The bane of any homeowner’s existence is the wood-destroying insect. But, especially in the Cape Cod area, there are more wood-destroying insects than just termites. As our homeowning customers often find out, there are several eager wood eaters in the insect family to be on the lookout for. One of the nastiest types of wood-destroying insect damage is powder post beetle damage.
I recently helped out a customer with a powder post beetle issue in his basement. Powder post beetles are common wood-destroying insects, but they rarely get as much attention as termites and carpenter ants. I most often find them in subfloor beams and in hardwood floors of older homes. However, they can be found in antique furniture, throughout natural wood cottages, and even in wood siding.
How did I know I was dealing with powder post beetles rather than termites, carpenter ants or some other kind of wood-damaging insect? There are a few clear indicators all Pest Pros pest elimination professionals are trained to recognize in this type of situation.
The telltale signs of powder post beetle damage are the small pin holes of damage (about 2-3 mm in diameter) found throughout the piece of wood. Active beetles will be pushing a fine dust, called frass, out of the wood as they bore themselves through. They are commonly introduced into wood at lumber yards and can actually end up in a house at the initial construction stage. Discovering exit holes in a piece of wood doesn’t always mean there is an active infestation. The evidence of “frass” or powdered dust is one of the most definitive ways to diagnose an active infestation.
Powder Post Beetles vs. Termites
If your home is falling victim to wood-destroying insects, you probably don’t care too much whether they are powder post beetles or termites, but it does help to know when deciding on the proper treatment to protect your home.
Powder post beetles are more easily identified by the presence of those 2- to 3-millimeter emergence holes. While termites produce plenty of frass, the kick out holes they create are smaller than the ones created by powder post beetles. In addition, termites are fast-moving, swarming insects that feed on your wood. On the other hand, powder post beetles lay eggs in your wood, and it is the larvae that emerge that do all the damage.
This means you have a bit more time to come up with an efficient solution when you have powder post beetles as opposed to termites because the wood destruction happens much more slowly. However, the longer the wait, the more remediation you will have to do once your insect infestation is dealt with.
Although there are a few types of powder post beetles, they all produce wood-destroying larvae that are white and c-shaped, so the cause of your decaying wood should not be difficult to identify.
Powder Post Beetle Damage Repair
Once powder post beetles have done their damage, the only way to repair it is really to replace the wood they have burrowed their way into. Before replacing powder post beetle-damaged wood, it’s important to fully treat your home for powder post beetle infestation, and equally important to treat your wood and your home afterward to make sure powder post beetles do not return to do more damage again.
Powder Post Beetles Treatment
There are ways to prevent and eliminate active powder post beetles. Prevention of these beetles should really start at the lumber yard since they are most often brought into a home from there. Keeping a space dry with dehumidifiers or proper ventilation, particularly in basements and crawlspaces is a good practice to discourage powder post beetles (and insects in general). Coating a wooden surface with a varnish, shellac, or paint is a way to keep powder post beetles from burrowing into a wood surface. It will not, however, affect larvae that are already established inside the wood, but it can minimize the possibility of re-infestation.
When you contact a pest removal expert to resolve your wood-destroying insect problem, it’s very important to choose one who knows how to differentiate the different types of insects that may be invading your home, as well as how to determine the best methods for eliminating them. In the Cape Cod area and surrounding areas, that company is Pest Pros.
For years, we have been protecting the Cape Cod area from wood-destroying and home-invading pests. Our experts are trained to quickly recognize the type of infestation you’re dealing with, locate all sources of the infestation and deal with the infestation quickly, completely and effectively.
At Pest Pros, we offer a borate treatment to eliminate powder post beetles and coat the wood to prevent re-infestation. Borate products (insecticides whose active ingredients are derived from boron) can be relied on for long-term protection from organisms that feed on cellulose in our homes. This treatment, after penetrating past the surface of wood, will crystallize inside the wood which gives you the long-term protection you need and delivers the active ingredients to the area where real damage occurs.
As always, give our office a call at (508) 888-0999 for any questions on a powder post beetle issue and a Free Inspection anytime!