View Full Version : Beetle or worm holes in wood?

06-24-2004, 06:34 PM
Ive got a few peices of Angelique that have a fair amount of small pin holes in them and a couple of Cedar peices that have just a few slightly larger holes in it. All of this wood was air dried and I am concerned that I may be infesting the nearby lumber with whatever is in there.

What can I do to kill whats eating the wood (if it's even still alive)? And should I be concerned about building with any of this stuff?


06-24-2004, 08:17 PM
I'm surprised that you haven't had a host of replies. My sixpennyworth is yes you should be concerned, I've injected antifreeze into worm holes. But let's wait to see what the more experienced woodworkers come up with.

The Sea Slug
06-24-2004, 08:41 PM
Id guess powder post beetles. Youre going to have to spray your lumber with an insecticide. Id suggest malathion.

Bob Smalser
06-24-2004, 08:52 PM
Beetles and Grubs (Cedar).

If the holes are confined to the sapwood and perhaps barely into the edge of the heartwood, then forget about it and go ahead and use the stock. The critters departed when the stock dried.

If the holes are in the heartwood...use the stock for firewood....outdoors.

No insecticides are 100% reliable. True fumigation is expensive. 133 degrees for 30 minutes will kill them...but the heat needs to penetrate to the core and a solar kiln won't do it. Perhaps steaming. Most folks take the stock back to a commercial kiln to do it.

[ 06-24-2004, 09:55 PM: Message edited by: Bob Smalser ]

The Sea Slug
06-24-2004, 09:23 PM
I've used malathion and it works-mix it stiff and soak the lumber- youll find the beetles dead on the surface within 24 hours.

Bob Smalser
06-24-2004, 10:02 PM
Assuming Lyctid (Powder Post), the worst case.

A malathion splash works fine on the ones it reaches.

You are betting your boat on the ones it doesn't.





[ 06-24-2004, 11:06 PM: Message edited by: Bob Smalser ]

06-25-2004, 11:36 AM
Well, I can't afford to take this stuff to a kiln or pay to have it fumigated. It's only a few board feet anyway. I think the holes in the cedar were limited to one edge of a couple of boards so perhaps they can be cut off. The angerlique may be a lost cause. I think I'll remove the angelique from the garage and try to control what going on with the cedar.

Malathion sounds ok, Ive used it before on the farm. After it's done it's job do I rinse the wood down?

What about Borax? Ive read a few posts that mention using Borax as a insecticide. Sounds less toxic.

[ 06-25-2004, 12:55 PM: Message edited by: dmede ]

06-25-2004, 01:05 PM
I would read this page: web page (http://www.angelfire.com/nc3/davecarnell/rot.html)

The chemist is a big fan of anti-freeze for killing rot and critters. I haven't tried it yet but I plan to.


Bob Smalser
06-25-2004, 02:02 PM
The cedar sounds OK if the holes are in the sapwood or on the very edge of the heartwood. If they are larger holes than you've seen in old furniture or barn beams...and radiate out from the heart...they are likely Carpenter Ants...common in WRC...and absolutely no impediment to use. I fill the holes with thickened epoxy.


But as I said...the killing stuff needs to penetrate to 100% of the wood. 100%.

I'm sure The Chemist kows his field well, but so do the wood industry pros I posted above...if you believe dumping antifreeze on it or soaking a dense wood in borax comes anywhere close to that 100% standard, you are wrong, and are gambling the value of your project against the value of a few BF.

Good luck.

[ 06-25-2004, 03:20 PM: Message edited by: Bob Smalser ]

Frank Wentzel
06-25-2004, 05:05 PM

If it is only a few board feet of stock you can fumigate it with lacquer thinner or VM&P naphtha. Make a plastic bag from 6 mil polyethylene (visqueen), put your lumber in it and just before you close the bag douse the wood with a half cup of lacquer thinner. Seal the bag and wait a week then open the bag and air out the wood. The vapor will have killed the beetle larvae. Note don't do this in the house or shop. The lacquer thinner is extremely flammable.

/// Frank ///

06-25-2004, 09:17 PM
Leave the bugs alone. More authentic. :D

I have a house full of powder post beatle holes :rolleyes: .

David Stimson
06-26-2004, 09:11 AM
I have used thousands of board feet od angelique in the past 5 years, and most of it has had bug holes in the sapwood. It is nothing to be concerned about. The heartwood gives the bugs tummy aches, so they stop when they get there. The bug holes are actually quite handy, because they give a clear indication of where the sapwood ends. I'm pretty sure that the larger holes in the cedar are unrelated. I'd be more concerned about these, since the bugs are more likely to be alive and kicking. The angelique is fumigated before it arrives in the US.

The Sea Slug
06-26-2004, 10:51 AM
I have a house full of powder post beatle holes Has it sunk yet? :D

06-26-2004, 12:44 PM
Fitz - "beatle holes".

I trust they sing nicely?

Tony (attempted smilie gremlin failed. smile.gif What am I doing wrong?!)

[ 06-26-2004, 01:52 PM: Message edited by: Tonyr ]

06-26-2004, 08:14 PM
The Other beetle....
Oops, caught me there. Isn't that

06-27-2004, 06:43 PM
OK, I would never allow my boat to suffer from this, but how to fix it?????????? Here's one idea.

I have learned, by way of my front porch, that carpenter ants (and I don't think you have them) are attracked to Olympic stain. Simply, lay the lid wrong side up next to your wood pile, and watch the critters die. You will have a couple hundred deceased ants over-night. Is that enough to eliminate an infestation? I don't know for sure, but the porch is still standing.

06-28-2004, 10:59 AM
Well, I probed the larger holes in the cedar (most of them) and came up with nothing more than dust. So hopfully they are all vaccant. Doesn't much matter, the portion with holes in narrow and can be cut off.

I checked the Angelique holes and also nothing axcept that some of the holes appeared to have a white spongy substance in the opening. Like web but thicker. Might have been mold but it was only in the holes. Anyway, when I got back in the house just after going over the Angelique I found a small beetle on my arm. Never seen this type of bug around the house or shop before so I'm thinking he might be whats in my wood. So I quickly removed all the angelique with holes. Probably going to be firewood (unless it's toxic?).

Bob Smalser
06-28-2004, 01:58 PM
The material you are digging out of there is the fungus the female beetle introduced when she bored the hole...the fungus feeds the larvae.

Sounds like Ambrosia beetles to me...dozens of species of them...confined to sapwood only....and not a problem.

When the heartwood looks like this...you have a problem: