About wood pests

Pest is the name given to microorganisms and insects that reduce the value of the wood in the living tree or later during processing and use.

From a biological point of view, the so-called wood pests are part of the natural eco system. They break down dead plant matter, releasing nutrients which are then taken up by young plants. They are, therefore, indispensable for the global carbon cycle. Unfortunately, it makes no difference to fungi whether the wood they attack is a dead branch on the forest floor or a palisade post in your garden. Some fungus and insect species flourish particularly well under the conditions created by humans, making them troublesome wood pests.


To grow, fungi need plenty of moisture and, just like insects, are very sensitive to temperatures. Wooden objects and structures are therefore susceptible to pest attack to varying degrees, depending on their function. Wood with ground contact is particularly at risk, as it provides ideal living conditions for some fungi and is also open to attack from bacteria living in the soil. Wood in houses is not at risk from fungal attack, unless there are some constructional defects, which allow the wood to be affected by moisture after its installation. Such sources of moisture can include roof leaks, a lack of moisture seals or condensation.

Insects, like the common furniture or house longhorn beetles, also attack dry wood used in internal applications. In contrast to fungi, which, due to their spores, are practically everywhere, infestation by wood-destroying insects is in a limited area initially.

DIN 68800 describes the extent to which wood is at risk from infestation by wood pests in various different applications. For many uses, especially when wood is exposed to the elements, preventive treatment with chemical wood preservatives is imperative, depending on the type of wood used.

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Wood wasp

Gloeophyllum on window frame