LumberJocks

Bugs eating my Silver Maple wood planks!

  • Advertise with us

« back to Wood & Lumber forum

Forum topic by woodwerk posted 09-20-2019 01:11 PM 490 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View woodwerk's profile

woodwerk

5 posts in 32 days


09-20-2019 01:11 PM

Hello,

About 4-5 years ago our Silver Maple was cut down because the roots were causing issues with our lateral drain line. It was a large tree. I contacted a local portable sawmill guy and he did a great job milling the tree trunks on our property.

My plan was / is to use the wood planks in a future home addition as a feature wall for a modern staircase. So I built an open air 8’ x 16’ x 10’ tall shed behind the garage and stacked the wood on ash hardwood stickers mostly and a few 2×4’s at the top when I ran out of the ash stickers. The shed is built out of pressure treated lumber.

2-3 years ago I started to notice minor sawdust heaps here and there but nothing excessive seemed to be going on. At first I thought it was the ash stickers that were being eaten but now realize it was the silver maple planks. So earlier this year I sprayed a termite killer on the visible / accessible parts. We’ve had a lot of rain lately and I was alarmed when I looked at the pile a few days ago and saw all the sawdust piles.

I am not sure if the insects are powderpost beetles, termites or carpenter bees. There was a bees nest on the soffit of the wood shed that I sprayed with insect killer earlier in the year and I don’t see any activity. There is a smaller nest developing on another part of the soffit and I can see bees flying. Not sure if they are yellow jackets or bees. We have yellow jacket nest somewhere else on our property in a cross section of the silver maple trunk. I took care of those.

What’s the best approach to take care of this issue?

Here is the plan I have at the moment:

I just purchased a car port on Amazon and once it arrives will set it up on the lawn. Then I plan to remove all the planks from the wood shed, wipe / brush them down and spray all sides of each plank with a termite / wood boring insect killer. I will stack them in the car port on the lawn. Then I will go to town on the wood shed and spray it with termite killer and mildew remover. I will also treat the ground all around the house, garage and wood shed with a termite killer.

I will probably stain the shed while the wood is under the car port and will stack them higher and narrower when they are brought back to the wood shed. That way there will be a bigger overhang to prevent the wood from getting wet so often when it rains.

The wood will have to stay in the open air wood shed for a few more years since I don’t see the addition happening soon. If I have to do this once a year I will to maintain the wood. I think these insects are thriving off the moisture. If I dried the wood in a home made kiln to kill the insects it would just get wet again overtime once I store them in the shed.

I could maybe close the sides of the shed with bug screen or canvas to keep the elements and other bugs out.

Btw, I saved a lot of sawdust in metal containers during the milling process and plan to mix this with gorilla glue and rub the mix into the planks after planing. That should take care of all the tiny holes created by the insects. There’s some holes from ants also that had a nest in the tree when it was still alive. I think these all tell a story of the tree and don’t mind a few holes here and there filled with sawdust and glue.

Please let me know if you have better ideas to save the wood.

Below are some photos showing the issue.


13 replies so far

View ibewjon's profile

ibewjon

1007 posts in 3306 days


#1 posted 09-20-2019 01:36 PM

Wormy maple sells for a higher price. Silver maple is soft and easy to chew into. Unfortunately, storing it outside makes it easier to access for the insects. I like to save wood too, but do you really want wood sprayed with all that nasty stuff in your house? I am lucky to be able to store my silver maple and other wood in a garage, and I don’t have any problems. If there is moisture, insects move in.

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

3983 posts in 1900 days


#2 posted 09-20-2019 02:36 PM

Definitely not termites. Probably some sort of beetle but you’ll need to look at the holes to see if you can determine if they are powder post beetles. Since it has been several years and presumably the wood is relatively dry that would be my first guess. PPB exit holes are tiny—1/32-1/16” in diameter. Larger holes are usually some less worrisome beetles. Heat, 120-140 degrees if memory serves, is the best way to kill them once infested so you probably have to take them to a kiln or rig up your own. Once they are present most pesticides won’t help much because you just can’t get the poison into the wood to kill them. Timbor or a similar boric acid treatment may prevent future infestation but will do little to kill what is there unless you can can completely saturate the wood. You definitely do not want to put PPB infested wood into your home as they will attack any dry wood—studs, floors, cabinetry and even furniture.

