Repairing Wood Damage by Termites, Ants, and Other Insects

Published On: August 17, 20200 Comments on Repairing Wood Damage by Termites, Ants, and Other InsectsTags: , Last Updated: February 9, 20243.6 min read

It can be very disheartening to discover that pests have damaged the woodwork around your home. Termite trails of wood residue, holes left by woodworm or carpenter ants — they all spell trouble. Damage to your home’s wooden elements can have serious structural consequences. Even when the pests themselves have been taken care of, the damage remains.

Repairing Wood Damage by Termites, Ants, and Other Insects

It’s important to address wood damage before it becomes a major problem.

Pests that damage wood

Termites are small boring insects that consume cellulose. They are best known for attacking wood but will also damage other materials that are high in cellulose, such as cotton fibre used in upholstery or fabrics. Termites can be very hard to detect and are sometimes not noticed until their damage has already progressed significantly. Signs that you have a termite infestation include damaged and crumbling wood, trails of digested wood powder, and the dead insects themselves.

Carpenter ants, as their name suggests, make their nests inside wood. This is fine when they’re living in the forest and making their homes in fallen trees, but when they decide to set up house in your home’s timbers they can be a serious problem. Carpenter ants are small dark insects less than half an inch in length. They’re attracted by rotten or damaged wood, but may go on to attack undamaged timber. Carpenter bees resemble bumblebees, except for their shiny black thorax. These bees bore holes into untreated and weathered wood, then build their nests inside. They tend to return every year, worsening the damage each time.

Dealing with insect damage

Step one is to make sure that the insects are completely eradicated. While you might be tempted to try and do this yourself, it’s a job best left to professionals. The chemicals required need careful handling and proper application to be used safely and effectively. It can be tricky to spot termites and other insects, meaning that they might have attacked more than one area of your home without you noticing. Enlist the services of a reputable pest control firm to get rid of the termites or other insects attacking your home.

Repairing the wood

The next step is to assess the damage. The professionals who helped get rid of the pests may be able to give you some pointers, or you could call in a carpenter or other home repair specialist. If the damage is confined to small sections and the main structure of your home isn’t affected, a do-it-yourself solution may be possible.

Repairing Wood Damage by Termites, Ants, and Other Insects - repairing

If you have a little carpentry know-how, you might be able to remove the affected section of wood and replace it with sound timber. This may not be necessary, though. Small sections of wood with limited damage can often be stabilised and filled with suitable material. Before you begin filling, you’ll need to remove damaged or rotten wood so that only sound timber is left. This can be treated with a wood hardener in order to stabilise it and prevent further deterioration. You will need to allow the hardener to dry thoroughly before adding filler. Choose a good-quality filler that is suitable for use with wood. General purpose filler is fine, as long as it is marked as being compatible with wood. Shape the filler to the same shape as the rest of the surrounding wood and allow to set fully. Once the filler has completely dried, it can be sanded and painted to match the surrounding wood.

Preventing future infestations

To keep insects from attacking your woodwork, makes sure that all the timber is properly treated and weatherproofed. Most insects like to infest wood that is untreated and cracked or broken, so replace or repair any damaged wood. Cracks and gaps in exterior walls are highly attractive to pests; they can also let in water that may rot the wood and make the situation even worse. Make sure that cracks are carefully filled and there are no gaps for insect pests to creep in through. If you do see signs of infestation, don’t wait. A reliable specialist such as Excel Pest Control can help you to treat existing infestations and prevent future infestations from damaging wood in your home. Why not call today?

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