beetles in outdoor table

I have a pine table someone recently gave me that is on our screened porch. It is stained and polyurethaned. About 3 months after they gave it to me I have found what I think are exit holes. They are about 1/16 inch in diameter. Since I’m inexperienced on the subject, I didn’t suspect that this is what they were at first but now that I do. I also remember finding actual dead beetles next to the table. They were on the big side, best I can recall about 1/2-3/4 inch. The screened porch is adjacent to a deck and on the other side, our living room with hardwood floors (finished), not to mention our house is framed with pine. What should I do to prevent an infestation of our house? Should I get rid of the table immediately so that the emerging adults aren’t here to look for other wood? I appreciate your help.

If you read our POWDERPOST BEETLE ARTICLE, you’ll learn this pest doesn’t like to move from one wood species to another. You’ll also learn they tend to focus on where the original infestation is active. Most likely due to the smells (pheromones) on the active piece, they’ll want to be where other beetles are living and active. That being said, you don’t want to have any piece of infested wood in such close proximity so as I see it, you have a few options.

One is to get rid of the table. This would no doubt take away all inherent risks. Second would be to treat the table. You state it’s urethaned but if you take a moment to look on the bottom side, you may find it unfinished in this area and that’s all you’d need to do a treatment with some BORACARE.

Lastly, you could opt to keep the table and treat the exit holes with PHANTOM as explained in our article. I mention this because there is a good chance the exiting beetles you’re seeing will soon “dry up” and run out and therefore pose no risk. And by treating their exit holes, you’d be securing the table is not being used again.

Personally, if it was my table, I’d treat if I was able to find at least one side that’s not sealed with urethane. And I’d use the Boracare. Now if I couldn’t find an untreated area and the piece was entirely sealed, I’d move the table to my garage or someplace “hot” and humid. I’d treat all exit holes with Phantom and then I’d get some clear “painters drop cloth” and seal the table in plastic as air tight as possible. This would essentially “cook” the piece which in turn would cause the developing stages to succumb to both the lack of air combined with the Phantom making for a deadly environment to any bug inside the wood.

The hot and “more humid” conditions would then cause them to speed up their development which in turn would make them “run out” cycle wise that much faster. Using this process I’d monitor the piece by looking in the plastic once a week to see how many beetles emerge, how frequently the population I see changes, when the activity subsides, etc. My guess is within2-3 months most all the activity will have run it’s course but I’d wait 6-12 months before I brought it back inside depending on when the last bit of activity was noted and how many beetles emerged.

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



Powderpost Beetle Article:

Exit Holes:

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