Friday, 20 January 2012

Woodworm: Powder Post Beetle

The Powder Post Beetle (Lyctus brunneus) damages wide-pored hardwood with a high starch content, such as ash, elm and oak. The Powder post Beetle can cause severe damage by tunnelling along the grain and can often be found in parquet or wood block floors.

A picture and description can be found here: According to this US article, some researchers believe that powder post beetles are second only to termites in the United States in their destructiveness to wood and wood products.

This woodworm beetle requires a high starch content which is present in new wood; the starch content will naturally deplete as the timber ages and text books say that the infestation will naturally die out after 10 or so years as a result. Older timbers (over 15 years old) don't provide a suitable environment for this species.

However the infestation can cause considerable damage in that time as the beetle has a short life cycle. The timbers can be treated as for Common Furniture Beetle. However, if the infestation covers a large area, we recommend brush applied gel treatments.

The key to avoiding serious problems from powderpost beetles is early detection. As noted earlier, homeowners are much more likely to see damage than the beetles themselves. Since tunnelling and development of the larvae takes place entirely below the wood surface, the only signs of infestation are the holes made by the adults as the leave the wood, and the powder-like bore-dust, known as frass.

The first action is of course to actually identify which woodworm beetle is causing the infestation – the damage is very similar to Common Furniture Beetle so it is difficult to tell from this. The distinguishing feature is the bore dust, Powder Post Beetle (Lyctus) frass is very fine like talcum powder, while Common Furniture Beetle frass is gritty.

Professional help is essential for woodworm treatment. Peter Cox Ltd will send an experienced surveyor to visit your property. The surveyor will outline the severity of the woodworm infestation and how urgent the need is for a solution. He will describe the potential woodworm treatment costs and alternatives. A professional survey is needed to find the woodworm infestation areas. The surveyor may need to access roof voids, lift roof insulation and/or floorboards.

The surveyor will identify which species are causing the damage, and also whether the beetles are still active. You can arrange a
woodworm survey by entering your details into the form on the right.