Q: We have teak furniture on our patio which has never been oiled or stained. Recently, wasps have begun removing the upper, soft surface of the wood. We have contacted the manufacturer but they say they have no suggestions. Can you help?
A: Dr. Beverly Sparks, Extension service expert on all things bug-related, says that hornets and wasps both strip soft bark from healthy plants to use in making their nests. She said it is within the realm of probability that the wasps have found your teak wood to be an acceptable substitute. If you want to avoid using a finish on your furniture, paint it with a water solution of carbaryl insecticide (Sevin, Bug-B-Gon, etc). Be sure to follow label instructions and allow the surfaces to dry before you sit on the furniture. You could choose to use pyrethrin, an organic alternative, but it would not kill the insects quite as rapidly.
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