Wood-boring beetles (including longhorn beetles, bark beetles and weevils) are responsible for most of the damage done to wooden pallets each year.
When a wood-boring beetle starts a family, she does so by laying eggs into the cracks of wood. The resulting larvae may feast on their makeshift home for several years, causing severe and irreparable damage.
Now imagine if that happens to the regular items you use daily in your business. The damage a few insects can do to your livelihood is terrifying, and unfortunately, wooden pallets are especially vulnerable to this kind of attack.
Because of the huge risk from these insects, all material deemed risky for both exported or imported goods is prohibited.
There are several precautions we can take to avoid beetles and other harmful insects contaminating your pallets. These include: checking all stock carefully for any signs of bore holes before accepting delivery; choosing items made from air- or kiln-dried wood; not storing wood near to anything else; treating unfinished wood with a borate-based product.
Heat treated wooden pallets are insect-free, and this procedure is surprisingly straightforward to organise. When carried out correctly, this meets the International Standards For Phytosanitary Measures No. 15 (ISPM 15), a task which involves wood reaching and maintaining a 130 degree Fahrenheit temperature for 30 minutes.
Sometimes this fails, which is usually due to user error during the procedure or, occasionally, a fake stamp on the documentation.
Plastic pallets do last longer than their wooden counterparts. They are kinder to the environment, easier to keep clean and of course don’t need to be heat-treated, which makes them faster to process. They are more expensive to purchase initially, but should pay for themselves over time.
However, while the majority of the world still uses wood as a major source of fuel, the need to protect native species from contamination by pests is urgent.
Importing and exporting anything with wood-based packaging poses a risk of unwittingly carrying unwelcome insects between the destinations. To protect themselves, most countries have strict guidelines.
Make life easier on yourself and avoid unnecessary fees and paperwork by choosing heat treated wooden pallets, complete with a certified guarantee. For a small initial outlay, you can avoid the risk of failed export deals down the line.
If you think of attending your neighbor’s garage sale this weekend, think again. You may find cheap items which can end up costing you a fortune if you fight bed bugs as a result. The parasites can hide in tables, chairs, electronics, nightstand lamps, picture frames. Don’t pick up things people left outside their houses, as there may be a good reason why they got rid of them in the first place.