whether to treat or replace flooring
I have been reading about these things and talking to some professionals..I am extremely confused with all this info. I know I have active infestation in my living room, the most recent room we put in hardwood (red oak)…it has concrete under it and no basement for that addition. I understand that the larvae need moisture to survive as well, so we have put our dehumidifier out and tried to dry up the moisture.
Our range in opinions goes from extreme—tear out the floors, to strip the floors and treat with boracare, to let the beetles life cycle expire and don’t do anything.
We are seeing significantly fewer holes now, only a couple a day, but it is not in a located spot.
Our living room is about 400 sq. ft, but the rest of our house is the same exact wood—with little to no damage in it.
What is your opinion? Can we just go witht he compromise and do surface treatment on the cracks and existing holes with a product that contains borax or do we choose a different route?
First, there is no need to be “confused” by all the answers you’ve been getting. There is no “correct” or “right” answer since no one knows for sure if you have a population that will remain active or die out. The various options being offered are in fact viable choices based on this limited measurement we all must make since we cannot see “into” the wood and accurately measure the level of insects you might have living there. What’s most important is that you choose an option you understand and are comfortable with regarding the possible outcomes based on that course of action.
Second, if you read our POWDERPOST BEETLE CONTROL ARTICLE, you’ll learn it’s very common for hardwood floors to both harbor and release beetles after being installed. Does this mean the population will die off? Not every time. Does it mean you should rip out the flooring and replace it? Probably not. But these are decisions you must make and not someone else. Are you able to make any decision without fully understanding the powderpost beetle and it’s life cycle? Probably not. Would all the options sound confusing? Most definitely! And I suspect the confusion is enhanced because in the end you must make a direct decision and for most people this is a tough thing to do even when they know what’s right!
But getting back to powderpost beetles; only when you fully understand the life cycle of this pest, making any kind of decision will be a gamble. In the long run, it would be best if you took a little time to learn just what’s happening and what could happen should you follow any of the multiple “options” being offered to resolve the infestation. So to help with your decision making process, I’ve created a list of options along with what their respective outcomes below. Hopefully this list will enable you to make a decision based on information you have collected and not on what someone else is recommending.
Option 1: do nothing. This is probably what the vast amount of people do when first confronted with this kind of problem. The risk is the infestation could spread or it could cause enough damage to where the flooring has to be replaced due to the magnitude of rot. Addtionally, there will be a constant uneasiness due which is what most people feel when “not doing anything” for a problem they know exists. In the end, either the infestation will run it’s course and disappear or it will continue on and on. The big point here is no one can say for certain what will happen.
Option 2: minimally treat. This option is commonly done as well. Treating existing holes will protect the area and prevent it from being used over and over by beetles which are seeking new nest sites. But as our article explains, the BAYGON AEROSOL isn’t a long term protection nor will it reach deep into the wood where more damage would be happening if there are more larvae in the wood. In the end, the infestation will either continue or run out much like the results from choosing option 1.
Option 3: strip the floor and treat with BORACARE. This would effectively kill off the population, protect the wood from further insect and mold infestations as well as provide peace of mind. Laying wood floors down over concrete is risky at best; anytime you put wood in close proximity to soil and moisture bad things can happen. If you opt to treat with Boracare, the problem would be resolved once and for all and for some people, this peace of mind is worth the cost, time and effort.
Option 4: ripping out the old flooring and installing new flooring. Funny thing about this option is that it doesn’t take care of any new insect infestation that might be present in the hardwood being installed. So to safeguard the new flooring, it would a wise investment to treat the new wood just to be sure you don’t have active insects and that no new ones find their way into the new food. Not treating would be like option 1; not doing anything. If chosen, you might be happy with the new floors but if just one beetle was to emerge at some point, you would become quite unhappy and effectively be back to square one.
In summary, the option you choose should be based on what you’re comfortable with knowing the course of action and the possible results of each choice. Having been in the industry for over 30 years, I can say with confidence we all have different requirements to obtain what I call “peace of mind”. To learn what it is that might provide you peace of mind, consider each option I listed, along with the possible end results, and try to get a handle on how each one would make you feel without actually making the decision. For most insect treatments, this decision making process isn’t nearly as complicated. But when it comes to some wood destroyers like termites and powderpost beetles, it’s more important to understand the possible outcomes before you proceed. Hopefully this will enable you to better understand these results and in the end, empower you to make a decision that’s best for you.
Here are direct links to the products and information mentioned above:
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