Types of Bugs That Prey On Log Homes- And How To Stop Them!

Published on | log homes |Leroy Walker

There’s no doubt about it—you absolutely love your log home; but, unfortunately, there are others that love your home as much as you do—insects! These pesky vermin represent a real threat to the structural integrity of your home-sweet-home; and knowing how to deal with them is crucial.

Both seasoned, dry wood and wet, rotting wood are vulnerable to wood-eating or wood-damaging insects. Being proactive before these little critters can cause big-time damage is the name of the game.

Let’s learn more about the types of bugs that prey on log homes and how to stop them.

Which Insects Cause Problems With Log-Homes?

It’s ironic, isn’t it, that tiny little critters can pose a very real threat to log-homes that are many thousands of times their size! We won’t cover all the insects involved, but will cover those that are a few of the most common.

1: Powder-post Beetles:

Powder-post beetles are wood-boring insects; and unlike some other varieties of wood borers, these guys are really talented at re-infesting seasoned wood with subsequent generations that will freely multiply. If not stopped, these trouble-makers will continue their damage for years and years! Powder-post beetles are 2nd only to termites in terms of their destructive capabilities! Softwoods and hardwoods including maple, oak, ash, pine, fir and spruce are all on their menu list; and wooden beams, floors, cabinets and furniture are fair game.

Interestingly, the eggs of powder-post beetles are laid on only unfinished wood since the larvae are unable to bore through varnish or paint. Treating Powder-post beetles and other wood borers requires the use of borate insecticides such as Bora Care and Timbor. These products will treat infestations as well as prevent them. When applied as a liquid, these two products are quickly absorbed into the wood’s surface to act as a highly-effective eliminator and preventative.

2: Carpenter Bees:

Carpenter bees resemble your typical bumble-bee and are very interested in using your logs as a safe haven to construct their nests. Usually, a round hole about a ½ inch in diameter will be chewed into the wood; and a tunnel is then fashioned. If the tunneling system is permitted to continue year after year, the expansive network will weaken logs; and the chewed entrance points are a gateway for water to enter which will cause rotting to flourish. The tunnels house the developing larvae who will be more than happy to expand the damage.

Keeping Carpenter bees at bay requires that the wood is covered with heavier, thicker finishes. To repair any carpenter bee damage, you’ll need some exterior caulk and/or 3/8” to 1/2” plugs. Botanical insecticides, such as EcoPCO WP-X, are plant-based, are quite safe and can be used to treat the holes and tunnels. More conventional, less-safe insecticides are available, as well. Treating in and around the entrance hole and then blocking the hole with caulk or a plug will do the trick. Insecticides in dust form work well with being puffed into the tunnels and then plugging the entrance.

3: Termites:

Log homes, like any other wood home, will beckon termites; but the presence of these voracious creatures can be treated and avoided. If termites are present in a log home, there is one bit of good news: the good news is that they are immediately visible. If a termite enters a log, you’ll notice a small bore hole with a tiny pile of sawdust. Unlike stick homes, termite treatment with log homes can easily be accomplished with spot treatments since visibility in log homes is a definite advantage that stick homes don’t have.

The best way to tackle the potential of termite infestations is during the construction-phase of the home. Here are a few proactive measures you can take to prevent termites from making your home, their home:

*** make sure there is at least 8” of distance between the ground and the first layer of logs. With the use of concrete between the soil and the bottom row of logs, termites would have a difficult time climbing the concrete.

*** do not bury any wood debris near your log home during construction since buried wood will eventually become wet and soft—the perfect ‘appetizer’ for termites! *** if you choose to build with a poured, continuous foundation, be sure to ‘ring’ the home with a 6”-layer of barrier sand, also known as ‘Termite sand’.

*** borate treatments are a common preventative measure where the logs are treated prior to construction. A gentle spray is designed to soak into the logs and provide very effective protection.

If termites exist in your home, calling a pro is the only real solution. They will apply the appropriate insecticide and eliminate any existing infestations. If your home is fully constructed and shows signs of termite damage, a pest-control pro will treat all accessible wood as well as crawl spaces or any other areas in need.

4: Carpenter Ants:

Carpenter ants love living between the logs of a home; and attacking wood is their specialty. They thrive in areas where water from leakage or condensation may be trapped and absorbed by wood. Carpenter ants don’t actually eat wood but will chew wood and then discard it. If you notice a coarse-looking type of sawdust, then you could have carpenter ants busy at work. Tunnels will gradually expand to accommodate a growing colony and galleries of nests will wreak havoc and cause serious damage to wood structures.

Treatment for carpenter ants involves such things as getting rid of all moisture problems and stacking wood off the ground and away from the home. More specifically, however, borate treatments can be applied as liquid or granular-form to be placed on the ground. Once the ants take the product back to the nest, the elimination of these pests begins. Terro ant killer is one product whose active ingredient is sodium tetraborate decahdrate which has a reputation for being very effective. PeneTreat is another well-known product that is a borate-based wood preservative that provides a ‘shell’ coating to keep carpenter ants and a host of other pests completely disinterested in wood that has received this treatment.

5: Cluster Flies:

Flies—they are filthy disease carriers; and a fly’s entire body swarms with millions of bacteria. By comparison, the cockroach is sanitary. Your log home could have hundreds of fly-access areas that you are not even aware of due to their incredibly small size. Cluster flies can make their way into your home through the smallest of openings as well as pipes and vents. An opening the thickness of a dime is plenty of room for cluster flies to use as an entrance to invade your space and sanity. Loft areas are especially attractive to these repulsive pests.

Cluster flies, like termites, should be dealt with via the expertise of the professionals. They will detect checks and micro-cracks in your log home and professionally seal any problem areas where cluster files squeeze through. A specialized sealant is injected into openings as small as the end of a ballpoint pen. If not taken care of in a timely manner, cluster flies can invade your home by the hundreds.

Living with insects is something mankind has had to deal with since the dawn of time. In this day and age, however, log-home owners don’t need to be victimized by merciless insects that can damage your home and rob you of your privacy and emotional well-being. It’s a relief to know that there are products and professionals who can eradicate the tiny culprits who have no business damaging your home and making your life miserable. Take the appropriate preventative measures, use effective treatments with existing problems and call the pros when you realize the problem is too challenging for you to tackle. You WILL win, victorious!