Kill bugs on concrete shop floor?

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Forum topic by btarb24 posted 09-04-2014 02:00 PM 1834 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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12 posts in 1982 days

09-04-2014 02:00 PM

I discovered what appear to be powder post beetles in my basement workshop. I’m going to pull all of the wood out and heat to 150F before bringing it back into the shop, though i’m concerned about any bugs that may remain on the shop floor during this process. It’s a basement with concrete walls, so i’m mostly concerned about the floor rather than the walls.

I was thinking about mopping the floor with bleach or denatured alcohol to try to kill them. Does anyone have any experience with this or have a better idea? While they aren’t allowed in the basement, we do have cats. I’d prefer to use a treatment that will not leave a harmful residue on their paws if they were to get down there.

16 replies so far

View powlusr's profile


8 posts in 1840 days

#1 posted 09-04-2014 02:21 PM

I remember reading once that they are species specific. If they came in with cherry, they’ll be looking for more cherry, and not the pine in your walls. They also prefer wood with bark.

Keep an eye out for small piles of sawdust under any wood.

I would think bleach would kill them, but I recall reading there are chemicals sold specifically for killing them. I would not think they could survive on your floor (just vacuum well?).

-- Robin - The Poconos

View btarb24's profile


12 posts in 1982 days

#2 posted 09-04-2014 02:38 PM

To chemically combat infestations in wood people will often use a borate substance such as TimBor or BoraCare. Both are reported to work great, but they do not kill the eggs. Rather, they just kill the beetles when they ingest the chemical as they attempt to bore back out of the wood (up to years later). Those treatments work best while the wood is still green or has a high moisture content as the wood moisture helps to bring the chemical deeper into the wood.

Heating the wood to an internal temperature of around 130F for a couple hours will kill all stages of the bugs including their eggs.

The infantile bugs are incredibly tiny (maybe 1mm long). The couple times i’ve come across them it’s basically just watching little specs moving around. If i vacuum them up then they’ll likely just get themselves all throughout the vacuum.

I’m leaning toward mopping with bleach and then setting off some type of bug bomb in the basement. I’m not quite sure what type of bug bomb to use yet though.

I’m really hoping to come across someone that has dealt with this situation before. It seems most reports of powder post bugs are dealt with by only treating the wood and not its surrounding area.

View Redoak49's profile


4137 posts in 2466 days

#3 posted 09-04-2014 02:41 PM

I would be very careful using either bleach or alcohol. That much bleach could have toxic fumes and you do not want to breath the chlorine. Second, the alcohol may result in an explosive air mixture in the basement.

I would clean the floor to make certain that there are none there (I assume is it a concrete floor). They live in the wood and that is where you should look such as the rafters or joist. If you find any there, it may be worthwhile getting a professional before you have structural damage to the house.

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3448 days

#4 posted 09-04-2014 03:15 PM

A large area of denatured alcohol, even if dilluted, would present an explosive atmosphere under your house.
Let me know if this is what you plan to do so I can come watch the house raising.

Call an exterminator and get their recommendation. They should know what works and what doesn’t and if you pay them for their treatment they would be responsible, and liable, for any future damage.

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 3168 days

#5 posted 09-05-2014 12:09 AM

I have set of those bug bombs in my shop for years with no problems. I use the Raid brand bombs and they are relatively non toxic (except to bugs). Anything with pyrethrin or synthetic pyrethrin is safe to use indoors. Just follow the directions on the container.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View SuperCubber's profile


1080 posts in 2762 days

#6 posted 09-05-2014 02:51 AM

Check this link out:

Then this one (I do my own pest control with this stuff.):

Bbifenthrin is comparable to permethrin, just a different chemical. They will both kill powder post beetles.

-- Joe | Spartanburg, SC | "To give anything less than your best is to sacrafice the gift." - Steve Prefontaine

View btarb24's profile


12 posts in 1982 days

#7 posted 09-05-2014 11:32 AM

Good call on the alcohol. I hadn’t considered the effects of using such a large quantity.

Permethrin and bifenthrin sound excellent against the bugs and are safe for humans, but they appear to be fatally toxic for cats: Some other sources say that as long as the cat doesn’t get near it while it’s still wet then all is well. I’ll research some more and call a couple exterminators to check their experience.

