exit holes in mahogany table

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In March 2010 noticed “shot holes” on top of Duncan Phyffe mahogany dining table that weren’t there in February.  New windows installed in our 37 yr old home March 1 & 2 on cold AND HUMID days.  Purchased Bora Care mid March but haven’t applied it yet.  More holes discovered on plywood chair bottoms and matching buffet.  Did moisture prompt dormant larvae to mature to adulthood? Are adults a threat to structure of home and other furniture (new or old)?  Can applying Bora Care drive live adults out into our home?  Which prompts the concern about where to treat furniture.  Garage has raw radiata lumber we don’t want infested yet lots of rain/humidity in Mobile, AL means outside on deck (pretty rotten wood that could be infested during treatment) is a risky place for my antique furniture.  Can we feel safe about doing treatment indoors in a room with ceramic tile lined with plastic that has no other furniture besides cabinets to apply Bora Care?  Will it be safe re: fumes for my 4 and 6 yr old to inhale if inside?
New interior doors, base and crown moulding has been installed to home since purchasing in May 2008 but no exit holes found. No exit holes in new furniture.  Was old furniture the source of infestation?  Is treatment of all raw sides of furniture necessary?  Filling and refinishing holes is my preference right?  Weighing out the value of time to be invested in pieces which need a lot of work.

First, it’s important to understand the impact of “humidity” and moisture relative to powderpost beetles. In general, the reduction of moisture can reduce and in some cases eliminate infestations. But this is rare. To illustrate this point, we have had plenty of customers move west to the dessert. As you know, this region is about as arid as it can be. One would think infested furniture brought to this region would somehow be “cured” of any beetle infestation if the lack of moisture was important. Well, turns out it didn’t matter much. Furniture which was infested remained infested. There was no discernable difference following the move and in the end, treatments were needed to eradicate the beetle problem. The point I’m trying to make here is that the reduction or increase in moisture won’t much matter in the short term if you have a piece which is infested or showing signs of activity. In fact, it won’t much affect eggs or pupae. Larvae deep inside infested wood won’t be affected by it and in the end, the biggest impact felt by changing moisture levels will probably be the emerging adults. No doubt they do better when it’s moist and humid. They’ll live longer and therefore stand a better chance of both surviving poor living conditions as well as laying more eggs. But as our POWDERPOST BEETLE ARTICLE explains, the adults don’t do any damage so they shouldn’t be the focus of your treatments anyway. To solve any beetle problem you need to get stop the eggs and larvae.

As for the adults posing a threat to other parts of the home and/or furniture in the home; this is always a concern and the main reason why you need to treat current infestations. Stopping larvae from feeding and pupating means there will be an end to the adults and that in of itself will prevent the problem from spreading.

I’m not sure of your question “Can applying Bora Care drive live adults out into our home?”; whether you treat or not won’t affect when pupae are ready to hatch and exit. In other words, they’ll do so whether you treat or not. And yes, you can most definitely feel safe about using BORACARE anywhere in the home. It’s about as “green” of a product you can find using only boron as the active. If you follow the safety guidelines explained in our Safety Video which is on the Boracare page, you’ll be fine using in these areas. It has no odor, is easy to work with once mixed and it’s presence won’t be detectable once applied to any wood which accepts the treatment.

As for what was the source of the infestation; that’s anyone’s guess.  I strongly suspect the mahogany table had them from the time you first got it. As our article explains, it’s quite common for some species of beetles to not emerge for years but this is all dependent upon their species life cycle. Personally, my “preference” for hardwood floors or furniture with exit holes is to leave them since I like the look. I also feel it adds character to the material since it’s only natural to have them as they would in the wild. Plugging and filling it with something to me takes away from the wood but this is obviously a personal decision.

In the end our suggestions are what we explain in our article; treat the lumber/wood/furniture/structure you know is infested. Similar wood in the home should be closely monitored since adults will be looking for a good site to lay eggs and will generally tend to choose wood of the same species if available. Treat anything you can that’s exposed and vulnerable and keep a look out for new exit holes anywhere in the home.

Here are direct links to the information and products listed above:

Powder Post Beetle Control Article:  http://www.powderpostbeetles.com/powderpost-beetle-control

Boracare:  http://www.bugspray.com/catalog/products/page52.html

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