Staining and sealing decks can be a tedious job; it’s one of those jobs that no one really wants to do. Think you can go without staining or sealing that deck for another year? Think again; here in St. Louis, wood destroying insects like the subterranean termite and the carpenter bee love unfinished woods.
Termites are hungry insects; they feed on wood (with a preference for soft woods) and they have no trouble tunneling into wood that has no finishing product applied to its surface. If you have not stained, varnished or painted your wood deck or siding, your home could be susceptible to termite damage. Termites cause over $5 billion in damages to homes and businesses in the U.S. every year and coverage for this damage is typically not covered by your basic homeowner’s insurance policy. Signs of termites include wood that looks like it is rotting, mud tunnels along walls and foundations, and wood that looks to be sagging. You may also notice termite damage if you knock on the wood and it sounds hollow. When you apply a stain, paint or varnish to your wood surface, you can make the wood much less appealing to hungry termites. Take the time to finish your deck to help prevent it from weather wear and to make termite control that much easier to achieve.
Carpenter bees do not actually eat wood; they burrow into the wood to make their nests. The female carpenter bee burrows into wood in the spring and summer months to lay their eggs and when the winter comes, they hide away in these burrows. Carpenter bees will often return to the same burrows, year after year, causing more and more damage every year. Carpenter bee burrows have been known to be up to 10 feet long and can, over time, cause significant amounts of damage. The presence of these insects inside your home’s structure can also invite other damage from the hungry (and destructive) beak of the wood pecker that is searching for bee larvae. Female carpenter bees can deliver a nasty sting if they are bothered, but these insects aren’t generally known to be aggressive. Males can be more aggressive, but they don’t have stingers, so they aren’t considered dangerous. Carpenter bees are incapable of clinging to smooth or glossy surfaces, so varnishing or painting your wooden surfaces will greatly reduce the risk of carpenter bee burrows appearing in your home’s structure.
Carpenter ants will enter wood surfaces to create their nests, but unlike the carpenter bee, their nests are not typically contained to one area. Carpenter ant nests can be extensive, with tunnels spreading through the wood in many different directions. Sometimes carpenter ant damage is mistaken for damage by termites; these insects both damage wood but for different reasons. When it comes to termites vs. ants, termites ingest the wood that they tunnel into, while carpenter ants only hollow wood out to make their home.
Staining unfinished wood surfaces is a great way to help prevent infestations from these wood destroying insects; however, if you have an existing problem they can be very difficult to eliminate. If you live in the St. Louis area, or in Ballwin, Chesterfield, Florissant, Saint Charles or anywhere else in Mid-Missouri, call Rottler Pest & Lawn Solutions today. We are a local St. Louis pest control company that has been providing quality and effective termite solutions and pest control services since 1956. Our Term-Alert™ termite treatment program provides effective termite protection for your home or business. Contact us today for your free termite inspection.
This blog was originally published on November 17, 2011, but we have updated it to reflect the most recent and accurate information available in helping you combat frustrating wood-destroying insect problems.