I tried to take video and picture of them tonight. They’re fairly hard to find and they seem to avoid the light. I flipped over a handful of 12’ boards and only saw them a few times. I’ve found them on oak, cherry, walnut, and pine plywood. My friend bought over some ash lumber a couple months ago that had these little bugs all over them. It was only in the shop about 10 or so minutes until i noticed and we removed them. His boards also had some larger black bugs on it that google images likened to powder post beetles. I’m far from an insect master so i’m not quite sure what these little white ones are.

video to show their movement pattern. [Turn on 1080p and Watch this in full screen]

and here’s an image to show their scale against a 1.3mm pencil lead. The ones i’ve discovered appear to range in size between .5mm and 1.25mm.

and here are a couple extreme closeups i grabbed from the video.

I’m starting to doubt that they’re powder post beetles.. since they start off as a worm-like larva, right? Anyone have any clue what these bugs are? Are they benign or should i continue with an extermination effort? I live in Pittsburgh, PA.

...sorry for the large pictures. I couldn’t see how to have them show up as a clickable thumbnail.

View Adam Baird's profile

Adam Baird

67 posts in 2597 days

#8 posted 09-05-2014 11:51 AM

Getting rid of the bugs and the cat all in one fell swoop? Permethrin sounds like a winner to me.

-- Adam from Indiana -

View SuperCubber's profile


1080 posts in 2762 days

#9 posted 09-05-2014 12:40 PM

I have used permethrin for years with 2 cats. As long as it’s dry, they will be fine. Just keep them out of the basement until then.

-- Joe | Spartanburg, SC | "To give anything less than your best is to sacrafice the gift." - Steve Prefontaine

View SuperCubber's profile


1080 posts in 2762 days

#10 posted 09-05-2014 12:44 PM

In those pictures, they look like they may be Springtails. Have you ever seen or heard of them? I see them from time to time around my shop/house. They usually find damp areas to hang out.

-- Joe | Spartanburg, SC | "To give anything less than your best is to sacrafice the gift." - Steve Prefontaine

View btarb24's profile


12 posts in 1982 days

#11 posted 09-05-2014 01:03 PM

I’ve never heard of springtails, but i just went and did some quick googling on them. It appears there are several types but they do come in that small clear/white appearance like my mystery bug. Though, I don’t think they’re what i have as they’re reported to like damp areas and move on if it dries out.. my basement never gets moisture and always has a dehumidifier running – it’s very dry down there. It’s also reported that the sprintails jump around via their tail.. but the ones i have always seem content on just walking around – haven’t witnessed one jump yet. It’s a possibility that i’ll keep in mind though.

View btarb24's profile


12 posts in 1982 days

#12 posted 09-05-2014 02:43 PM

Anyone have knowledge of booklice? They appear to be very similar in appearance to what i’m seeing in the shop.

View EPJartisan's profile


1122 posts in 3603 days

#13 posted 09-05-2014 06:54 PM

I use EcoSmart organic insecticide. It is non-toxic to humans and pet /animals… but deadly to insects. I bring wood into my studio all the time and have learned to control bugs and mold. The EcoSmart does not stain my wood, nor prohibit finishes in any way I have found so far. About once a month I check my wood stacks for small piles of dust from bugs… pull and inspect everything… then dust and spray my whole stock with the insecticide and since it is mostly mint extracts.. it smells awesome.

-- " 'Truth' is like a beautiful flower, unique to each plant and to the season it blossoms ... 'Fact' is the root and leaf, allowing the plant grow and bloom again."

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 4063 days

#14 posted 09-05-2014 08:20 PM

There are many new types of infestation sovers which are really ecellent .I have always used kerosene-parraffin in the uk it is very good but don’t smoke when your working with itLOL Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View adaughhetee's profile


104 posts in 3161 days

#15 posted 09-05-2014 09:38 PM

Google “diatomaceous earth” It is amazing at killing fleas and they even make food grade to put in cat and dog food for worms. It is also used it water filtering. here’s a Google search that may help. Just wear a dust mask it is very irritating when airborne.

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