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Powderpost Beetles

Their Control and Biology

Biology: Powderpost 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 fine powder.  These wood destroying beetles can do significant damage to log homes, furniture, wood floors and structural timbers in your home.  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 or larvae stage eating wood.  Damage is done by the larvae as they create narrow, meandering tunnels in wood as they feed.  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.   Newly emerged adults mate and lay eggs on or below the surface of bare (unfinished) wood. The eggs hatch into tiny larvae which bore into the wood, emerging as adults 1-10 years later. Infestations develop slowly, but wood can be reinfested year after year.  Homeowners are more likely to see damage than the beetles themselves, because the adults are short-lived and are active mainly at night. 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.

Powderpost Beetle Control In Log Homes

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.  We 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 Bora-CareBoracare is odorless and (when label instructions are followed) is very safe. This boron based material is mixed with water and applied to the wood by brush or a hand held pump sprayer.  For more detailed information about treating and maintaining log homes with Bora-Care, go to Bora-Care and Log Homes article.
A 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  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.

Powderpost Beetle Control In Floors

The floor must be stripped and than painted or sprayed with Boracare.   Be sure to check the sub flooring 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.

Powder Post Beetle Control In Attics and Crawl Spaces

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, or as a follow-up to fumigation, 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.

Powderpost Beetle Control In Furniture

This gets a little tricky.  You cannot 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 and underneath drawers for partial control.  The best solution is stripping, applying Boracare and then re-varnishing.  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 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, penetrating deep into the wood to protect against all wood destroying organisms.  Individual exit holes can also be treated one at a time with a good crack and crevice aerosol like Invader C & C aerosol.

Boracare gallon.   Mix one part Boracare to one part water.  Each gallon of finished mix will treat up to 500 square feet.

Order BoraCare

Order case (4 gallons) Bora-Care

Jecta Gel tube is sized to fit a standard caulking gun.

Order Jecta Gel

Termites, Powderpost Beetles, WDO

Professional Pest Control Products
6920 Pine Forest Road
Pensacola, Florida    32526


Call us:   8:30 & 4:30 weekdays, Central Time

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