Powderpost beetle problem

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Forum topic by jtm posted 04-15-2018 05:20 PM 696 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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237 posts in 2409 days

04-15-2018 05:20 PM

Hi All,

I have a problem…

I just grabbed a couple of pieces of hickory hardwood flooring that I had leftover from my installation 5 years ago. As soon as I picked them up, I noticed they looked like swiss cheese from all the holes in them.

Obviously they were the victim of a powderpost beetle attack.

I keep a lot of wood pieces in this corner of my shop, but none of the maple/mahogany/oak/walnut have any holes in them. It’s only the hardwood flooring pieces.

I went up and checked my actual floor, but I don’t see any holes in those boards.

So where did these beetles come from? I only ever buy kiln dried wood from the local hardwood dealer (Highland Hardwoods – and I know they only deal with top notch stuff). I also buy project boards from Rockler, but those are also kiln dried.

The only other place I suspect is some cherry boards from Craigslist, and the guy runs a tight ship. Everything is kiln dried, and he has a good reputation.

Is it possible they were already in the flooring boards? They came from Bruce flooring at Home Depot. But if that were the case, wouldn’t my living room floor show signs of it too?

What do I do? Do I throw all that wood in the corner away? I have about 30bf of walnut and mahogany in there, so it’s many hundreds of dollars of wood at a minimum.

6 replies so far

View jtm's profile


237 posts in 2409 days

#1 posted 04-15-2018 05:32 PM

I was just thinking…

Since these are PRE-finished boards, doesn’t that mean that the beetles were already in the flooring since there are boring holes through the polyurethane?

I think this would be the worst case scenario, because that would mean there are more in my living room waiting to come out.

View Ron Aylor's profile

Ron Aylor

2649 posts in 1420 days

#2 posted 04-15-2018 05:36 PM

Perhaps the powderpost beetles were just in the mood for hickory. I know sometimes I prefer a Whopper over a BigMac. First thing I would do is clean/straighten up that corner.

View bilyo's profile


1112 posts in 1875 days

#3 posted 04-15-2018 05:50 PM

I have read that a certain amount of heat for a short time will kill what ever is still in the wood. For only 30 BF it might be doable to wrap the boards in black plastic and lay then in the sun for a while. You can probably look it up on the net to verify this. Or, i’m sure someone will chime in here.

View jtm's profile


237 posts in 2409 days

#4 posted 04-15-2018 06:57 PM

I just went through every board in that corner. Not a single one showed any sign of beetle holes.

The holes are limited to 5 hickory hardwood flooring boards. There are another 11 pieces of the same flooring that were stored right next to them, and those don’t have any signs of beetles.

I’m throwing all the flooring away, and I’ll coat the rest of the wood with boric acid. Then next weekend I’ll build a DIY mini-kiln and heat the boards to 150F for a few hours.

Anyone have a suggestions on a DIY kiln? There are a few guides out there. I was just wondering if anyone made one with good results. I only need it to accommodate 4 foot boards.

View WDHLT15's profile


1819 posts in 3248 days

#5 posted 04-18-2018 11:30 AM

Are there piles of sawdust on the boards or floor? A closeup pic of the beetle boards will help. Are the holes filled with frass (digestede sawdust) or are they open? Are the holes lined with black or have a black ring around them?

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT40HD35 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln.

View Lazyman's profile


5410 posts in 2160 days

#6 posted 04-18-2018 12:22 PM

It is hard to tell from your pictures but if the holes are line with black, I don’t think those are powder post beetles. Black lined tunnels are more likely some type of ambrosia beetles which require enough moisture in the wood to grow the black fungus associated with them. The beetle larvae actually eat the black fungus that lines the tunnels and from what I remember typically infest recently dead or dying trees, though could infest other wood that has a high enough moisture content. The sawdust that you see with ambrosia beetles is from the female excavating brooding chambers and tunnels for the larvae and fungus to grow. The don’t actually ingest the wood itself.

Powder post beetles typically infest relatively dry wood so can attack kiln dried wood at any time, including house framing and furniture. Based upon earlier research I did to when I discovered ambrosia beetles in in a hickory log I was milling (I think it was WDHLT15 – Danny who helped me ID it), I think that moisture is a factor in PPB infestation as well so keeping the wood below about 15% moisture content will help if they are PPB. if the flooring was installed 5 years ago and you are not seeing any signs of infestation in the house, it was most likely infested while in your garage. Keeping the wood up off the garage floor and dry will help.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

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