Old House Borer Beetles Are A Long-Term Problem For Baltimore Homes
Termites and carpenter ants are both well-known threats to Maryland buildings. However, they aren’t the only wood-eating insects you can find in the Baltimore area. There’s also an insect called the old house borer, and they can be a serious, long-term issue that begins before a house even goes up.
The Life Cycle
Old house borers are a kind of beetle, which means the adults have a protective carapace that covers their wings. The beetles originally came from Africa, but they crossed the Atlantic in the late 19th century and today you can find the old house borer in Baltimore; Jacksonville, Florida; and Portland, Maine.
Female beetles lay their eggs in the cracks and crevices of dead trees and untreated wood. While they usually aren’t persistent enough to crawl through siding or roof tiles to the wood frame of a house, they’re perfectly happy to lay their eggs in the wood piles of a lumber yard. Once the eggs hatch, a larva will eat the surrounding wood for five to seven years before reaching adulthood and flying off.
A single group of old house borers can do a lot of damage. Not only do they grow bigger than termites and ants, they stick around for around six years and constantly dig tunnels through the surrounding wood as they eat.
The initial infestation is bad, but it can get even worse if the surrounding wood is moist from a leaky roof or a leaky pipe. With enough moisture the beetles will thrive and start laying new generations in the wooden structure.
• Lumberyards can prevent the spread of the old house borer in Baltimore by kiln-drying the lumber. This kills borers at every life stage. If you’re buying lumber for a home project, you should ask about doing this.
• Varnished, painted, sanded, and finished woods are protected against borer beetles since they can’t find any cracks to lay their eggs in.
• A borate spray can keep adult beetles from laying their eggs in unfinished wood so long as it stays dry.
• If a building has a serious old house borer infestation, the only certain method of getting rid of them is a full fumigation. However, a fumigation is expensive, dangerous, and time-consuming, plus it can’t guarantee the beetles or other pests won’t return later.
Fumigation has a lot of problems attached, so the best way to avoid seeing an old house borer in Baltimore is to prevent them from laying their eggs in the first place. If that fails, moisture control can limit the damage, plus it helps with all kinds of other infestations. Either way, it’s worth your time to inspect your house a few years after construction for old house borers. The beetles might not be as common as termites, but they can cause a lot of damage when they’re present.