There are various species of wood-destroying insects that are common in Costa Rica, and of these, carpenter ants, termites and beetles are the most common pests that damage wood. Some actually eat the wood, others bore holes into soft wood and some are born inside of dry wood.
Carpenter ants in Costa Rica, (hormigas carpinteras in Spanish) build nests in hollowed-out galleries inside humid wood, and they can be the cause of major structural damage in dwellings. These wood destroying ants unlike termites, do not consume wood, they bore holes or grooves inside the wood and create nests in walls, hollow doors, cabinets, beams and structural wood. They can be identified by a sawdust-like material called “frass” that can be found near their nesting locations. This sawdust material is actually excrement and it is usually moist since they build their nests in humid wood. There are various home remedies to locate and exterminate ants; however, in dwellings containing a lot of wood, a long-term prevention program by an experienced professional is the best method to protect your property.
Termites are the most destructive, are voracious cellulose eaters, and they can digest a huge amount of wood in a very short period of time. They live in colonies composed of thousands of individuals, and work every day, all day, and will continue to eat at cellulose material until they are terminated from the structure, as anyone who has had termites in their house is painfully aware of.
If you have traveled around Costa Rica a few times, you’ve more than likely spotted a few of those huge nests hanging from trees.
Most folks probably had no idea that termites create billions of dollars of construction restoration and pest prevention work throughout the world every year.
In 2012, a historical building in Costa Rica’s capital was being eaten by termites; as you can read in this article in Nacion.com.
In order to learn more about these amazing little pests, let’s take a look at the real nuts and bolts of termites.
Termites, (termitas or comején in Costa Rica), are wood-eating pests that feed on cellulose, found in wood and its derivatives like paper, cardboard or chipboard products. The word “Termite” comes from the Latin word “Termes”, meaning woodworm and there are many species, some that produce more offspring than others and in numbers comes their strength and ability to render dwellings to dust and cause billions of dollars in damage every year.
Termites, in general, are social insects and they all live and work together in cooperative societies called colonies with physically distinctive group members performing specific functions.