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Forum topic by Thomas Keefe posted 10-06-2010 09:35 PM 1443 views 1 time favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Thomas Keefe

131 posts in 3407 days

10-06-2010 09:35 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question insects bay laurel

I found a piece of wood, that I believe is California Bay Laurel, by the side of the road and have been using it for some turning projects. In a bowl I recently turned from it, I noticed a small insect hole. The hole is about 1/32 of an inch in diameter and there is only one hole visible in the bowl. I am assuming the hole serves as an entry to a deeper recess inside the bowl in which some of the critters could still be living. (I wonder what they thought of the lathe ride?) Any ideas what kind of bug could be lurking in the wood and what I can do to eradicate or remove it? Thanks.


9 replies so far

View bobkberg's profile


439 posts in 3071 days

#1 posted 10-06-2010 09:55 PM

If your oven can do it, set it for 175 F and let the bowl bake for a few hours. I specified 175 because that’s the lowest temperature my oven will go – and hold.
Anything above 212F will probably do, but the warmer you get it, the more it will tend to darken the wood.

-- Bob - A sideline, not how I earn a living

View swirt's profile


2737 posts in 2970 days

#2 posted 10-06-2010 10:32 PM

I have a feeling 30 seconds in a microwave would do the trick too as any bug would pop pretty quickly. But I don’t know what it would do to the wood. I’d be afraid that a few hours in an oven could cause the bowl to change shape.

-- Galootish log blog,

View turkva's profile


29 posts in 3943 days

#3 posted 10-06-2010 11:00 PM

It sounds like a powder post beetle hole, if it is empty, the bug is gone. Do you see any light colored spots about the same size? Thats what they look like before the beetle emerges.

-- Accept Nothing, Challenge Everything

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18270 posts in 3674 days

#4 posted 10-07-2010 05:25 AM

What do the beetles look like?

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View TJ65's profile


1378 posts in 3047 days

#5 posted 10-07-2010 10:20 AM

Well I heard here somewhere that someone suggested to put the wood in the microwave for a few minutes to kill what ever was inside.
Well I picked up this really small piece of burl a little while ago and noticed as it was just sitting there for a while that some ants decided to call the piece home. So as suggested I microwaved it on high for a few minutes.
All that happened was they all decided to make thier way out of the wood- It did not kill them at all, it just caused them a little discomfort.!!!!

-- Theresa,

View Michael Murphy's profile

Michael Murphy

453 posts in 3003 days

#6 posted 10-07-2010 05:41 PM

You can also put the bowl in the freezer. Rapid drop in temperature will kill powder post beetles and the eggs.

-- Michael Murphy, Woodland, CA.

View Thomas Keefe's profile

Thomas Keefe

131 posts in 3407 days

#7 posted 10-07-2010 07:57 PM

Here is an update: After reading all of your responses yesterday and looking around online, I decided that I would try the microwave. The thought of killing the bugs and drying the wood at the same time was too much to resist. I put the bowl in the microwave for 30sec. and let it cool down for 5 minutes and then did the whole process again. I was happy that the wood was not cracked and that it hadn’t warped. I was also surprised how much steam came out of the wood.

When I inspected the bowl, I noticed several new bumps about the size of the original hole that were light in color. I assume that when the wood got hot some of the beetles tried to get out. I don’t think they did. Also, I think the grain was raised a bit as the surface is pretty rough now. (I had sanded it smooth with 600 grit.)

In my searching online I found this reference from University of Kentucky on Thermal Deinfestation – They suggested that the microwave is not reliable, because there is no way to determine if the proper temperature is reached. So, to be safe, I followed up using their method with the oven – 170 degrees Fahrenheit for an hour. This didn’t cause any new checking or
shape changing either. Also, no new beetle holes. So, I think that the microwave dose really did do the trick.
Either that or after surviving the microwave treatment, the 170 degrees didn’t bother them and they decided to stay put. :-)

Thanks again for all of your help.


View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18270 posts in 3674 days

#8 posted 10-08-2010 03:13 AM

Thanks for the report and info.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Nomad62's profile


726 posts in 2956 days

#9 posted 10-08-2010 11:04 PM

The beetles’ larvae are in the wood having bored in as newly hatched critters looking for a place to grow up. Their original holes require magnification to see; the larger hole which you saw is the one it used to chew its way back out having grown up. If others are indeed in there, they will chew their way out too. Sometimes they crawl back in, sometimes they fly away and look for a new home for their up-and-coming egg laying job…your wood supply being a happy prospect. Heat is the only reliable way to kill them. Poisons can work too, but no guarantee. The oven trick should work well, so long as the inner “core” of the wood got to 130 degrees f. Be careful of how you store the rest of the wood… it may be wise to burn it if more holes start to pop up.

-- Power tools put us ahead of the monkeys

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