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You took the time, you invested the money, and you built a beautiful wood fence. You love how it looks, you love the added security, and you love how it keeps unwanted trespassers out and children in. Your new wood fence is everything you wanted and more.

New fences eventually turn into old fences, though. Natural wood deteriorates over time, and unfortunately, doesn’t last forever. This doesn’t mean you can’t try to preserve your fence and prolong its lifespan through proper maintenance and upkeep. After all, no one wants to lose their fence prematurely.

There are numerous reasons why a fence might not last as long as anticipated. Perhaps a mean wind storm moved through your area. Maybe the fence was located primarily in the shade with sprinklers hitting it and moisture and rot became a problem. Water is an enemy to raw wood. It leads to mold growth, which will eat away at your fence.

Do you know another enemy that will wage war on your wood fence? Pests! They love to gobble away and destroy a perfectly good fence, but following a few easy suggestions can help to protect your fence against invasive insects.

Let’s discuss what kinds of pests love a hearty wood fence, and what you can do to discourage insects from making your fence their chomping grounds.

5 Pests That Love Wood

Insects of all sorts will crawl around and explore your wood fence, but not all will take it upon themselves to eat through it. Here are some particularly nasty ones to watch out for:

Termites – While termites might seem rather apparent on a wood surface, sometimes they go unseen on a wood fence because homeowners primarily watch for signs of termites around the foundation or walls of their homes. All the while, termites are highly destructive and will eat through a fence in no time.

To watch for termites, you can look for small, winged insects or simply spot the discarded wings they leave behind. Another tell-tale sign is the mud tubes they create. They form these tubes from the soil and their droppings.

Carpenter Ants – While termites chew through wood as a food source, carpenter ants use wood as a building material to form gigantic nests within the fence. Carpenter ants come in different colors, including brown, black, red, and yellow. They can even have wings and look similar to termites.

How do you know you have carpenter ants destroying your fence? You can spot wood shavings down near the bottom of your fence.

Beetles: Not every beetle is a wood-loving pest, but the ones that are can wreak havoc on your fence. Primarily, you need to watch for the pine bark beetle, the southern pine beetle, and the powderpost beetle. While all these beetles snack on wood, some prefer to go after live trees. Others are fine with cut timber.

In particular, powderpost beetles like to burrow into wood fences to lay their eggs. Once those eggs hatch, the larvae feed off the wood. They can reduce wood down to a flour-like powder, making their name quite a fitting description.

Carpenter Bees: Carpenter bees are large bees that are often mistaken for a bumblebee. Why do they love wood? They drill holes to make a home for their offspring. If you start seeing round holes carved out of your fence, you might have a carpenter bee making your fence their baby nursery.

Horntail Wasps: Horntails, also known as wood wasps, are a specific kind of wasp that live off wood. Like many other insects, they like to find a safe place to lay their eggs and their larvae like to feast on the wood once hatched. An adult horntail can be brown and black with red or yellow colored parts.

7 Ways to Deter Wood-Loving Pests

Now that you know what type of pests will take up residence inside your wood fence, let’s explore ways to stop your fence from turning into a chewed-up mess.

Applying a Coat of Stain: First and foremost, every wood fence needs to be sealed and stained. This is a sure-fire way to deter pests and protect your wood.

Removing Other Wood Sources: Insects love wood piles and tree stumps, and once they invade wood in one area of your yard, they can sneakily migrate to the next.

Clearing Your Fence of Plant Growth: Pests love plants. Foliage that abuts your fence line creates a bridge for insects to travel from the plant to your wood. Keeping greenery off your fence removes that direct pathway.

Using High-Quality Wood: Rotted wood is an insect’s dream come true. Construct your fence with high-quality wood, then give it a coat of stain, and you are set up for success.

Cleaning Your Fence of Debris: Spraying off accumulated dirt or mud on your fence is a helpful way to reduce the risk of mold, mildew, algae, and fungus growth. Mold breaks down wood, and deteriorated wood invites pests.

Constructing a Cement Skirt: While this is a more pricey solution to controlling pests, a concrete skirt acts as a strong barrier between the ground (where pests live and wander) and the wood of your fence.

Leaving Space Between the Wood and Ground: If a cement skirt isn’t an option, it is important not to install your fencing pickets directly next to the ground. Just like removing greenery from around your fence, it’s all about limiting walkways for insects to follow. Even the smallest amount of space between the ground and boards will provide a break in their path.

Goodbye Pests

The goal is to have your wood fence last for years and years, and wood-damaging pests can certainly interrupt that plan.

Take precautions to protect your fence. Keep an eye out for signs of insect infestations. Take action immediately if you do discover those creepy, crawly intruders.

If it’s too late and pests have already taken control of your wood fence, give us a call. Our wholesale wood fence specialists are here to help.


New fence will become old fence after a few years. But you can extend its lifespan and avoid prematurely losing your fence. Learn about wood-loving pests that can ruin your fence and take precautions before they invade. Here is some helpful information to identify the nasty pests that could appear in your wood fence and what to do to keep them away.

7 Ways to Save Wood from Pests Infographic