Termites in hardwood slabs

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Forum topic by RockyMtnBlue posted 05-08-2019 09:46 PM 1072 views 0 times favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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12 posts in 2662 days

05-08-2019 09:46 PM

Topic tags/keywords: slab termites question trick

I discovered that I have termite damage to a number of slabs that I had in a commercial storage building for several months. Seems like I could still use some of the slabs if damage was not too great and if I were to kill any termites in the wood.

As far as killing the termites, the slabs are generally less that 4 feet long; I figure I can seal them in heavy black plastic trash bags and apply something to kill the termites.


-- - Roger

22 replies so far

View LesB's profile


2561 posts in 4222 days

#1 posted 05-08-2019 11:51 PM

Most termites need moisture to survive; unless they are dry wood termites that are frequently found in places like California and coastal Texas. So if yours are the moisture loving type I would just set the wood out in the hot sun for a couple of days. Even if they are dry wood termites you should be able to kill them with heat and avoid insecticide. Inside black plastic bags in the sun should do it.

-- Les B, Oregon

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459 posts in 3024 days

#2 posted 05-09-2019 01:16 AM

Probably ppb.. not termites

-- if it is to be it is up to me

View WDHLT15's profile


1819 posts in 3255 days

#3 posted 05-09-2019 11:27 AM

I agree with snipes. Likely not termites. Most likely beetles. Could be ambrosia beetles, but if the wood is mostly dry, they will have already acted like Elvis and left the building. If the wood is dry, most likely powderpost beetles. Best way to kill them is with heat. You have to get the wood to an internal temp (center of the wood) of 133 degrees and hold it there for at least one hour.

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

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644 posts in 1465 days

#4 posted 05-09-2019 01:14 PM

Are the slabs off the ground? I’d echo the ppb idea if yes

View Lazyman's profile


5476 posts in 2167 days

#5 posted 05-09-2019 01:47 PM

Close up pictures of the damage will help ID the pests. Include the “sawdust” from the damage if there is any and if possible, include a ruler with a relatively small scale in the picture. Of course a picture of the pests itself if there are any will make it a no brainer.

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

View Ocelot's profile


2541 posts in 3418 days

#6 posted 05-09-2019 09:14 PM

If you have an extra vehicle and are not in a hurry… A few sunny (San Antonio) days in the back of a van or SUV in the sunshine. Put a thermometer in there that you can read from outside to be sure it gets hot enough.


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12 posts in 2662 days

#7 posted 05-17-2019 06:42 PM

I finally got back to the storage unit and took some pictures.

-- - Roger

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12 posts in 2662 days

#8 posted 05-17-2019 06:43 PM

-- - Roger

View ibewjon's profile


1665 posts in 3573 days

#9 posted 05-17-2019 07:49 PM

What type of wood is it?

View therealSteveN's profile


5783 posts in 1354 days

#10 posted 05-17-2019 07:52 PM

Probably ppb.. not termites

- Snipes

I agree, in all likelihood it’s PPB.

Here is a quick brief about the differences between PPB, and Termites.

I am not familiar as to where the “dampwood” variety of termites are located. All I have ever encountered are the Subterranean, and they need the mud tunnels to go from ground to the feast. It’s quite easy to see the tunnels. Key find on PPB is the frass, find a hole, and it’s surrounded by what looks like stringy sawdust, that is PPB.

-- Think safe, be safe

View WDHLT15's profile


1819 posts in 3255 days

#11 posted 05-18-2019 11:36 AM

Wood looks like hickory or pecan. Hole look too large for powderpost beetles, although there could be some of them in there too. Looks like a type of hickory borer.

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

View RockyMtnBlue's profile


12 posts in 2662 days

#12 posted 05-18-2019 12:32 PM

Thanks for all the feedback. Looks like I have a beetle problem. If I understand correctly, larva may still be in the wood. Thus, I really don’t have any way of killling them so the slabs are worthless and need to be destroyed. Correct?

-- - Roger

View splintergroup's profile


3801 posts in 2002 days

#13 posted 05-18-2019 02:05 PM

I live in the SW and have had similar issues in the past with re-sawn firewood. I individually wrapped the wood with a single layer of black plastic (6 mil) and let them lay in the sun for a few days. The got very hot and certainly killed off any buggers hiding within. A local trick to kill weeds in areas where you don;t want to spray weed killers is to lay a sheet of this plastic down and let the sun cook off the weeds and their spawn.

View therealSteveN's profile


5783 posts in 1354 days

#14 posted 05-18-2019 07:15 PM

Using the black plastic in the sun, and HOT weather will raise the heat of the exterior portion of the wood enough to kill. However some wood eggspurts suggest if the wood is thicker, the interior temps do not change enough.

I have yet to read an article saying that a Kiln wasn’t hot enough, if used long enough to kill them though.

Those who wrote this, often talked about the black plastic saying it’s problem was nighttime, when temps dropped, and no Sun. This is also said about solar kilns, also because of nightime. They say it needs to be a constant cycle to be 100% effective. Of this group though, many have said if you lived in the South, where Sun was brighter, and temps were hotter that folks had fairly good luck.

For beetles with larva inside wood, Kiln drying is as close to 100% as you will find. It comes down to if you feel the wood is worth more than the cost of Kiln drying, or else it’s often a fragrant hot dog, followed by Marshmallow kinda fire.

A little about Kiln temps, and length of time to kill bug larva

Another link, different forum.

The guy local to me sells wood/lumber, and his thought is 135* for 4 hours per inch of thickness. He sells the wood, and feels it is better if he wastes a small amount of wood that he owns, rather than send out infected product to someone, after they own it. Of all things he does, that is the one that scares him the most. Bad feedback, and articles that he sells buggy wood. Up in Ohio, because of nighttime cooling, it’s often said until around 3 to 4 PM the temps inside plastic, or a glassed in solar kiln aren’t high enough yet to do much work, so it’s not from dawn to dusk.

From what I have read it seemingly doesn’t bother many wood sellers, based on comments made on forums like this one. IOW one complaint, can negate 1000 good comments.

-- Think safe, be safe

View bigJohninvegas's profile


777 posts in 2241 days

#15 posted 05-18-2019 08:03 PM

If you decide not to save the slabs, don’t throw them out. Cut them down into turning blank sizes.
Once they are cut into blanks, they are small enough to fit into an oven. And like others have said. 190 for an hour should do it.
As far as saving the slabs intact. I have seen locals here in the las vegas dry heat build a tarp tent and sticker wet boards to dry them. They also used a small fan at one end to keep moisture down. And maybe a heat lamp for night time?
Not sure if that will generate enough heat.

-- John

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