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  • Wood boring beetles

    Some friends are looking at an unusually affordable "fixer-upper" in San Francisco

    I haven't seen the place, but I've looked at the pest report, and the biggest thing that jumps out at me (beyond the usual $20k here, $20k there stuff) is mention of beetle damage in a number of locations. The pest inspector recommends tenting, but notes that is impossible due to adjoining properties, and offers spot treatment as an unapproved option.

    Beetle damage is new to me. I've seen plenty of termite damage, 100% of the time in areas with obvious flaws (bulk water intrusion or soil contact). Course of action is always pretty clear under those circumstances.

    What do I need to know about beetles before giving advice to my friends? How are they similar to termites, and how are they different? Any thoughts on alternatives to tenting?

    thanks,
    kevin
    “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” - Upton Sinclair

  • #2
    not sure if they are the same thing but here we have a wood boring bee or hornet. Very large bee that makes an almost perfectly round hole in wood, often in cedar. I know they fly but also can be seen crawling on the wood to enter the hole. Maybe a flying beetle? Can't say I have ever been stung by one so maybe they are a beetle that flies?

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    • #3
      I did some repairs on an early 1900's home that had boring beetle damage. They are very destructive. There were 6x6 foundation beams that looked perfectly sound, but a small tap of the hammer revealed the entire interior was turned to very fine powder. Most of the studs sitting on them were also eaten away. I was surprised the walls were still standing as much as they were compromised. They make such tiny holes that you wouldn't suspect such devastation inside. Tenting may kill them but there may be a lot of unseen destruction. Just be aware there may be a lot more fixing up than they bargain for.
      Tom

      "Whoever ceases to be a student has never been a student." George Iles

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      • #4
        Can't help with beetles but I've never seen a house that can't be tented. I would ask to see pictures of the house and the reason it can't be done.

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        • #5
          As soon as I read your post, I thought of the beetle I see here which is the "powder post" beetle.

          They, at least from my experience, impart damage over a very, very long period and can be difficult to totally eliminate without tenting and perhaps can never be eradicated 100%. As has been mentioned, the holes are very small, maybe 1/32"+.

          Here is an article on other beetles and describes some issues in dealing with them. I think you have to know exactly which one you are dealing with before proceeding.

          Wood Boring Beetles of Structures - Teaching | Research
          agrilifecdn.tamu.edu/aes/files/2014/06/Wood-Boring...
          "ALS IK KAN" - Stickley

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          • #6
            Originally posted by tomthetoolman40 View Post
            Just be aware there may be a lot more fixing up than they bargain for.
            At the price this place is listed at, there's room for plenty of fixing. I assume the realtor is aiming low and expecting a bidding war; and/or knows the whole house is a tear-down due to ineradicable beetles... trying to figure out which scenario we're looking at.

            If there were signs of beetle damages in multiple locations across an entire crawlspace, what does that mean?

            I could replace every joist and the mid-span girder and posts. But if there are beetles, how long would it take them to eat my new work? How effective would spot treatment be to keep them from spreading to new work? PT wood?

            thanks,
            kevin
            Last edited by kfc510; 03-18-2017, 09:32 AM.
            “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” - Upton Sinclair

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            • #7
              Originally posted by dgbldr View Post
              Can't help with beetles but I've never seen a house that can't be tented. I would ask to see pictures of the house and the reason it can't be done.
              The reason given in the report was adjoining structures.
              “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” - Upton Sinclair

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by calvert View Post
                As soon as I read your post, I thought of the beetle I see here which is the "powder post" beetle.

                They, at least from my experience, impart damage over a very, very long period and can be difficult to totally eliminate without tenting and perhaps can never be eradicated 100%. As has been mentioned, the holes are very small, maybe 1/32"+.

                Here is an article on other beetles and describes some issues in dealing with them. I think you have to know exactly which one you are dealing with before proceeding.

                Wood Boring Beetles of Structures - Teaching | Research
                agrilifecdn.tamu.edu/aes/files/2014/06/Wood-Boring...


                Thanks, Calvert.

                kevin

                edit: attached chart with wood-type preferences (this case has to be softwood, structural members) and re-occurrence rates. Looks like a coin flip. beetle preferences and reoccurence chart 2.png
                Last edited by kfc510; 03-18-2017, 09:41 AM.
                “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” - Upton Sinclair

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                • #9
                  my next question is if you can treat you house how long does it last, how effective. And if you have them who is to say your neighbors don't have them also?

                  A friend who was in the pest control business made it a point of passing out a brochure or door knob hanger to the next couple of houses on each side of the one he treated. He said sometimes he was not really killing the pests as much as making them move to a new location. So I get my house treated, suddenly the neighbors have pests. They ask me who treated your place and did it work? Of course it did I tell them and he gets a call from the neighbor.

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                  • #10
                    Good resource here. The owner or his son is avail by phone to go over problems.


                    http://www.domyownpestcontrol.com/be...14.html?page=1

                    http://pestcontrol.domyownpestcontro...elatedarticles
                    Steve

                    "Get three coffins ready" - A Fistful of Dollars 1964

                    http://youtu.be/KZ_7br_3y54

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by m beezo View Post
                      my next question is if you can treat you house how long does it last, how effective. And if you have them who is to say your neighbors don't have them also?
                      Yeah, I share those concerns, Beezo
                      “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” - Upton Sinclair

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Happy Home View Post
                        Good resource here. The owner or his son is avail by phone to go over problems.


                        http://www.domyownpestcontrol.com/be...14.html?page=1

                        http://pestcontrol.domyownpestcontro...elatedarticles

                        Thanks, Steve, I'll check it out.

                        kevin
                        “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” - Upton Sinclair

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                        • #13
                          Some pics. Apologies for my crappy phone camera, I didn't think to bring my little Canon PowerShot.
                          “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” - Upton Sinclair

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