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Ask the Orkin Man

Treat barn wood for termites

Question: We would like to use an old barn beam as the mantel in our new
home. I want to make sure it doesn’t have termites before installing it,
and possibly pretreat for them. Do you have any suggestions? I have 2
beams. What would Orkin charge to treat these?
I live in Sunbury, Ohio.
Thank you.
Kelli

ANSWER: The old barn beam may (but not likely) have termites, but you will know this when you extract it from the barn. Termites need contact with the soil, so you will see evidence of live termites and tunnels in the wood. (If termites have made tunnels in the wood, the tunnels will be filled with dirt.)

More than termites, I would be concerned with wood-boring beetles. These often have larvae in the wood happily eating away. By the time you see holes, it may be too late. Check the wood. If it has small holes, it probably has some. This tends to be a problem when using reclaimed wood.

Your best option is to call your local Orkin branch office and see if there is any way they can help you with this. In some markets there may be some small fumigation chambers available where you could take the wood. Call now to see what can be done.

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