Besides, termites, wood-boring beetles also destroy wood in homes. The amount of damage likely to be caused by the beetles mostly depends on the type of wood, amount of moisture in the wood and the environmental conditions at the site of infestation. These factors influence the severity of the damage caused.
Types of Wood Borers
1. Lyctid Powderpost Beetles
The adults are in the size of ¼ to 1/8 inches long. Some are reddish- brown while some black. They are slender. These kinds of beetles infest the hardwoods only; like the oak. They can dwell in woods with various moisture ranges; from 8% to 32%. The larvae are the ones that cause damage to wood. The female beetles lay in crevices or at board ends. As they are hatched, the larvae get underneath the wood, where they grow into adults. The adults then cut holes on the wood surfaces. Powdery wood dust is removed as the beetles’ feed.
2. Anobiid Powderpost Beetles
They exist in almost 200 kinds and are commonly found in homes. Those that infest woods are known as the powderpost beetles. They can be 1/8 to 1/4 inch long and are reddish-brown or black in color. These beetles infest both softwoods and hardwoods. The larvae are the wood feeders and prefer the woods in cool regions with moisture content of 15% and above.
3. Bostrichid Powderpost Beetles
They are also known as bamboo borers. Their color ranges from reddish brown to black. They are 1/8 to ¼ inch in size with heads directed downwards. Typically, they cause less damage compared to the anobiid or lyctid. Most of them attack fresh hardwoods and rarely do they attack softwoods. Unlike the other beetles, wood damage is caused by both the larvae and the adults. The female bore tunnels of eggs in the wood and after the larvae are hatched, they feed on the wood.
The wood-boring beetles undergo a complete metamorphosis: egg, larva, pupa and adult. The eggs and pupa don’t feed; the larvae are the principle wood attackers while in some species, adults also feed on the wood. The life-cycle length varies among species.
Just as their name suggests, wood-borers feed on wood and cause great damage on the woods. They depend on wood for growth. They rampage wood structures as well as furniture.
i) Spot Treatments:- For wood-borers infestation, spot treatments can be applied. These may be controlling the moisture content in the wood, mechanical removal, use of surface covers, freezing and chemical treatments.
ii) Moisture Removal:- Moisture problems affect the crawl spaces. The crawl spaces ought to have vapor barriers and well ventilated. Plastic sheets can be used to cover the spaces and prevent them from becoming too moist. Surface covers like water sealants and paints protect wood from moisture and hinder the beetles from getting into the wood.
iii) Surface Treatments:- This method does not remove the beetles already in the wood. If the infestation is on a few lumber pieces or if it is possible to remove the lumber, a good control strategy would be to replace the wood.
iv) Freezing:- Freezing temperatures can be used to kill the beetles on a small furniture infestation. A large freezer can be very effective. The wood to be frozen is wrapped with a plastic then frozen for 2 weeks. On removal, do not unwrap until the wood is at room temperature so that it won’t have water marks from condensation.
v) Insecticides:- The use of insecticides is restricted to be used by qualified operators. Prior to the application, remove the surface coverings like paint for the insecticide to go through the wood. Ensure the labeled instructions on the insecticides are followed.
This can be done in instances where spot treatments have failed. As the fumigants penetrate; they kill the beetles throughout the wood. Though, this doesn’t prevent future infestation.
The importance of getting pest control done by professionals
Having pest control done by homeowners include risks of inappropriate methods used and poor control measures. It is, therefore, advisable to have pest control done by qualified operators since they’ll use proper and safe methods. Often home users misappropriate the use of insecticides thus need experts’ support. Furthermore, qualified pest control operators have a wide variety of insecticides and equipment to be used.
Signs of Wood Borer Infestation
- Wood borers can be noticed through the fresh exit holes they make in timber. The holes are round, oval in shape and with sharp edges. The holes always seem fresh.
- Wood tunnels are a clear indication of the presence of wood borers. These tunnels are made as they feed on the wood.
- Bore dust is debris coming from the wood as the beetles exit the wood. This can be noticed beneath the timber infested.
- Weak floor boards indicate they are being fed by wood borers. A chair leg seen to be going through the floor reveal serious infestation.
- When woods seem to crumble along the roof corners or edges, this marks the presence of wood borers.