What’s Eating My Wooden Fence? Identifying Insect Damage in Wood

Wooden fences are a favorite choice for homeowners due to their aesthetic quality, sturdiness, and authenticity. However, if a wooden fence is not properly maintained, it can become host to a number of creepy-crawlie bugs that can destroy them from the inside.

Not only is this unsightly, it also destroys the fence’s structural integrity, causing it to eventually break and require expensive repairs. To prevent that from happening, here are some fence-damaging insects to be on the lookout for!

Termites in Fences

Termites can be found in every state except Alaska, but they especially prefer the warmth and humidity of the South. These pests love to eat wood and are not picky about what wood they eat, whether it’s your home’s infrastructure or your nice new fence. Most termites look very similar to white ants, but unlike ants, they have straight antennae and lack a“pinched”thorax.

An average colony of termites is capable of eating up to thirteen pounds of wood in one year, so if you suspect that you have termites, it’s important to act quickly. To identify whether you have termites, tap on the wood and listen for a hollow sound. Then, test the wood with a screwdriver. If the tool can easily slide into the wood without much resistance, you many need to schedule a fence repair for that section of fence.

Carpenter Bees in Fences

We’ve already written a little bit about carpenter bees, so if you want to learn more about these big buzzy menaces, check out our blog post here. Carpenter bees chew perfectly round tunnels in wooden fences, trees, and other wooden structures, and then create a nest where they lay eggs and live. Indications that you have carpenter bees, besides the holes and the bees themselves, are tiny piles of sawdust on your deck or porch.

Powderpost Beetles in Fences

The term “powderpost beetle” applies to about 70 different types of wood-boring beetles. They generally tend to be narrow, elongated, and reddish-brown or black. They leave tiny holes in wood the size of a pin head, which usually have small piles of talc-like sawdust beneath them.

Like carpenter bees, powderpost beetles like to nest in wood that hasn’t been painted or pressure-treated. If you see little piles of sawdust on or against your fence, it’s a sign that it might have been invaded by wood-boring insects and that it’s time to replace the affected area. You may also want to call a pest-control expert to prevent further damage to other areas of your fence or home.

Carpenter Ants in Fences

Carpenter ants can easily be distinguished from other types of ants by their size. They are usually around half an inch long, and are either brown or black. Unlike termites and wood-boring beetles, carpenter ants don’t eat wood, but they do make their nests inside it. They especially prefer moist, soft, water-damaged wood that is easy to chew.

Need a Fence Repair in Wilmington NC? Call Cape Fear Fence

The solution for all these insects is the same: pressure-treat your fence, paint it, or replace it with a metal or vinyl fence that can’t be chewed! If you would like a new fence installation or fence repair in the Wilmington area, give us a call today.