Prevent a Pest Infestation on Your Deck With These Tips

Prevent a Pest Infestation on Your Deck With These Tips

A deck is a place to enjoy spending time outdoors. Unfortunately, you and your family and friends may not be the only ones who are enjoying it. A deck can attract pests, which means you may not be able to enjoy it without ant removal or other pest control services. Here are some of the common pests that may infest your deck and how you may be able to prevent an infestation.

What Are Some Common Pests, and What Damage Can They Cause To Your Deck?

If you have a wooden deck, some pests may be specifically drawn to it. Termites eat wood, while carpenter ants make nests in it. Each is attracted to damp wood because moisture makes it softer, and each can cause extensive damage by hollowing out your deck and other wood structures.

Carpenter ants don’t eat wood as termites do. Rather, they hollow it out to build tunnels in which to build their nests. Damage from both carpenter ants and termites can result in extensive damage that can compromise the structural integrity of your deck. Not only that, but they may spread from the deck to the house itself.

Rodents such as mice and rats do not eat wood, nor do they make tunnels in it. However, they may find that it provides good cover for a nest and hide around or underneath it. Rodents need to keep gnawing on things to file down their front teeth, which never stop growing. It doesn’t really matter to them what they chew on as long as it is hard enough to file down their teeth. Therefore, they may damage your deck by chewing on components of it. 

Rodents can be just as destructive to a wood deck as termites or carpenter ants, and the damage may be more noticeable because you can see the teeth marks of the mice or rats, whereas damage from insects may be more subtle. In addition to causing property damage, rats and mice can also spread dangerous diseases through their droppings. Furthermore, seeing them scurrying about when you aren’t expecting them can be very startling.

What Can You Do To Prevent Infestations?

There are several steps you can take to make your deck less attractive to pests.

  1. Keep your deck clean, especially if you use it for outdoor dining. Pests are attracted to crumbs and scraps of food, especially if they are high in protein or sugar, so you should clean your deck regularly, including after every outdoor meal.
  2. Change the lightbulbs in outdoor lighting fixtures. White light attracts many types of insects, including some potentially dangerous ones, such as flies and mosquitoes. There are alternatives that are less attractive to insects, including special bug lights designed specifically for outdoor fixtures and bulbs that emit a yellow glow that doesn’t appeal to bugs.
  3. Citronella is an aromatic herb that pests find annoying. It is available in many different forms, but one of the most popular is citronella candles or torches. You set these up on or around your deck and light them. As they are burning, they release the smell of citronella oil into the air. Plus, the candles and torches lend your deck a special ambiance. Just be sure to observe fire safety while using citronella candles or torches.
  4. If the idea of burning candles or torches makes you uncomfortable, you can plant citronella around your deck instead to help keep pests away. In fact, there are a number of aromatic herbs that you can plant around your deck to keep pests away. Examples include marigolds, lemongrass, chives, rosemary, and garlic. Strong-smelling plants interfere with pests’ ability to find food, and some of these herbs can also be used in recipes.

When pests are highly motivated, deterrents do not always work. In that case, contact Truly Nolen for pest control services, including ant removal.