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Powder Post Beetles


Powder post beetles are so called because in high numbers they are able to turn the inside of a piece of wood into nothing more than a mass of powder.  They can do significant damage to log homes, furniture, wood floors and structural timbers.  Powder post beetles are small(1/8 inch)and the adult beetles are seldom seen.  Most of the life cycle is spent in the grub stage eating wood.  This stage can last between 1-10 years depending upon a number of factors including;  species of beetle, type of wood infested, age of wood, moisture content of wood and air temperature.  People do not realize that the wood is infested until the adult beetles emerge from within the wood.  The exit holes are very small, about the size of a pin head.  When the wood is tapped with a hammer dust will fall from these exit holes.  Depending on the species powder post beetles can infest hardwoods such as cherry and oak, or softwoods such as poplar, pine and bamboo.  If you find a beetle infestation in a piece of oak furniture this same species of beetle would not infest your pine floor but might infest other pieces of your oak furniture.

Preventing excess moisture is recommended and can be done so by using a moisture barrier and Temp Vents.  To read more about Temp Vents follow this link.


Exit holes from the powderpost beetles emerging may not be seen for several years after the log house is constructed.  Although it is possible that the beetles entered the logs after the house was built it is much more likely that the logs were already infested when purchased from the factory.  I would strongly suggest that all timbers in a log home be treated before assembly.  It is much cheaper to treat preventively and of course it is also much less labor intensive. The best product for this wood treatment is Boracare.  Boracare is an odorless and very safe boron based material that is mixed with water and applied to the wood by brush or a hand held pump sprayer.
Chapin pump sprayer is an excellent sprayer for this job because it comes with fan tips that will give an even spray without puddling chemical on the surface.
Boracare will penetrate wood 2-4 inches deep and is a permanent treatment unless exposed to constant water which will eventually leach it out.  Boracare will also help in the prevention of carpenter ants, carpenter bees, termites, fungus and wood rot.  On log homes that are already standing the varnish on the logs must be removed before the Boracare is applied.  On large logs both sides of the logs should be treated to insure total penetration.  In some cases the logs can be drilled and the Boracare injected inside the logs and than resealed.


The floor must be stripped and than painted or sprayed with Boracare.  Be sure to check the subflooring for damage also.  If the home sits above a crawl space it is suggested that the under structure be treated with Boracare also.  After 72 hours of drying the floor can resealed.


At times powderpost beetle infestations are so severe that a complete fumigation is recommended by a licensed pest control operator.  For light to moderate infestations Boracare will do an excellent job.  In attics and crawl spaces you may find old house borer damage also.  This beetle is much bigger than the powderpost beetle and their exit holes are huge.  Boracare will kill these also.


This gets a little tricky.  You can not apply the Boracare to the outside of the
furniture because the varnish will not allow penetration.  You can carefully brush a very concentrated solution of Boracare inside drawers and underneath for partial control.  The best solution is stripping, applying Boracare and than revarnishing.  Another solution is applying Jecta Gel.  This a very concentrated form of Boracare in a gel base that is delivered by a plastic syringe.  Drill small holes (3/8") inside the legs of the furniture, inject the Jecta Gel and than reseal the holes.  The Jecta Gel will spread in all directions from the applied site.
Individual exit holes can also be treated one at a time with a good crack and crevice aerosol like Invader C & C aerosol.