how to treat wainscoting for powderpost beetles

We have a friend who discovered powderpost beetles in their wainscoting on a plaster wall around their fireplace. The wainscoting is painted. Is there a product to treat/kill the beetles over painted wood? The insect control technician who diagnosed the problem said products to treat/kill the PPDs in the wood such as Boracare wouldn’t be effective since the wood is painted. Tenting the home at approximately $30,000 is not financially feasible for our retired friends. What can they do?

There is no need to tent the home. In all likelihood, this would be massive overkill. In the cases where I’ve dealt with infested wainscoting that was painted, we used one of two treatment options both of which worked fine.

The first method was to remove the wainscoting, treat the back side with BORACARE and then put it back in place. There is a 99.9% chance the back side is untreated and unfinished making it perfect for a Boracare treatment. Any decent handyman can do the removal (without destroying the wood) for a nominal fee and after it’s treated, replace it with little to no damage. After it’s reinstalled, you may need to touch up some of the pieces to make them like there were prior to being removed but this would be minimal.

The second option was used when the pieces of wainscot  were glued to the wall. In this case, pulling them off would break the pieces so instead we opted to drill holes every 6-12 inches and then applied JECTA GEL through the holes. The gel then permeated throughout the wood with the net effect being a complete and thorough application. This process did require more finesse afterward because we had a lot of holes to fill and paint. But once complete and the holes filled, there was no clue anything had been done.

Worth mentioning is the option of simply removing the old and installing new wainscoting. No doubt this can be done. But if they decide to follow this path, have them treat the new wood with Boracare prior to installing it. Wood installed over an area with previous beetle activity is highly likely to develop the same problem so it would be wise to treat and remove this possibility.

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


Jecta Gel:

Powderpost Beetle Article:

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