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

View JCamp's profile

JCamp

1004 posts in 1063 days


#3 posted 09-20-2019 03:26 PM

I’ve seen several others on here mention the Timbor stuff the fella above mention. Probably the only way to make sure everything is dead is to place it in a kiln and kill them with the heat. If that isn’t a option I might contact good bug exterminator company to see if they’ll come take a look at it and see what bugs they are and how much for them to spray them. From what u describe I doubt they are termites or wood boring bees, most likely some form of beetle

-- Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might

View CaptainKlutz's profile

CaptainKlutz

1898 posts in 2007 days


#4 posted 09-20-2019 08:58 PM

+1 JCamp – HEAT!

If you don’t see the bugs actually eating the wood:
Kiln drying with heat is the only 100% method to kill bug larvae that are dormant in the wood.
Your bugs will just keep waking up, eating, and making more larvae; forever without heat.

Long term fumigation treatment with extended storage in chemical tent can also be used, but those nasty chemicals are for single use contaminated pallet/crate wood entering from a foreign country, not indoor furniture wood.

Build a solar kiln if you can’t find a local sawyer willing to treat your lumber.

I hate bugs in wood. Wormy wood is cool. PBB or termite infected wood is not.
If bug contaminated wood is brought into house, they can infect other bare wood and require expensive whole house tent fumigation and heating for many weeks to remove.
Be safe, not sorry.

Best Luck.

-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

View Aj2's profile

Aj2

2497 posts in 2311 days


#5 posted 09-20-2019 09:57 PM

Get rid of the bark. Bug are attracted to the bark.

-- Aj

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

3916 posts in 1087 days


#6 posted 09-20-2019 11:17 PM

When wood is stacked, raised or not over dirt I like to see a barrier to the bugs over the dirt, and under the wood, the riser blocks, and everything you don’t want them to nibble on. Concrete is obviously best, but even a doubled over tarp is better than sitting directly over dirt.

As mentioned bark is usually best off, some of the bugs prefer it to the inner wood. I like the raised part to be a series of concrete blocks, the little bastiages will eat through beams, and other wood, and treated stuff must be eyed with suspicion. It must be clearly tagged as ok for ground contact, or it’s just a green colored snack for a lot of the bugs.

A kiln will kill all the bugs, and the larva they leave behind. Thing is a lot of kiln owners won’t take it. But if you can get it kiln dried, the look of buggy wood scares a lot of folks, but I like it, especially on Early American stuff. Makes it look more authentic.

-- Think safe, be safe

View avsmusic1's profile

avsmusic1

529 posts in 1198 days


#7 posted 09-21-2019 03:42 AM

Another vote for remove the bark + kiln

View woodwerk's profile

woodwerk

5 posts in 32 days


#8 posted 09-21-2019 04:05 AM

Thanks for the advice. I made the mistake of placing some of the unusable wood planks on the ground after milling as a pathway along the side of the garage. Some planks had bark on it. At the time I thought it would look cool and rustic. I also mixed in some gravel and mulch. Now I realize this might have attracted the insects.

The holes are small so it sounds like these insects are PBB. I spotted two dead insects that looked like beetles on the frame of the shed. Attached are photos of them. They must have died when I had sprayed the shed earlier in the year with insect killer.

View woodwerk's profile

woodwerk

5 posts in 32 days


#9 posted 09-21-2019 04:08 AM



I’ve seen several others on here mention the Timbor stuff the fella above mention. Probably the only way to make sure everything is dead is to place it in a kiln and kill them with the heat. If that isn’t a option I might contact good bug exterminator company to see if they’ll come take a look at it and see what bugs they are and how much for them to spray them. From what u describe I doubt they are termites or wood boring bees, most likely some form of beetle

- JCamp


This looks like the kind of product I could use – Bora-Care. It penetrates the wood and keeps it protected for life but care must be taken to keep it dry.

http://nisuscorp.com/remodelers/products/BORA-CARE

How Does Bora-Care Work?
The active ingredient in Bora-Care is a borate salt. Borate salts work by taking advantage of a unique feature in the biology of termites, ants and other insects. If ingested by ants, beetles or termites, the insect becomes unable to extract nutrition from its food and starves to death. And because of this unique mode of action, insects cannot develop a resistance, ever. Bora-Care works differently than most other insecticides, termiticides and even other borate products on the market today. For starters, it isn’t applied to the soil but to the structure itself. Secondly, it isn’t just a repellent or a bait but a little bit of each. Bora-Care’s unique patented blend of glycols in combination with a borate salt provides results that are hard to beat. As soon as beetles and ants attempt to consume treated wood they die. Subterranean termites won’t even try to eat treated wood and if they attempt to build a tube on treated wood, the termites start to die. This alerts the termite colony and they abandon the wood.

