July 03, 2023
Now that summer has officially arrived here in Maine, we can’t help but think about grilling with friends and relaxing on the deck on our days off. Although it's been raining a lot lately, the sun is bound to come out and when it does, it'll be the perfect time of year to really enjoy this space and, other than the pesky mosquitoes and maybe black flies, there shouldn’t be pests to worry about on your deck. But, and there’s always a but, Maine homeowners should be on the lookout for pests that could damage decks and other wooden structures on their property. In this blog post, we’ll look at a couple wood-damaging pests that your deck might need protection from and what to do if you find them on your property.
Although carpenter ants do not eat decks, these large black ants will use their strong mandibles to tunnel through wood to build galleries for reproduction purposes and overtime, leave behind structural weakness and damage.
If you think you might be dealing with a carpenter ant infestation on your deck, look for signs such as frass (sawdust) near deck supports, hollow sounding wood, smooth galleries, and of course, big black ants crawling nearby.
Carpenter bees are solitary bees that bore perfectly round holes into wooden surfaces, including decks, to create nesting sites. While they do not cause extensive damage like carpenter ants, their drilling can weaken the integrity of the wood over time. Unfortunately, carpenter bee activity also attracts woodpeckers that will inflict damage as they search for carpenter bee larvae.
To determine if you have carpenter bees, look for round holes approximately half an inch in diameter, sawdust beneath the holes, and the presence of bees hovering around the deck.
How to protect your deck against wood-destroying insects
If your deck hasn’t been attacked by carpenter ants and carpenter bees and you want to keep it that way, you should:
- Fill old or empty carpenter bee holes
- Replace water damaged boards and wood
- Seal your deck with a protective coat
- Add a fresh layer of paint
- Keep your deck cleaned and maintained
- Remove any standing water around your deck
To discourage pest activity near your deck and on your property, we recommend the following pest prevention tips:
- Cut tree branches, shrubs, and bushes back so that they don’t touch your house or deck or create shade
- Unclog gutters and make sure downspouts divert water away from the foundation
- Repair outdoor faucets that are leaking
- Replace wood that is rotting or damaged
- Seal off any potential entry points on the exterior of your house
- Address moisture issues inside your home
What to do if it’s too late and you’re already seeing pests on your deck or around your home
Since 2011, locally owned and operated Pine State Pest Solutions has been offering effective home pest control services in Lewiston, Portland, and Belgrade as well as throughout our multi-county service area. If you need help getting rid of carpenter ants, solving a carpenter bee problem, or would like an exterminator for other insect or rodent activity, Pine State is the ME pest control company to call!