You have a log cabin, you like the rustic look, clean and fresh. You notice pin holes appearing on the wood surface and a powdery sawdust trickling down the rough surface of the wood on to your Flying Canvasback Wall Mount. You have powder Post beetle and they are second to termites. They damage the wood from the inside out. They infested the tree when it was still standing or in the lumber yard.
Powder post Beetle have four stages of growth, egg, larva, pupa and adult. The adult beetle is 1/12 to 1/5 inch long and seldom seen. It is the larva that does the damage, they are after the starch content of the wood. The less starch in the wood, the more tunneling the larva does. After many months of tunneling and feeding on the starch the larva will migrate and pupate just below the surface of the wood. After a matter of days or weeks depending on temperature the adult will emerge from its pupa case and chew a tiny exit hole, leaving more powdery sawdust on your Flying Wood Duck Wall Mount. The male and female will mate, the male dies and the female penetrates the pores of the wood with its ovapositor, deposits eggs, larva emerge from the eggs and the process starts all over again.
Normally you would spray the surfaces of the infested area with a residual insecticide to the point of run-off and only in areas that were not living spaces. In homes that have wall coverings i.e. sheetrock, you will not get these infestations unless its in the beams of the cellar or crawl area that are not covered or finished. Years back we would use insecticides such as Chlordane, Lindane and Dursban just to name a few but they have long been banned. In order to control or eliminate the powder post beetle you have to treat all the surfaces of the infested area.
Using insecticide in the living spaces (bedrooms, kitchen, living room) of log cabins and other rustic, country dwellings that have natural wood finishes is not advisable.You want to keep that natural rustic, country home look. This can be done by applying a clear sealer i. e. polyurethane gloss, semi-gloss or satin finish. The satin finish does not shine as much as the gloss or semi-gloss and may give a more natural look. Its just like painting a room and its probably the closest your going to get to keeping that natural look. Once the finish is applied it will continue to emerge for many months until they are all out. The female cannot penetrate the sealed pores of the wood with its ovapositor thus interrupting the next generation of beetles.
You can use insecticide on the outside if you want to. If it already has a finish, the application is not necessary. One of the newer powder post beetle insecticides is called Tim-Bor. This can be purchased at your local “Do-It-Yourself Pest Control” store, if you are lucky enough to have one. If not, this is a chance to get rid of some insecticide concentrate that has been sitting on the shelf. If you have a residual concentrate i.e. Chlordane, Lindane, Dursban or some other insecticide labeled for powder post beetle, use it. Make sure you read the entire label and follow all safety and hazard warnings.
To avoid splash back, spray the raw wood at low pressure to the point of run-off with diluted insecticide. In high areas a ladder may be useful. Do not spray on windy days to avoid drift. When spraying overhead wear rubber gloves, a hat, glasses and a respirator to avoid breathing in air bound particles. The average 24 ft. x 40 ft. home will take about 3 gallons of diluted material. If you have some diluted insecticide left over, keep spraying until it is all gone. Keep children and domestic pets out of the area during the application and until dry (4 to 5 hours depending on weather conditions).