i have a new build which contains mainly softwood decor (skirtings, archetrieve staircase ect.) and some oak furniture, however ash tongue and groove doors which i purchased appear to be infested with powder post beetles. i have found both the ‘grubs’ and beetles present. as the rest of the house construction and furniture is of a different type of wood, would you recommend ignoring the problem? all doors have been waxed so this limits the treatment available to me, any advice would be most appreciated.
As a general rule, we don’t ever recommend ignoring an active wood boring beetle infestation. The ramifications could be quite costly. As you realize, these beetles are feeding on and damaging your ash doors. Additionally, adults are no doubt leaving on a regular basis which in turn can pose a hazard to neighboring wood both inside and outside the home.
If you read through our POWDERPOST BEETLE CONTROL ARTICLE, you’ll learn there are thousands of wood destroying beetles throughout the world. More importantly, many of them can cross feed. And even if you are 100% sure of the identity of the species you have active, there is no way to tell what it might decide to feed on should it’s “normal” choice of wood be limited or removed. No doubt most “prefer” certain wood but can they cross feed to survive? Probably. And once this possibility becomes apparent, the prospect of allowing an active infestation to continue on and on without some kind of intervention will seem illogical at best.
With this new information I think you might want to consider a few options. The following are the ones I thought of which may or may not provide some peace of mind regarding the activity you’ve identified.
1) Replace the infested doors. If the new doors are wood, treat them with BORACARE to insure they too aren’t a problem.
2) Strip and treat the doors you have with Boracare. This would both control and eliminate the problem altogether.
3) Do nothing. This would allow the current infestation to continue to degrade your doors and it will also present the live beetles a chance of relocating.
4) Treat all the surrounding exposed wood before it’s finished including the doors with Borcare. This would both kill and prevent any termites or wood destroying beetles from living in the wood you treat.
On a side note; I’d consider treating any wood products received from the company that supplied you with the infested doors. Experience has shown me when a supplier has a problem with one species of wood, there is a higher than normal chance he’ll have a problem with other wood products.
In summary, my advice is for you to choose an option which gives you peace of mind and will be one you can live with happily. It’s tough for me to make that decision for you but the options I have listed above should enable you to figure out what you need to do to get comfortable with the problem. It’s interesting to note that in over 30 years of dealing with these problems I have seen people with a wide range of what they consider to be “resolutions”. Remember, the goal here is to acquire “peace of mind” regarding the wood destroying beetle infestation you’ve identified. Some people are content doing nothing, some want all their exposed wood treated, some will opt to do a little treating and then others will insist on removing anything with evidence of activity and to then start anew. Due to this wide “resolution range” I’ve seen people willing to accept, I’ve learned the best approach is to offer options and then let you, the homeowner, make the final decision. Hopefully I’ve provided enough information so you can proceed accordingly.
Here are direct links to the information and products mentioned above: