A wood fence is a warm, welcoming addition to your home. Wooden fences complement any style and color of home and come in a wide variety of styles. With care, wood fences last for many years and can add considerable curb appeal to your home. Wood fences come with some maintenance needs, however. Owners of wood fences must consider stain/paint as well as insects that may want to make a home in the wood.

Some insects can cause structural damage to a wood fence, shortening its lifespan and reducing the overall lovely appearance of the fence. Which insects should you keep an eye out for? Read on.

Termites thrive in Florida’s humid climate. They eat any and all types of wood, not distinguishing between older wood that supports your home or a brand new wood fence. Termites looks similar to carpenter ants with a few noticeable differences. Termites:

  • May be brown or white
  • Have long, straight wings of equal length
  • Have straight antenna
  • May have a pincer one one end

Termite colonies may be underground or in the wood itself and can spread rapidly. Wood damaged by termites must be replaced right away to stop the spread and remove any termite eggs or larvae living in the wood.

Carpenter¬†ants, as their name suggests, like wood. They don’t eat wood but nest inside of it, especially wood that is damaged or rotting. The tunnels they build further damage and threaten the structural integrity of any wood they live in. Carpenter ants:

  • Look like ants but are much larger
  • May be brown or black
  • Have wings of unequal length
  • Have bent, elbow-shaped antenna

Similar to a termite infestation, wood that has been colonized by carpenter ants must be replaced to prevent further spread and damage.

Wood-boring beetles drill into wood and lay their eggs. Once the young beetles hatch, they feed on the wood until they’re old enough to fly away. Beetles especially like wood that hasn’t been painted or pressure treated. A sure sign you’ve got wood-boring beetles is small piles of sawdust on or near your fence.

If your fence is damaged beyond repair, it may be time to invest in an entirely new fence. If you’re fed up with wood, consider a vinyl fence, which offers many of the same styles as wood fences but doesn’t attract or support insects.