Do They Cause Damage?
Next to Termites, no other pest causes more structural damage than Powder Post Beetles (PPB). Damage appears as small, round holes in the wood surface. Holes are 1/32″-1/16″ in diameter and May gave a fine, powder-like material (called frass) streaming from them.
Do I Have An Infestation?
The first indication of a problem with PPB is finding small piles of a very fine, flour-like frass on horizontal surfaces which are located below where the PPB are emerging. Their emergence holes in the wood will appear as small, round holes in the wood about 1/16” in diameter. The frass can often be seen streaming from the holes is areas with current activity.
What Can Masters Touch Do?
Smaller localized infestations of PPB can be treated with liquid Borate solutions that kill larva as they feed near the wood surface and adults as they emerge. These treatments can only be applied to accessible unfinished/unpainted/unsealed wood surfaces. Infestations that are widespread or in wood that cannot be treated with a Borate should be fumigated for optimum control.
How Can You Help?
PPB infestations need a certain amount of wood moisture content (higher than 13%) to re-infest and thrive. Reducing wood moisture by repairing leaks and installing properly sized and functioning dehumidifiers can help to bring moisture levels down to unappealing levels for the beetles.
PPB infestations start small and build over years or even decades. The female lays her eggs in cracks in the wood, the eggs hatch and the larva can spend 1-3 or more years tunneling (feeding) through the wood prior to pupating near the surface and eventually emerging as an adult beetle. Most infestations occur in the substructure wood in crawl spaces and basements. Sometime they can emerge from hardwood floors, furniture and cabinets several years after these have been installed in the home, in these cases, re-infestation is unlikely.