Do you have beetles in your floor?

Do you have small holes made by beetles in your floors?  If you do you’re probably dealing with powder post beetle.  This is a generic name for an entire group of wood eating beetles and larva.

At first sight you may have images of the house falling down around you, but I can assure you that won’t happen.  In fact, you may not even need to get it treated.  This subject can be kind of dry, so let skip all the science and biology and get right into the problem.

Which beetle is in your floor?

Beetles in a floor
This is inactive powder post beetle as there are no dust piles

Powder post beetle is very specific to the types of wood they eat, so if they’re in a hardwood floor it’s likely the lyctus beetle or true ppb (ppb means powder post beetle).  The larva consumes the starch found within hardwoods, but not in soft woods like pine.  This pest can infest floors that are either new or old, but their life cycle is always subject to delay or extinction because of moisture content.  This moisture content is in the wood not in the air.  For that reason the biggest defining factor on treatment may be where the hardwood floors are installed.  PPB needs above 15% moisture content within the wood and can likely find this in floors that are above wet dirt crawls spaces, resting on concrete with no vapor barrier or installed around water leaks.

Beetles in your floor, but it’s brand new

The typical powder post beetle in a floor problem seems to always happen in new construction.  The reason that the beetles are likely in the floor is that they survived the drying process and what you’re now seeing is the adults emerging.  This emergence, while messy can be short lived and shows itself as neat piles of fine powder on the floor.  When it’s first noticed the buyer will call the builder who in turn calls the hardwood floor installer who then calls the manufacturer.  In most cases the manufacturer tells them to call a pest control service and they’re on their own.  Sound familiar, now what?

Do you need pest control for beetles in your floor?

First, no pest control may be needed for the beetles in your floor at all. The reason is that unless there’s a source of moisture the beetle can’t carry on their life cycle.

In Connecticut most new homes are built above basements.  A basement is not likely to have enough moisture to raise the moisture content within the hardwood floors above.  If it does there’s a bigger issue.

Second, hardwood floors are all sealed.  A sealed hardwood floor can prevent adults from laying eggs in cracks and crevices.

Last, and most importantly since the adults are not able to finish their life cycle what you’re seeing may stop without further incident.  Remember, the ppb life cycle can take up to 4 years to finish.  You may be seeing the end of it.

How to treat a hardwood floor for powder post beetle as a last resort

If all else fails and the floors must be treated be sure to follow the following process:

  1. Sand floors to bare wood
  2. Clean all left over dust and debris
  3. Apply a liquid borate as a topical treatment to 100% of the floor surface
  4. Apply stain/sealer after the floor has dried

As company we’ve been able to provide facts to builders and homeowners.  For that reason actual treatments of hardwood floors for powder post beetle are unusual.  In fact, most either let the situation burn it’s self out or opt for spot replacement.  Which is right for you is a decision that only you can make.

If you need pest control services call 1-888-879-6481.  Envirocare Pest Control can help.