How to get boring insects out of wood

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Forum topic by backyarder1 posted 02-01-2008 03:38 PM 40941 views 1 time favorited 25 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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56 posts in 3795 days

02-01-2008 03:38 PM

My husband and I made this beautiful bench out of an oak tree that we had to have cut from our property. Every now and then we see piles of dust under it where some boring insects are eating their way out. Does anyone know how we can kill the insects that are INSIDE this wood?

oak bench

-- Betsy, Melbourne, Florida, USA

25 replies so far

View gizmodyne's profile


1780 posts in 4117 days

#1 posted 02-01-2008 04:12 PM

Fumigate is somehow is most likely going to be the way. I am not sure how you would accomplish that. Build a little plastic tent and then buy something that kills via air. of find a house that is about to be fumigated and ask them if you can slide this into the living room for a day or two.

Someone here will figure it out…

Welcome to LJ.

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke."

View backyarder1's profile


56 posts in 3795 days

#2 posted 02-01-2008 04:15 PM

I tried putting it in plastic bags and throwing some bug bombs in there. It did seem to work a little. I’ll call around and see if I can figure out how to get it into a house that is getting fumigated. Thanks for the reply. I can’t wait to look around a little bit more here on LumberJocks. I SOOOO wish that there were some woodworking classes in my area!!

-- Betsy, Melbourne, Florida, USA

View forkboy's profile


48 posts in 3802 days

#3 posted 02-01-2008 04:56 PM

Another suggestion which /might/ work, is check with any airport which has international flights landing, the customs department would have access to equipment, or at least contacts in your area, for killing insects in wood, as any goods coming into the country is generally checked for nasties and sent for killing.

-- Perth, Australia

View dalec's profile


612 posts in 3916 days

#4 posted 02-01-2008 05:28 PM

As a follow-up to John’s suggestion about finding a house that is scheduled to be fumigated, you might just call a insect control service to get their advice on you bench insect problem. They may have a spray that will take care of those critters. I would certainly get moving on this, don’t want those insects deciding to relocate in other wood inside your house,


View JJackson's profile


104 posts in 4110 days

#5 posted 02-01-2008 08:04 PM

This is a shot in the dark but if I were in your situation, I would fume the piece. When I say fume, I mean build a small enclosed area out of plastic, set the bench in there, set a cup of aqua ammonia in with the chair and then seal up the enclosed area for about 3 days. Just be careful with the aqua ammonia, its nasty stuff. Aqua ammonia is what I use to fume white oak. It should not damage your piece and it surely will kill all the bugs in that piece. Good Luck,

-- Jeff, Indiana

View CharlieM1958's profile


16275 posts in 4246 days

#6 posted 02-01-2008 08:36 PM

I would throw a party for your insects. Wine them and dine them…loosen them up a bit. Then perhaps they won’t be so boring.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Karson's profile


35125 posts in 4428 days

#7 posted 02-01-2008 08:37 PM

The Bugs are probably Powder Post Bettles. I used some borax in a water solution and sprayed it on some lumber that I have. I soak the surface well, both sides and then stack it back into the wood rack. You can read about any health hazzards of doing that. But where the furniture is finished it probably wouldn’t work. Heating th whole thing, all the wood, up to 140 or 150 would probably kill the critters.

A problem is they are in the wood and the borax is in the surface area so on their way out they eat it and die. With a finish you won’t be able to get the borax into the wood.

Do a google search for Powder Post Bettles. In my case if the board was bad I trashed it. Got it out of the shop.

I believe that heat kiln drying kills the critters. If someone is around that has a heat kiln and you could put you furniture in, it might kill them also.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View backyarder1's profile


56 posts in 3795 days

#8 posted 02-01-2008 08:40 PM

Thanks for all of the suggestions. They sound great!

-- Betsy, Melbourne, Florida, USA

View Karson's profile


35125 posts in 4428 days

#9 posted 02-01-2008 08:46 PM

Here’s a site that talks about do-it-yourself. It might require removing all of the finish from your table and treating it and then refinishing.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View jeffthewoodwacker's profile


603 posts in 3831 days

#10 posted 02-02-2008 12:08 AM

If you get the largest trash can liner that you can purchase and put the table inside (you can seam several trash can liners together with duct tape) you can then fumigate it. I have also put pieces in a dry sauna and cranked the heat up to 150 degrees with some success. Karson is probably correct those little pests are powder post beetles.

-- Those that say it can't be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.

View RobS's profile


1334 posts in 4334 days

#11 posted 02-02-2008 12:17 AM

Do you have a friend with a big walk in freezer..maybe owns a restaurant or something? Put it in there for a few days…

-- Rob (A) Waxahachie,TX

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 4354 days

#12 posted 02-02-2008 12:40 AM

Beat me to that suggestion Rob. Cook em, or freeze em. There was a thing on the news, or a PM magazine type show about imported wooden items, recommending putting them in the freezer for a few days to kill any of the nasties inside.

I remember hearing about the borax idea Karson mentioned as well. Mixed with sugar it works for ants. and is about as non-toxic as possible.

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

View Chris_Moore's profile


2 posts in 3793 days

#13 posted 02-03-2008 05:54 AM

Take advantage of the intense sun down here in Florida. Put the bench in a couple of layers of black contractor’s bags and set it in the sun for several days. There should be more than enough heat to fry the wee beasties. If you want to be extra sure, stuff a small can with cotton balls then add enough carbon tetrachloride to dampen them. The carbon tet method is one of the standard way that collectors kill insects for mounting. The fumes will get into every crevice and bore hole.

-- Chris Moore

View Ryan Shervill's profile

Ryan Shervill

278 posts in 3840 days

#14 posted 02-03-2008 06:28 AM

Can you fit it in a garbage bag? Anything that will displace O2 will work if you can….propane is cheap and available. The suggestion of amonia is a good one, you could even use household amonia with effective results.

-- Want to see me completely transform a house? Look here:

View motthunter's profile


2141 posts in 3826 days

#15 posted 02-03-2008 06:11 PM

Get a stereo any play Beatles music. If that doesn’t work, try Adam Ant, The Roaches, or the Bugaboos. When they come out to find a mate, step on them. Oh yeah, if that doesn’t work use one of the other suggestions above. I would just fumigate with ammonia in a sealed tarp.

-- making sawdust....

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