If you have a log home, you may have already encountered the problem of pests and insects. Even if you haven’t, keep an eye out for them and regularly check your wooden surfaces for tell tale signs of pest infestation. They are a nuisance and getting rid of them can be a breeze or a nightmare, depending on the kind of pest. Read on to learn more about common pests that can invade your log cabin. Adult insects lay eggs on the wood surface.
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. The larvae feed on starch reserves in the wood that were formed when the tree was alive. 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.
Either way the problem of pests must be addressed with every home before extensive structural damage is done. Fortunately there are relatively inexpensive ways to prevent this damage. Some of the common log home pests are:
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. Generally no insecticide treatment is needed
Flat-headed wood borers
Flat-headed borers belong to the beetle family Buprestidae. 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 oval in shape.
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.
Non-reinfesting Wood Boring Beetles
There is no reason to treat a home for non-reinfesting beetles such as Round Head Borers, Flat Head Borers, Ambrosia Beetles and Bark Beetles that occasionally emerge from logs within the first couple of years after construction. However, exterior emergence holes should be filled to prevent water penetration into the logs. And any bark remaining on the logs should be removed because in addition to providing food for Bark Beetles, intact bark prevents the logs from drying uniformly and provides a hiding place for a broad spectrum of insect pests.
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.
Like any wooden structure log homes are subject to wood boring insects and termites described here. Keep in mind that water, because of its potential to cause rot, is the most serious threat to your home and annual inspections will reveal many potential insect and water problems before they get out of hand. For decades, borate wood preservatives have successfully been used to protect log homes from these wood-boring insects.
Can be used as a preventative measure:
- Should only be applied to raw wood (newly built log homes or after a home has been blasted)
- Does not interfere with the application of a quality stain
Can be used as a remedial treatment when bugs are present
- A concentrated formula can be injected into the holes
These types of wood boring insects are a symptom more than a problem in themselves. By getting rid of the rot/moisture problem, the bugs will have no food source and will leave or die back. Termites, on the other hand, can do extensive damage to wood that is not rotting. If you suspect you have termites or insects in your log home, contact We-Fix Log Homes to help assess the problem and come up with a plan to get rid of them. Please call us at (800) 781-2551.