Anyone interested in purchasing wood siding for their home would be wise to wonder if they should be concerned about pests. Here at Nakamoto Forestry, we receive far more questions about the our siding's resistance to common pests than actual claims about attacks on our siding, and we are here to answer all of your burning questions!
Why Common Pests Attack Siding
As urban areas continue to spread outward, habitat degradation is becoming a growing concern. Many homeowners experience issues with wildlife after moving into a residence which required removal of trees to build the home. It's no surprise that wildlife would continue to seek shelter and food in the areas they used to live. It's also no surprise that homeowners would be asking themselves about their home's resistance to common pests.
Snags (standing dead trees) are critical habitat to woodpeckers. They use these trees to nest, find food, and to drum in order to claim territory or attract a mate. When there's an insufficient amount of trees within their natural area, they will make do with whatever they can find. In some cases, that means the wooden siding on your home. Many people assume that if a woodpecker is pecking at their home, then there must be bugs in the siding. However, more often than not, that isn't the case. You can easily tell the difference by observing the size and shape of the holes. If the woodpecker is foraging, the holes will be small and irregular and arranged in vertical or horizontal lines.
Carpenter bees are another common pest that we are often asked about. They are very populous on the east coast, and will create tunnels in siding to lay eggs and store pollen. Only the females bore holes, and they prefer unstained, soft wood.
Why Shou Sugi Ban is Resistant to Common Pests
Though no wood siding (or any material of siding for that matter) is fully resistant to pests, there are several reasons why our shou sugi ban siding has an increased resistance to common pests.
Carpenter bees will choose to nest in soft, untreated, moist wood; particularly wood with mold and fungus. Because of the heating process, our shou sugi ban has a significantly lower moisture content than other siding. This is the case with most other wood boring insects: moist surfaces are easier to chew and provide essential hydration. Therefore, charred wood will always be a last resort for wood-boring insects.
Termites feed on the cellulose found in wood and other plants. During the heat treatment process of our shou sugi ban, cellulose is completely burned off, leaving nothing of interest for termites.
Without the threat of insect infestations in our siding, the likelihood of woodpecker damage is dramatically decreased as well. There is little reason for woodpeckers to forage for food. Without a food source nearby, they are also less likely to choose our siding as a roosting site. Though woodpeckers are known to drum on any material, drumming is the least costly of any type of woodpecker damage.
According to a recent study, 97% of houses with wood siding in heavily-wooded yards had woodpecker attacks. Meanwhile, 33% of wood homes distributed across all yard types (wooded and not wooded) had woodpecker attacks (Harding, et al). Of the thousands of projects using our siding, less than half a percent have reported issues with woodpeckers. All of these reports were from homes in moderate to heavily wooded areas. Reports of carpenter bee attacks are even lower (just under one percent). Additionally, we have yet to receive a single complaint about termites.
How to Handle a Pest Attack
Woodpeckers are notoriously difficult to deter. According to a study on techniques to reduce woodpecker damage, the most effective solution tested was Irri-tape. Irri-tape successfully deterred woodpeckers from half of the homes with woodpecker damage (Harding, et al).
Other management strategies that have had some success include:
- Filling the hole with caulk or a wood cutout
- Placing aluminum foil on areas of the home
- Attaching shiny mylar helium balloons to the home
- Creating habitat trees (snags) nearby
Deterring carpenter bees is a bit more straight forward, with several effective strategies:
- Repairing holes with Best Bee Brothers Wooden Corks
- Providing alternative nesting options such as untreated pine or cedar planks stacked in the yard
- Placing a hanging house near the bees then move to a tree on the edge of your landscape: Bee House
Carpenter bees will use existing holes that are uninhabited, therefore it is important to handle a bee infestation immediately. These holes can be repaired to prevent future nesting, though it is best to do this in early spring. That's when the when the holes are free of bees, which would become woodpecker food if trapped in the siding.
Though carpenter bees can be a nuisance when nesting in your home, they are very important pollinators and can greatly benefit your yard. Only the females can sting and they rarely do so. Relocating them to another area of the yard will be beneficial to both you and the bees.
A Great Fit for Your Home
While no siding-wood or otherwise-is completely resistant to pests, ours is one of the best choices on the market. Due to our proprietary heat treatment process, our siding product is quite resilient when it comes to pests. In areas where habitat has been degraded to make room for new construction, it can be expected that encounters with wildlife will occur. The best course of action is choosing a siding that is less susceptible to pests. It's also important to remember that these pests are a natural aspect of our landscape. You can rest easy knowing that our siding is not only beautiful, but also has impressive resistance to common pests!
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