, and live in and around our homes.

The most common is the subterranean termite but there is also the carpenter ant and the carpenter bee. 

These are the Big 3.  In fact, it’s not really a matter of IF one of them pays you a visit, but WHEN.

Subterranean Termites

These saw-toothed soft-bodied buggers nest underground and stay active year-round by traveling through shelter tubes (aka mud tubes). They cannot survive for long outside a damp moist environment, eat wood 24/7 365 days a year, and their favorite meal is soft, damp wood.

What They Look Like

There are 3 different types and they all live together.  If you see any of them, you have an infestation.

Workers: About 1/4″ and cream-colored

Soldiers: Large pincers and darker color

Reproductives (swarmers): 1/4″ to 1/2″ body with 2 sets of long wings

Carpenter Bees

This least common culprit is also the least destructive but no less annoying because they look like bumblebees.

What They Look Like

Hairy top and smooth bottom.  That’s the easiest way to tell the difference between them and a bumblebee.

Females have a stinger, but males don’t.

Photo of author


Steve Rodriguez is a Certified Master Inspector® and the owner of Bulldog Professional Inspection Services. He will perform your home inspection and has personally uncovered tens-of-thousands of defects in 14,000+ Kansas City properties since 2003.

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