Rattan is a popular material for furniture. Rattan is available in various natural looks and colors, allowing it to be integrated into most design styles. However, does its natural look come with a price? You may be wondering if rattan furniture attracts bugs. Well, we've done the research and have an answer for you.
Rattan furniture does attract bugs. Spiders and small bugs may be tempted to create their home in your rattan furniture. This can be combated by taking a few steps to care for your furniture and prevent the bugs from moving in.
Even though bugs will be drawn to your rattan furniture, keep reading as we talk about why and how you can prevent it. We'll also answer some other questions you might have about rattan, wood furniture, and what kinds of insects eat wood.
Rattan Furniture And Bugs
Many bugs are harmless, but there are those few bugs and spiders that can pack a nasty punch if they bite you. Since furniture is used for lounging and sitting, the chances of your skin being exposed to them in this situation are much higher. Not only do you have to worry about bugs harming you, but bugs can also harm the furniture.
You don't want to share your furniture with the pesky invaders, but what can you do to stop them? Well, in order to prevent them, you need to understand what exactly rattan is and why insects are drawn to it.
Is Rattan Considered Wood?
So what is Rattan? Rattan palms are a type of vine that can be manipulated and woven into durable and sturdy furniture. The vine is native to Africa, Asia, and Australia and grows in tropical climates. It has wood-like qualities and is often referred to as a type of wood, but characteristically it's more of a liana.
By definition, a liana is a wood-like vine that is rooted in the soil at ground level. Lianas use other trees to climb. Rattan palms have flexible woody stems that they use to twist their way up to the canopy to reach sunlight. When it comes to furniture, it shares much of the same characteristics as wood and can often be treated as such.
It's not so much rattan itself that attracts bug, but the way it is used. Rattan is just one of many materials used to make wicker furniture. Wicker furniture is the ideal design for insects to find their way into. Its intricate woven design and hard-to-reach places leave lots of crevices for bugs to hide in.
How Do You Protect Wooden Furniture From Bugs?
Since the way you protect rattan furniture is almost identical to how you can protect wooden furniture, we'll talk in a more generic sense when going over ways to protect it. Let's go over some ways you can protect your wooden furniture from bugs.
Bugs and spiders like to make their home in places they won't be bothered. One of the best ways to prevent them from setting up camp in your rattan furniture is by keeping it clean. Fortunately, there's more than one way to clean rattan furniture, and they are all relatively easy to do.
Rattan furniture can be vacuumed to remove any loose dust or cobwebs. You can use a toothbrush or soft-bristled brush for extra tight areas to get into the crevices, which are where the bugs like to hide. You can also use a brush to break down tougher to remove dirt— regular cleaning should help reduce build-up! Or, you can use warm soapy water or a garden hose to wash it down for a more thorough cleaning.
Sealant is usually used to weatherproof wicker or wood, but it can have a double duty and add a layer of protection against wood burying insects.
When choosing a product, make sure to check that it can be used on your wood or rattan. Many sealants and protectors will protect poly rattan and other similar materials from UV rays as well. Since many wicker pieces are made from synthetic material, be sure to determine whether your rattan is natural or not.
Store It When Not In Use
Storing your furniture when you're not using it can also help protect it from bugs. Bugs don't like to be bothered, so they are more likely to hang out on or in your furniture when you're not using it as much. For outside furniture, store it for seasons you won't be using it by covering it or bringing it inside.
Don't Forget The Fabric
Insects aren't just attracted to your rattan furniture. They are also attracted to the cushions on your rattan benches or chairs. Discourage bugs from burying into your fabric cushions or covers by removing them when you aren't using them. Consider purchasing a fabric sealant. Finally, cleaning the cushions regularly can help prevent bugs from moving in.
Can Rattan Furniture Be Used Outdoors?
Rattan furniture can be used outdoors. It is often used for many outdoor wicker furniture pieces. Rattan furniture can be made from either natural or synthetic rattan. Most manufacturers will now use synthetic rattan for outdoor furniture as it's more durable.
Natural rattan, while it can be used outside, shouldn't be left outside season to season. When exposed to the elements, natural rattan will begin to wear down over time. You'll start to notice it breaking and splitting into parts. Keeping the rattan outside where it is exposed to constant sunlight, rain, or humidity will cost you.
Synthetic rattan is much more durable and can be left outside year-round, but you should still remove any fabric cushions as they will be more susceptible to damage from the weather.
If you can't bring your furniture in, consider using furniture covers to protect against harsh weather conditions.
What Insects Eat Wood Furniture?
Some insects like to eat or bury into wood. Unfortunately, that includes wood furniture. Termites, carpenter ants, carpenter bees, and powderpost beetles can all prey on your wooden furniture.
Termites are probably the first insect that comes to mind when you ask anyone about a wood-destroying insect. They cost homeowners thousands of dollars in damage. Most people think about termite damage to a house foundation, but they can also damage your furniture. If you suspect termites, you should call an exterminator right away.
Carpenter ants, while not as destructive as termites, can still damage wood furniture. They don't consume wood but carve into it. A sign of carpenter ants are piles of wood shavings around your home. Carpenter ants target fir or pine lumber, so not all wood furniture is at risk.
Carpenter bees like to make their home inside wood. Like carpenter ants, they don't consume the wood but bore into it to make a nesting site. Carpenter bees like weathered or unfinished wood more, so sealing, staining, or treating your wood can help deter them.
Finally, powderpost beetles, like termites, will eat wood. Some species of the beetle only like hardwoods, but because other species will target softwood, no wooden furniture is safe. As with carpenter bees, powderpost beetles prefer old or unfinished wood.
Now you know that bugs are attracted to rattan or any wicker furniture. Fortunately, the main way to deter them is by giving your furniture pieces a regular clean. Relatively low cost and not very time-consuming, it's worth taking the step to avoid encountering any unwanted creepy crawlies.
If you're interested in finding out which furniture will last longest, check out our other blog post: What Type Of Outdoor Furniture Lasts Longest?, or if we've got you wondering which fabric is best, check out: What Is The Best Fabric For Outdoor Furniture?