With your fence spending all of its time out in the elements, its bound to acquire a little bit of termite damage, eventually. Wood fencing is especially bad about this and it can end up with a ruined fence. But, by watching out for the insects that do the most damage, you can be on top of repair before it’s even needed.
When you think of wood-destroying insects, termites are usually at the top of your mental list. These small critters form colonies that do a great amount of damage. They’re actually most common here in the south, too, which can explain why so many of us have had termite problems.
Termites are winged creatures that burrow tunnels as they chew through wood, like fences, floor boards, and other structures. They live on the cellulose contained in wood.
The two common types of termites are dry wood and subterranean. Most of the time the wood will look in tact on the outside, but when probed with a screwdriver or sharp object, the wood crumbles, leaving sawdust inside.
Dry wood termites literally eat dry wood anywhere on the posts or planks of the fencing while subterranean termites live in moist areas (they need the moisture to survive) and build their nest at the base of fence posts nearest the soil.
Powder Post Beetles
This beetle is a dark brown to black color and a quarter-inch long. Powder Post Beetles bore holes into wood to lay their eggs. Once the larvae hatch, they feed on wood below the surface. They can spend a long time inside the wood post and planks before they are able to take flight and fly away.
Their presence is visible first by a fine powder near their nests. It seems that these beetles prefer untreated wood, as wood fences that use pressure treated lumber, has been kiln dried, or painted is less affected.
Carpenter ants love wood, but not to eat. Instead, they build huge nests within boards.
They come in a variety of colors; black, red, brown, and even yellow and have wings just like termites. In fact, sometimes it’s a challenge for homeowners to distinguish between these ants and termites. Any rotting area in your wood planks or posts gives these insects an entrance to infest.
If you see piles of wood shavings near a post, you just may have a carpenter ant infestation and holes in the fencing material. Spraying the holes with an aerosol insecticide will kill surface ants, but you will need to place pesticide baits near/or inside the holes. To prevent future infestations, remove any rotting wood and replace with new slats or posts.
How to Get Rid of Wood Destroying Insects
Homeowners can try to treat fence posts with insecticides and/or creosote (a compound made from the distillation of coal tar). An insecticide, such as Bora-Carem, can be mixed and sprayed on the wood fencing to kill wood infesting insects. Monitor the situation and repeat if necessary.
The bottom line to rid wood destroying insects may be to contact a professional exterminator to analyze the problem and present options for insect extermination.
As your fence company, please don’t hesitate to contact us with questions about the best fencing material for your home and more tips on getting rid of pests.