Termites, Bees, And Ants, Oh My! Dealing With Pesty Insects In Your Wooden Fence

Posted on: 23 June 2015

Few things can ruin a beautiful wooden fence as quickly as an insect infestation. Termites can destroy your fence posts in a few short months, stinging wood bees can make it dangerous to touch the fence, and carpenter ants leave pesky little holes in your fence while also often invading your home in search of food. If you've noticed any of these three pests in or around your fence, it's time to take action. This article will tell you how to get rid of them and keep them away.


Subterranean termites, the most common types of termite, prefer to feed on old and decaying wood. They come up from the ground to feed on your fence posts. Signs that your fence is infested with these pests include:

  • Swarms of winged termites (measuring about 1/2 inch long) around the fence, especially after heavy rains and high temperatures.
  • The appearance of off-white larvae on the fence.
  • The appearance of holes and tunnels, surrounded with dirt, on the fence.

Dealing with an infestation:

The best way to deal with an infestation of termites is to have the old, decaying fence posts removed and replaced by new ones. The fresh wood will be less attractive to the termites than the older, decaying wood. After having the posts replaced, you can have a licensed exterminator spray your fence and the surrounding soil with pesticides to keep the termites from coming back. Make sure you keep up with your fence repairs, replacing posts and rails as they begin go break down, so you don't struggle with these insects again.

Wood Bees

Wood bees are named for their preferred nesting place -- inside holes they make in wood. They are "fat" and fuzzy-looking bees with large mouthparts that they use for chewing wood. Generally, the holes they make are about 1/2 inch wide. Fresh sawdust is often seen at the openings of the holes. Wood bees damage a fence pretty slowly, but they do sting, so you really don't want them around.

Dealing with an infestation:

Wait until a cool day, since the bees will be less active. Put on gloves, and wear long sleeves and long pants to reduce your chances of being stung. Use insecticide designed for killing bees and wasps. Attach the long wand that comes with the can to the nozzle of the can. Insert the other end of the wand just inside the hole where the wood bees have been hiding, and spray for a few seconds. Back away from the fence quickly; the bees may come out.

Wait a few days after spraying the bees' holes. If you still see bees, repeat this process or look for new holes that you may have missed and treat those. When the bees are gone, use wood putty to plug up the holes. This will prevent the bees from returning to their nests.

Carpenter Ants

Usually, homeowners do not realize that carpenter ants are coming from their fence. They spot the ants around food sources like their kitchen or barbecue area, and they trap and kill them at these sites. However, the ants often form their nests in old and damaged wood. If your fence is looking a bit worse for wear, chances are good that the ants are nesting there. Treating the infestation at the fence level will be more effective than killing the individual worker ants who venture out for food. Keep in mind that carpenter ants are the large, 1/4-inch long black ants. Smaller ants are not carpenter ants; these live in the ground, not in wood.

Dealing with an infestation:

If your fence is old and decaying, the first step you should take is to have the damaged posts and rails replaced. Then, have an exterminator spray any older posts and rails that you end up saving. If your fence is not in bad shape, you can employ this method and hopefully avoid having to replace substantial numbers of beams:

  1. Place a bowl of honey near the fence. Watch as the ants eat the honey, and then follow them back along the fence. The ants should eventually go into a hole. This is where their nest is.
  2. Use an insecticide in a can with a narrow nozzle (one that states it will kill ants). Place the nozzle at the hole in the wood, and spray.
  3. Repeat this process several times, so you make sure you address each nest.

Ants, bees, and termites can be real nuisances, not to mention they make your fence look unsightly. The best way to avoid all of these insects is to keep your fence in good shape, replacing old beams as needed. Insects are less attracted to new lumber in good shape. You can click here to get more info on fencing maintenance and supplies. You should also contact a local pest control company if you can't get rid of the insects on your own. 



The Benefits Of A Back Yard Chain Link Fence

When my family and I moved into a new house, we were all excited about the large back yard. The kids needed a place outdoors to play and I was happy because they would get some exercise. Before we could let the kids loose in the yard, we wanted to erect a fence. My husband and I talked to a fence contractor and he recommended a chain link fence. He said the fence was durable and the price was in our budget. Our kids love playing in the yard and we love to see them getting fresh air and sunshine. My name is Mona Doyle and I wanted to tell everyone about our positive experience with our chain link fence. When you read my blog, you'll learn the many benefits of this type of fence and I hope that this information will help you with your decision.