[HOUSE & HOLMES] Gone Buggy

Rob Loos, Ledger Columnist

Rob Loos, Ledger Columnist

I hate bugs. Maybe not all bugs. Ladybugs seem nice enough, but spiders, fleas, cockroaches and especially termites really piss me off.

Termites serve no purpose except to taunt me by eating their way though my perfectly good porch and then laughing as they leave piles of mysterious pellets of what looks like sawdust underneath their little tunnels in my wood planks.

Rather than sitting outside on our once nice veranda, I had to block off a large portion so that no one would fall through the termite marred wood.

I wasn’t going to let these bugs beat me. I came up with a fool-proof plan that would trounce the termites before they ate the other half of our backyard deck.

I thought that my best chance to outfox them was by going upscale so I replaced the damaged planks, which were made of pine, with planks made of nice, hard, redwood.

Not only would redwood be much more difficult for tiny termites to gnaw through, but once I coated all sides with the waterproof stain that seals the wood, it would be impenetrable to these hungry creepy-crawlies.

But unfortunately, as usual, I was completely wrong. My actions encouraged the termites to bring more of their hungry comrades over for brunch. In many parts of our deck I think the stain was the only thing holding the wood together. The more expensive the wood—the better they liked it.

Termites are like your old college roommate who comes for a weekend and ends up staying for a month; taking over your guest room, cleaning out your fridge, pantry, and even your hidden supply of Christmas popcorn balls that you were saving for the annual viewing of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

I was hoping to solve this problem on my own, without bothering my virtuoso contractor friend Dave, but no such luck.

I reached Dave at his company Christmas party, which was being held in a brand new “spec” house that he built overlooking the Pacific.

I explained my situation while he sipped his eggnog.

“Why don’t you buy the wood that’s been pressure-treated with ACQ?” he said.

“What?” I asked.

“It’s Alkaline Copper Quaternary, it repels the termites,” answered Dave.

I wished Dave a “Merry Christmas” and headed for the lumberyard.

Sure enough Dave was right—the treated lumber looks like it has staple marks and it has a greenish Christmas-like hue, and it works.

Happy Holidays, bugs! So long termite tunnels!

All of which once again goes to prove, “If I can’t figure it out—and I know that I can’t—my friend Dave can.”

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