Common Log Home Pests
To us, the beauty and appeal of Log Homes is undeniable. Unfortunately, certain pests and insects feel the same way! If you have a log home, you may have already encountered pests and insects issues. You may have even used something like https://www.adamspestcontrol.com/ to get rid of the pests. Freshly cut logs or dead trees have insect larvae that tunnel into them, weakening the fibers and opening the wood to moisture and rot fungi. Most of these insects cannot infest live trees because of their natural defenses. Trees that are destined to be logs of a log home can become infested while they are still in the forest. Or in other cases logs become infested after they are debarked and used in construction. In this blog you will find a brief description of common log home pests, signs to look for, ways to help prevent and treat your home.
Larvae of long-horned beetles are sometimes called round-headed wood borers and are legless, white grubs with reddish/brown head capsules. Long-horned beetles generally only infest fresh wood and will not re-infest the wood from which they emerge, which limits their potential for damage. Log damage is limited to large bore tunnels and circular or oval emergence holes which should be filled with caulk to repair. Usually the treatment of insecticide isn’t necessary.
Flat-Headed Wood Borers
Flat-headed borers belong to the beetle family Buprestid. Adult beetles are sometimes called metallic wood borers because of their showy coloration and the area behind their head is somewhat flattened. Like long-horned beetles these wood borers do not re-infest and thus their potential for damage is limited. Emergence holes are flattened and oval.
Powderpost beetles are the only wood borers that commonly re-infest seasoned wood and therefore have potential to do long term damage. Powderpost beetle holes are the size of a pencil lead and they leave behind a bit of “dust”. The powderpost beetles that infest softwood timbers are usually anobiid beetles. Infestations are typically found on the exterior log surfaces. However, interior infestations can occur, especially in newer homes. In most cases they are a nuisance pest since it takes many years of activity for anobiid beetles to structurally damage a log. The major problem associated with an anobiid infestation is damage caused by water infiltrating into emergence holes causing rot. Since anobiid beetles prefer moist wood, moisture elimination should be a part of any control program.
Old House Borers
Old House Borers are one of the few insects that infest fairly dry wood, usually within five to seven years after construction. While log home manufacturers are often blamed for supplying infested logs, infestation can occur almost any time after the logs have been cut and the bark removed. The first disconcerting sign of an Old House Borer infestation is usually the noise made by older larvae chewing in the wood. The appearance of oval emergence holes is the next step in the process and like an anobiid beetle infestation, most structural damage is caused by water infiltrating exterior emergence holes, thus promoting decay.
Carpenter bees bore into wood to construct a nest chamber. The holes and nest chambers made by carpenter bees may allow water and rot fungi to attack the wood. The borates are not effective in discouraging Carpenter Bees from drilling into the wood so other measures must be taken, such as the application of topical pesticides. Carpenter Bees are attracted to existing holes, so filling existing Carpenter Bee holes with wood putty or caulk will significantly reduce the attractiveness of an area to more bees.
Infestations of drywood termites usually start at the log ends, so inspection of gaps and cracks between logs is particularly important. The same techniques used for treating a log home for wood boring beetles can be used for controlling drywood termites. However, injecting termite galleries with an appropriate pesticide is usually recommended.
Prevention and Treatment
In short, water, because of its potential to cause rot thus attracting insects, is the most serious threat to your home. Ensure all gutters and downspouts are functioning well to carry water away from your home, also that your landscaping is well drained and graded with stone rather than wood mulch around foundation. Carefully planted bushes around the foundation (no closer than 3 ft.) can prevent back splash of rain from the ground. Any exterior emergence holes should be filled to prevent water penetration into the logs. Log ends should be capped, and any obvious cracks filled. Pesticides may be necessary with some pests with ongoing treatment to prevent further damage.
Annual inspections will reveal many potential insect and water problems before they get out of hand. We recommend having your home added to our client list for annual inspections. Call 888-LOG-GUYS today!