Problems with Insects
Boring insects are a common problem we see in log homes. The boring insects that we have in the Midwest are commonly the carpenter ant or bee and the powderpost beetle. These insects bore into your home leaving in their path small holes in the logs and a bit of dust.
The most common insect in log homes is the carpenter ant. The carpenter ant infests wood that is rotting, although they do not cause the rot. The holes carpenter ants bore are about ¼ inch in diameter. Powderpost beetles are also common in log homes but they generally don't do structural damage and are most times not the best indicator of rotting wood. Their holes are more the size of a pencil lead. Neither of these insects do structural damage to the logs themselves but carpenter ants may be a warning sign to you that your logs are getting wet or have some rot in them. Part of the defense against these insects is boron compounds. Borates work by raising the Ph level of the wood to the point where the rot organism is impeded, and subsequently the bugs are less able to attack it. Bottom line - most times boring insects indicate a larger problem with rot.
The wood boring insects that we have in the upper Midwest (carpenter ants and the powderpost beetle) can only digest deteriorated wood. This really makes them 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, contact a local professional exterminator to help assess the problem and come up with a plan to get rid of them.
If you have a problem with insects or rotting logs that needs attention, contact us.
Below you can see holes made by carpenter ants in this rotting crown and on the interior of a rotten log.
On the photo on the right you can see carpenter ants running for cover. The rot was in the middle of the log and you can clearly see where they were attacking. Notice the flying stage (look for wings) of carpenter ants in the upper left of this photo. It is difficult to tell if you have carpenter ants or bees because the ant has this flying stage. In the end, it really doesn't matter - they both do the same thing... eat rot.