Borer Vs. Termite : Differentiate Borers from Termites

Borer Vs. Termite : Differentiate Borers from Termites

As the weather gets warmer and warmer, more pests tend to pop out of everywhere. Every pest is irritating and some might also cause significant damage to your property as termites and borers do. Even though termites and borers both cause damage to wood items and furniture on your property, they are very different from each other. It takes much skill to identify which pest is causing problems to your property. It is definitely recommended to have a professional pest control company to inspect, but it is worth knowing yourself a thing or two, so that you can easily spot what and what not to do.


Termites are eusocial insects that have six legs, antennae and wings, and are almost an inch in size. Termites form large colonies and eat away all the physical structures in your property. The most common termite species found in Australia are subterranean termites, which means they are mostly underground. Even though some termites build their nests in trees, they are connected to the ground by mud tubes. Termites build these protective mud tubes when they need to move above ground, typically to find a food source, i.e. your property.

To identify termites, if you see pale, soft-bodied insects that look a lot like ants, then they are definitely termites. Although they look like ants, they are more closely related to cockroaches. Of all the timber pests, termites cause the majority of damage to buildings and furniture.


Borers are wood damaging insects that invade and damage structural and furniture wood based on the type and moisture content of the wood. They are widely known in Australia to attack old furniture and structural timbers such as flooring and roofing. Every property constructed with natural wood is at risk to borer infestations.

There are four stages of wood borer development. The first is egg-laying — adult borer beetles will lay eggs in cracks of wooden objects, floorboard, and timbers. The second is the larva stage in which as soon as they hatch, they immediately burrow through the timber, making them very unlikely to be seen. They safely hide inside the wood, continue to the tunnel, and feed on wood for several years. The larva or the grub of the borer beetles causes the most damage. The third stage is the pupa, which bores towards the wood surface to pupate. The final stage is adult when the borers emerge as adults on the wood surface.

To identify borer beetle infestation, you must check for some obvious signs on your property. The eggs of these beetles are mostly found in wooden cracks and old furniture. You can see a lot of sawdust lying around the infested wooden furniture, caused by the emerging borer beetles. Also, look for exit holes on the wood, these exit holes are round or oval-shaped with sharp edges around them. If these exit holes appear clean and fresh, then your property is definitely infested with borer beetles.

Difference between Borer and Termites

Although termites and wood borer beetles are both known for damaging the wooden structures on your property, these two pests are completely different from one another and it is really important to properly identify and differentiate these pests. It may take time to detect their presence and identify which pest is causing damage to your property. Here are some telltale differences to help you remain aware of these pests.

  •  The main obvious sign is their size and the way they look. Termites look more like ants and are whitish in color, whereas borers change their appearance as they evolve, the larva stage has a caterpillar-style body structure and the adult stage is a fully grown beetle. 
  •  It is the larvae stage of borer beetles that cause the most damage to your furniture, while termites, in any life stage, will be causing continuous damage if gone unnoticed. But, the destruction that borer beetles can do shouldn’t be underestimated.
  •  Unlike termites, there are no preventative measures for borer beetles. Without proper inspection of the infested property, nothing can be done to remove any species of borers, if any. Contact the pest removal experts of Formula Pest Control for proper inspection if you suspect any infestation of pests.
  • Proper pest identification from visible evidence is very much the same work as detective work. Clear evidence and clues must be gathered from the surrounding, and knowing the signs of pests will be a big help in the long run.