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Thread: Heart Broken, bugs in my wood pile

  1. #1

    Heart Broken, bugs in my wood pile

    I had been air drying about 750 board feet of beautiful silver maple 1 1/2" and 2 1/2" live edge for almost 3 years. This week I noticed a lot of small sawdust piles and my heart sank. I started to breakdown the pile and found it covered in mini sawdust piles along with a swarm of very small flying insects. They have a body and a head, two antennas, about 2-3 mm in length and can fit into a mid size pin hole. See pictures. The heart breaking part is the air drying was perfect, very little warp age or checking.

    So I decided to try treting the boards with something. I cannot find Boracare or Boric acid in Ontario Canada so I bought some Borax (Mule 20).

    First off, I was surprised to find that Borax does NOT dissolve in water so I fail to understand how it can be sprayed. I am applying with a 3/4 pile roller, I dip the roller immediately after a stir of the bucket to capture as much Borax as possible.

    I treated some boards yesterday and set them on a new pile about 50 Ft away. Today there were a few new sawdust piles on the treated boards. I guess the bugs are drilling out and not in. My only hope is as I get deeper into the pile some boards may not be infested but I doubt it.

    A big lesson, if I ever do this again I will treat the sawn boards before stickering and stacking them. Foot note, the stickers (pine and spruce) are not infected.

    Any advise to salvage? No kiln service will take infected boards so heat is out of the question.
    Anyone know how/where I can purchase BoraCare in Canada?
    Any suggestion on another remedy or home made solution?
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Borax will dissolve in water, but you have to heat the water. It doesn't have to be boiling. I'm not sure how effective Borax in water alone will be though.

    Allan Speers has a formula for making Boracare somewhere in these forums.

    edited to add: I googled "boracare Canada" and it doesn't look like it would be impossible to find:
    http://nisuscorp.com/images/uploads/..._3-12_MSDS.pdf

    These folks might be able to help: https://pestweb.ca/products/ad745c34...703-25-lb-pail
    Last edited by Tom M King; 07-04-2019 at 9:23 PM.

  3. #3
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    Alternative: I buy and use food grade diatomaceous earth. Its not an internal toxin for insects it destroys their exoskeleton. When I was a boy they added this powder to milled flour - they may still.

    You may think about building a solar kiln in place. The change of environment will likely deter the pests.

  4. #4
    A big thanks Tom, I will contact the supplier you found. I hope they sell retail.
    It seems Allan is not accepting private message but I'll keep trying.
    Re Borax not dissolving. I tried adding it to straight hot water from the tap and even power stiring it but it just settles to the bottom when I stop stirring. I am using Mule 20 brand of Borax.

    Thanks again for the quick response.

  5. #5
    Thanks Devon, I will also look into that product. Solar Kiln not ab option right now unfortunately.

  6. #6
    You have a nice pile. Buy a big tarp and use a big heater (electric or diesel fuel) from a rental center to raise the temperature. Not difficult.
    Or buy an insecticide called Tempo SC in the US. Rated for use in kitchens, nursing homes, etc.

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Benjimin Young View Post
    It seems Allan is not accepting private message but I'll keep trying.
    Looks like Allan is not a contributor at this time, which explains the inability to PM him. His thread on homemade Bora-Care, however, is a sticky at the top of the Sawmills & Kiln Drying forum here.
    Chuck Taylor

  8. #8
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    Boric acid is the common and active ingredient in roach powder. I can buy it at the local dollar store as well as the big box stores. But confirm by reading the ingredients.

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    Borax does dissolve in water; in fact, this is how it was deposited in evaporated lake beds. And I have dissolved it in both tap water and hot water for spraying...

    The reason you can't keep adding borax and stirring it into solution forever is because the solution eventually becomes saturated. The same thing happens with salt, or sugar, or anything else you can dissolve in water. Google "saturated solution."
    Last edited by Jacob Reverb; 07-05-2019 at 5:58 AM.

  10. #10
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    You may actually want to get these boards KD'd to insure a kill of the critters. The solution may or may not do the job because of the boring nature of the insects. It's not uncommon to KD to "finish" air dried material...it's actually "normal".
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  11. #11
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    You have obviously taken great care to stack the lumber properly so it is a real bummer to have an infestation. Might you find a black tarp of sufficient size to cover it and use heat as suggested above? You could substantially reduce the size of the stack or even treat small bundles. Or, instead of rolling the borax solution on the surface you might try pouring on while still hot. Good luck!
    Rustic? Well, no. That was not my intention!

  12. #12
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    Borax and Borate products are deterrents, NOT an exterminator product. Coating it now is useless. You already have an infestation, heat is your only solution to the problem. The wood must be heated until the center of the boards are at 133 degrees F for several hours. That means the air temp around the wood must be over 150F to have a hope of the center of the wood to reach 133. Those tiny exit holes are not the real damage. The real damage is the tunnels under the surface. I know the heartache, I lost a couple thousand bd ft tight stacked in a shed.

  13. #13
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    you could have a pest termite exterminater tent it and fumigate it (like they do with houses), if he knows what the bugs are, and has the right stuff to do it. Have no idea what that mgiht cost but I'd sure hate to lose that wood after all that work and time...... Have no idea what that would cost, but you could get estimates. Randy

  14. #14
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Randall J Cox View Post
    you could have a pest termite exterminater tent it and fumigate it (like they do with houses), if he knows what the bugs are, and has the right stuff to do it. Have no idea what that mgiht cost but I'd sure hate to lose that wood after all that work and time...... Have no idea what that would cost, but you could get estimates. Randy
    The biggest issue with powder post beetle infestation is the elimination of all three stages of the life cycle. You have to even kill eggs laid in the wood. Fumigation is not good for that.
    STRUCTURAL FUMIGATION FOR POWDER POST BEETLES

    Fumigation of homes and infested furniture and other wood products will kill powderpost beetles. It ís important to note that fumigating an entire building can become quite expensive, costing thousands of dollars. The benefit of fumigation with fumigants such as "Vikane" are that the adult beetle and mature larvae forms of infestation can be totally eliminated with one treatment. However, be forwarned that the powderpost beetle eggs are not easily killed. This is because the powderpost beetle egg has a watery covering. Vikane does not penetrate water very well. With the use of "Vikane", (the only currently available structural fumigant), the requirement is that 10 times the amount of Vikane gas has to be used to kill the eggs as it does to kill the adults and the mature larvae. This is called a "10X" rate of gas in the fumigation industry. To use 10 times the amount of gas to kill the eggs as it takes to kill the adults is very expensive and not always successful. For this reason, if you decide to use a structural fumigation company, be sure that they have a rock solid reputation and will guarantee to "re-fumigate" if necessary at no additional charge.

  15. #15
    I can't tell from the photo but it appears the wood is stacked quite close to a structure. If so I would be concerned about the bugs migrating to the building causing future problems. The good news is some varieties of powder post beetle only attack hardwood and you said the softwood stickers are not infested. Still I think an inspection by a qualified pest exterminator should be done.

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