bug damage to wood


I have a 70 yr old home with original wood floors.  I live in central FL.  Recently I have noticed long marks that look like deep scratches.  Some of them are quite deep and about 1/8 – 1/4 inch wide and 3 or 4 inches long. In certain areas the damage is getting worse pretty fast.   I have lived here for 8 years and this has just been going on for about 6 months.  I have dogs and thought at first that their nails were damaging the floor.
I have asked my termite place about it but have not gotten a satisfactory answer.
Any and all suggestions for what it can be and how to treat it will be accepted.

It will be hard for me to tell for sure just what is going on here without more information or actually seeing the problem. I have been dealing with this kind of “activity” for over 30 years so I’ve seen a wide range of reasons why or what could be involved. For starters, is the structure a slab home or basement/crawl space structure? More importantly, is the wood flooring resting on a concrete slab or on floor joists?

Also, has the house been treated recently for termites or powderpost beetles? And though you say “this has just been going on for about 6 months”, is it possible you didn’t notice the damage before?

As I stated above, it’s quite hard to determine what could be causing this problem without a good physical inspection. If you forward some pictures, I might be able to notice something I’ve seen before that could help narrow the choices. But for the sake of helping you understand what’s going on, here are some options.

1) It could be old damage. I’ve seen galleries and other wood damage “hold up” for many years and in some cases not for 10 or more years start to show the true extent of what happened so long ago. Is it possible or does it look like this new damage is something that could have been cosmetically altered some 10-20 years ago and is only now coming apart?

2) If the wood is laying on a concrete slab, you could have termites. They almost always bring in mud and moisture and either would be obvious in the damage you’re now seeing. Can you tell if eitehr is present?

3) There are some species of wood boring beetles which lay quiet and somewhat dormant for long periods or time. But based on the home being 70 years old, if there was such an infestation I’m sure one of the “cycles” would have matured several years ago after you first moved in. For it to go this long without you noticing anything lends me to believe it’s either old damage or something new.

4) Have you discovered any type of live or dead bug throughout the home? I would inspect by windows and lights or against the wall somewhere. Pay particular attention if you find more than one of something.

In summary, if you supply me with more information, I might be able to do a better “long distance” assessment. Alternatively, you could give us a call. Before you do, I suggest you read our online POWDER POST BEETLE CONTROL article which explains how different infestations are handled in the home. The section on wood flooring would pertain to you for sure.


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