Rob_Paddock Do the words Hylotrupes Bajulus, Oxypleuris Nodieri , Anobium Punctatum , Lyctus Brunneus ,Bostrycidae, Phoracantha, Stenocellis Hylostoides, Nicobium Castaniun, Ondontotermes Badius , Macrotermes swaziae, Ernobius Molus or Xylocopidae  mean anything to you?

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Me neither.

But they should. These words that at first appear to be swear words in a foreign language, in fact refer to just a handful of the seemingly endless list of insects and fungi that infest your roof trusses, floor boards, joists and all things wooden in your beautiful home. In this article I hope to give you a better idea of the favourable conditions that attract these critters in the first place, and how to deal with it.

“…In this article I hope to give you a better idea of the favourable conditions that attract these critters in the first place, and how to deal with it..”

Insects (termites, beetles, worms, borers, etc)

There are no guaranteed means of preventing attack from insects. That being said, insects do like dark, damp conditions. Removing these conditions by providing adequate ventilation will go a long way towards preventing attack. There are several insect species that will attack unpainted or untreated wood and which are generally called borers. The timber is usually damaged by the tunneling activity of the larva which occurs mainly in the sapwood. The telltale sign of borer activities are pinholes in the timber surface.

“…There are several insect species that will attack unpainted or untreated wood and which are generally called borers….”

The insect will go through the cycle of larva, pupa and adult before the fully-grown insect leaves the timber to mate. At this stage, surface sprays containing borates will prevent newly hatched larvae from entering the wood. However, this technique is not effective on wood which has been varnished, waxed or otherwise sealed from attack by moisture. Bear in mind that once infestation has occurred, the timber may be adversely weakened and you will need to replace the affected areas.

Annual inspection of your subfloors and roof trusses is recommended in order to identify infestation early on, and take the appropriate remedial steps in order to prevent the costly exercise of replacement.

Fungus

Fungus rots timber, making it soft and leaches its strength. Decay of wood is caused by fungi, which once again, requires favourable damp and dark conditions in order to grow.  By providing proper attention to site drainage and adequate ventilation, you will be able to prevent fungal growth.

Because the decay process is relatively slow, periodic inspections are necessary in order to identify potential problems before serious damage has occurred by unnecessary decay. When other means of decay prevention are not possible, the timber can be treated with a preservative.

“…requires favourable damp and dark conditions in order to grow…”

Leaky plumbing and drain spouts should always be repaired in addition to treatment.  Wet crawl spaces should be vented and plastic sheeting installed.  Structural wood members that are no longer sound must be replaced.

This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution license.