The lumber industry has long been criticized for its sizable role in deforestation around the world, causing many to seek out repurposed wood for home construction projects. Repurposed wood, also known as salvaged or reclaimed wood, can be purchased in place of fresh lumber at a much cheaper price while also reducing tree-loss. It is now common for people to use repurposed wood for building furniture, cabinetry, and even for replacing a home’s structural lumber. Ceilings, floors and even entire houses are being constructed with repurposed wood, but as it turns out, the miracle of cheap second-hand wood may not be all it’s cracked-up to be. The increased use of repurposed wood has been known to exacerbate termite pest damage all over the United States, as second-hand wood is sometimes sourced from termite-infested structures, and the movement of repurposed and infested wood across the country has brought non-native termite species into territories where they did not exist before.

Repurposed wood is widely available on Craigslist and other online sites, and businesses that sell second-hand wood exist in every area of the US. It is not uncommon for people to have repurposed wood sent to them from faraway regions where destructive termite species may be abundant. For example, due to the presence of invasive Formosan subterranean termites in the Gulf Coast states, pest control officials have done their best to prevent residents of the south from shipping repurposed wood to other regions, as some of this wood is bound to be infested with the destructive termites. This is why American citizens should not accept second-hand wood sourced from structures in the south. While this is an urgent concern, it is far more likely for homeowners to bring termites into their home by using local, repurposed and infested wood as a substitute for fresh structural lumber. Homeowners are strongly advised against using second-hand wood for home construction, and doing so can violate some pest control contracts.

Have you ever used repurposed wood for home construction? If so, do you think that it may have been infested with termites?