ant removal

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Forum topic by Dadobird posted 12-30-2014 03:54 PM 1381 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3 posts in 2208 days

12-30-2014 03:54 PM

hey y’all. first post here. i’m new to the site.

For a Christmas present for my wife I built a interior bench out of a locust log. The top is 4” thick x 15” wide x 7’ long. I used shellac for the finish. It turned out great, but I apparently have some carpenter ants living in it. I’ve only seen them a couple times- the main sign of their presence is the small- but growing- pile of “bench dust” on the bottom shelf. I put out a bait/trap/poison thingy, but since they’re staying up in the wood this doesn’t seem to be the best kill method. I suppose i need a spray or a dust that will somehow, hopefully reach them. Any ideas how i can get rid of these bench eaters??


13 replies so far

View Randy_ATX's profile


881 posts in 3407 days

#1 posted 12-30-2014 04:11 PM

Google “powderpost beetles”. Likely they are causing the dust you are seeing. You may have them in addition to the ants. The only sure way to kill the insect problem is with heat. Search “killing powder post beetles with heat”. They have a larva lifecyle so the inside of the lumber needs to reach a certain temp for a certain amount of time. I forgot the specifics but it is around 120 degrees for 2 hours (internal temp) so ambient outside temp would need to be higher.

I had to do this very thing. I have a small solar kiln which I modifed and carefully monitored while directing a forced air kerosene heater’s output into for a few hours. Worked perfectly. Watch it and monitor temps carefully if you attempt something similar.

-- Randy -- Austin, TX by way of Northwest (Woodville), OH

View ColonelTravis's profile


1976 posts in 2859 days

#2 posted 12-30-2014 06:02 PM

Just going by what you’ve typed, and not seeing these sawdust piles or the holes or actual bugs, I’m thinking like Randy. I’ve got to deal with these beetles a lot. Only way I’ve gotten rid of them is a kiln, or slicing off the infested parts and throwing it in the fireplace. I heated up an 8 foot slab once in a back yard kiln, but it took almost a full day and night to get it to the right temp, plus hold it to about 135 for hours. It’s easier with smaller pieces, just throw them in the oven. You’re obviously past that stage.

After they’ve been discovered in furniture I think your best bet is to call an exterminator.

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 3655 days

#3 posted 12-31-2014 02:04 AM

Yep, Ants will leave as soon as the wood dries. Sounds like a PP Beetle problem.

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

View watermark's profile


484 posts in 2908 days

#4 posted 12-31-2014 07:31 AM

Try a local exterminator to see if you can have it treated. There is a company here that mostly tents houses for termites but they will treat furniture or trailer loads of wood if you take it to their base yard. Good luck

-- "He who has no dog, hunts with a cat" Portuguese proverb

View rantingrich's profile


372 posts in 2310 days

#5 posted 12-31-2014 08:03 AM

-- Rich

View Dadobird's profile


3 posts in 2208 days

#6 posted 12-31-2014 01:53 PM

that anteater looks a bit scary! I wish I had one though. Ok, looks like I need to call the local bug guy. Can do. What about freezing temps? If i leave the bench outside for a few days when it’s really cold would that kill the boogers?
thanks again,

View Moron's profile


5048 posts in 4858 days

#7 posted 12-31-2014 02:50 PM

I would take it outside just to be safe. Exterminating a nasty bug in a piece of furniture has its own challenges but doing a whole house once the pest gets a foothold, is an expensive and long ordeal.

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 3655 days

#8 posted 12-31-2014 03:01 PM

Freezing PP Beetles didn’t work for me.

I put my infested chair in a plastic “tent” and set off a bug bomb. Wasn’t supposed to work but it did. Used a RAID bug bomb and left it in the tent for 2 days.

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

View Dadobird's profile


3 posts in 2208 days

#9 posted 12-31-2014 04:31 PM

what finish had you used on your chair? did the bomb affect it?

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 3655 days

#10 posted 12-31-2014 09:02 PM

I had sprayed several coats of Helmsman Spar Urethane (which the little bastards chewed right through). The bombing did not have any effect on the finish at all.

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

View Tennessee's profile


2901 posts in 3479 days

#11 posted 12-31-2014 09:08 PM

When I refinished I had more than my share of powder post beetles. Also ran into them when I had huge loads of very old oak that I used for reproductions. In all cases, if I could not generate enough heat, or cut the offending areas off, I threw away the wood.

To me, getting rid of the offending insects by eating some wood was much cheaper than contaminating my wood room, or someone else’s house. I do remember buying a jewelry box for my wife years back, and after a day it had a tiny dust pile below it. I shipped it back immediately.

And more recently, (about two years ago), I bought a load of walnut from a guy who threw in some really nice pecan he did not want. Unfortunately, the pecan dusted my bench, so to the end of the road it went…

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View OldRocker's profile


46 posts in 2437 days

#12 posted 01-01-2015 02:09 AM

Doesn’t sound like ants. Ants don’t eat wood. They bore in it and if there is no moisture, they won’t be there. But, just in case you want to try . . . . I used RAID Ant Killer. Go Figure.

-- ....And on the seventh day the Lord created the Les Paul...and it was good.

View steve104c's profile


52 posts in 2203 days

#13 posted 01-04-2015 09:35 PM

Tiny eviction notices probably wouldn’t work? Too much paper work!.

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