I have a remodeled home in Atlanta, Ga. I recently noticed gold colored dust piles beneath my white wood beams on my porch. I don’t seen any holes or signs of wood damage but I guess they must be under the wood beam where I see the piles of fine dust material. I did see a bug that looked like the pictures of the powder post beetle. How to I prevent this wood damage from spreading? Does this sound like powderpost beetle damage? Thanks for your reply. L.
First, what color is the wood where you’re finding the dust? In most cases, the color of the dust will match the wood color stain.
Second, is the dust really fine like talc powder? This is a sure sign of powder post beetles. Other wood boring pests will generate a coarse powder which can be fibrous and more like wood shavings that you’d see from a saw when cutting lumber for building. This is commonly seen when CARPENTER ANTS are active. Additionally, CARPENTER BEES will generate a fine powder and almost wet filing from their drilling depending on the wood which is being damaged.
Third, you really need to look for some holes and/or live insects to help identify just what’s active. Carpenter ants would almost surely be visible at some point in the day or evening if they were around. And the same is true for Carpenter Bees. Both these pests actively chew through the wood generating frass and sawdust as they build their nests. However, Powderpost beetles are quite different.
If you take a little time to review our POWDERPOST BEETLE CONTROL ARTICLE, you’ll learn the dust you’re finding would be from pupae as they’re leaving nests and tunnels they bored when they were still larvae. They do this as they feed and after they get their fill, they’ll molt into adults and eventually emerge looking to start new nests. It’s when they’re emerging that all the dust is created and in fact the dust is a sure sign of them leaving and not a sign of them entering.
Our article also explains how to treat such a problem and in most cases a good treatment with BORACARE will be needed. This could involve preparing the wood for the treatment and it could also involve treating a lot more than where you only see activity. At this point it’s too early for me to say. However, I know you need to find out just what’s active at this time. So for now, focus your attention on finding this out. Look for holes and any insect activity as this would all be clues as to what’s active in the wood. Once you learn the species of insect involved, we’ll be better able to further advise. At that time you can send me another question or give us a call at 770-985-9392 to discuss your options.
Here are direct links to the information and products listed above:
Carpenter Ant Site: http://www.carpenterants.com/carpenter-ants
Carpenter Bee Site: http://www.carpenterbees.com/carpenter-bee-control
Powder Post Beetle Control: http://www.powderpostbeetles.com/powderpost-beetle-control