Treat the Wood, Not the Soil.
Bora-Care is applied directly onto wood surfaces. Bora-Care then penetrates the wood, protecting it throughout. Because the active ingredient in Bora-Care is a mineral salt, it doesn’t break down over time, so it remains in the wood for the life of the wood, providing residual protection. By keeping the wood sealed or protected from moisture as in the wall voids of your home, you eliminate the need for retreatment. Soil treatments are not only more difficult to apply; they lose their effectiveness over time. Then a costly retreatment becomes necessary. Unlike soil treatments, Bora-Care is not pumped into the ground and poses no threat to lakes, rivers, aquifers or the environment. Bora-Care can even be used on lakeside homes where soil termiticides may be prohibited. Bora-Care’s active ingredient is a natural mineral salt called Disodium Octaborate Tetrahydrate (DOT), which contains the element boron. Boron is an element on the periodic table that is already present in the environment – not only in the ecosystems outside of your home – but also in many of the products you use inside such as soaps and cosmetics. Boron is also found in many of the vegetables we eat.

https://www.powderpostbeetles.com/bora-care/boracare-safety-around-humans.html

View woodwerk's profile

woodwerk

5 posts in 32 days


#10 posted 09-21-2019 04:18 AM



+1 JCamp – HEAT!

If you don t see the bugs actually eating the wood:
Kiln drying with heat is the only 100% method to kill bug larvae that are dormant in the wood.
Your bugs will just keep waking up, eating, and making more larvae; forever without heat.

Long term fumigation treatment with extended storage in chemical tent can also be used, but those nasty chemicals are for single use contaminated pallet/crate wood entering from a foreign country, not indoor furniture wood.

Build a solar kiln if you can t find a local sawyer willing to treat your lumber.

I hate bugs in wood. Wormy wood is cool. PBB or termite infected wood is not.
If bug contaminated wood is brought into house, they can infect other bare wood and require expensive whole house tent fumigation and heating for many weeks to remove.
Be safe, not sorry.

Best Luck.

- CaptainKlutz

With a few 4×8 insulation sheets I could enclose a part of the shed and make that a kiln perhaps and then heat all the contents. Though it might be a fire hazzard.

This is a cool home made kiln but some people in the comment section have raised concerns about it going up in smoke.


View on YouTube

View woodwerk's profile

woodwerk

5 posts in 32 days


#11 posted 09-21-2019 04:23 AM


When wood is stacked, raised or not over dirt I like to see a barrier to the bugs over the dirt, and under the wood, the riser blocks, and everything you don t want them to nibble on. Concrete is obviously best, but even a doubled over tarp is better than sitting directly over dirt.

As mentioned bark is usually best off, some of the bugs prefer it to the inner wood. I like the raised part to be a series of concrete blocks, the little bastiages will eat through beams, and other wood, and treated stuff must be eyed with suspicion. It must be clearly tagged as ok for ground contact, or it s just a green colored snack for a lot of the bugs.

A kiln will kill all the bugs, and the larva they leave behind. Thing is a lot of kiln owners won t take it. But if you can get it kiln dried, the look of buggy wood scares a lot of folks, but I like it, especially on Early American stuff. Makes it look more authentic.

- therealSteveN


That’s good to know.

The shed base consists of pressure treated 2×4s on end (raised 3.5” off the gravel covered ground) with a 3/4” pressure treated plywood based.

On top of that I have 4×4 pressure treated stickers with normal 2×4 stickers ontop of that. The first layer of silver maple planks sit on the untreated 2×4s.

And beyond that I used 3/4” thick ash hardwood planks that the sawmill guy gave me. So it is raised off the ground a decent amount and I also covered the ground below the shed with a decent amount of gravel during construction.

View ibewjon's profile

ibewjon

1007 posts in 3306 days


#12 posted 09-21-2019 11:10 AM

Kiln drying is a cure for the bugs, BUT if you store
the lumber outside in a damp or wet location, the moisture and insects will return.

View farmfromkansas's profile

farmfromkansas

125 posts in 127 days


#13 posted 09-21-2019 08:29 PM

Seems like maple is a magnet for PPB. Also ash and hackberry. A solar kiln to get the wood hot enough to kill the bugs, and then store the boards in is about your only option, as if you put the boards back in a shed, PPB will get back into them. And about the only time a solar kiln gets hot enough to kill bugs in summer, probably June when the sun is at a low enough angle to really get your kiln hot enough. There is one other option, build a hot box out of thick styrofoam and put light bulbs and a dehumidifier inside the hot box for heat and dehumidifying. The down side is it is easy to cause a fire if you do not monitor it correctly.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com