Wood bees and carpenter ants may not sting or present any real hazard to human health, but that doesn't mean you want to let them linger around your wooden fence unchecked. Both of these pesky insects like to burrow into the wood to build their nests. These burrows can weaken fence boards, causing them to crack or break. To keep your fence in good shape, it's important to follow these steps to keep insects away.
Keep brush and shrubs trimmed.
Keep any grass or brush near your fence well trimmed. Don't wait until it's a foot tall before cutting it down; make trimming a part of your weekly mowing and landscaping plan. If there are any shrubs or hedges planted along the fence, keep them trimmed so they don't rub up against the fence. Insects love areas where the fence is protected by plants, as the plants provide shade and trap moisture against the wood.
Don't get the fence wet.
You can't do anything about rain storms, but you can alter your watering practices to keep your fence dry and less appealing to insects. Don't set up sprinklers in a way that permits the overspray to hit the fence. If you water with a hose, be careful not to spray the fence. Better yet, water by setting the hose on the ground and allowing the water to flood over the area, rather than by spraying. Any water that lands on plants' leaves just evaporates and goes to waste anyways.
Coat the fence in wood sealer or paint.
Most insects won't bother chewing through paint to build a nest in your fence. If your fence is painted, keep up with re-painting it so the insects can't burrow in where the paint has chipped. If you don't like the painted look, at least apply a coat of wood sealer to the fence once a year. Some sealers contain ingredients that are specifically intended to repel insects. Plus, the sealer will keep the wood inside the fence dry – and insects don't like dry wood as much.
If you do notice any wood bees or carpenter ants around your fence, follow them back to their nest and spray the hole they've bored with insecticide. A liquid insecticide from the hardware store works well – just make sure you apply it at night when the insects are more likely to be in the nest. The sooner you kill them, the less damage they'll do overall.
For more information on how to care for your wood fencing, or to have a new wood fence installed, contact a company like Family Fence Company.