Insects in Hardwood Floors- Hardwood Floor Technical Help

What it is:
A sagging surface or small fresh holes surrounded by white powder in the surface of the flooring.

Cause:
If the surface of the flooring is sagging, it is likely that termites have created eating corridors beneath the surface. The bugs are white or cream colored.

If fresh holes about 1/6 - inch wide are found, powderpost beetles, or lyctid beetles, probably are the cause. Positive identification of the infestation is necessary and should be performed by an entomologist.

Cure:For termites, a professional exterminator should eliminate the bugs. Then, structural damage should be repaired. Damaged floorboards should be pulled and replaced. Termite infestation is not related to wood floors, and full cost should be covered by the owner.

For powderpost beetles, determine the extent of damage. If infestation is heavy, handle it the same as the termite extermination above. If it is occasional, especially in new floors, treat the individual openings immediately with insecticide injected by a syringe into
the holes. Or, use aerosol insect spray through a straw in the holes. Have the owner watch for evidence of new holes (with little dust piles) and treat again. After two to three months, the holes may be filled.

Almost all wood flooring in North America is kiln-dried, and proper kiln-drying should kill any insect infestations. However, new material quickly may become infested by insects entering through windows, in firewood, etc., and the life cycle from eggs to live insects is very short. Also, check all surroundings for infested wood molding and furniture (especially bamboo, mesquite and ash). If there is evidence of an old infestation in other wood materials, the costs should be paid by the owner .

All oak flooring grades allow the presence of pinworm holes in the face of flooring strips. When flooring containing the pinworm holes is sanded and finished, sanding dust and/or filler sift into the holes. As the finish is applied a film is formed over the holes. With wear, the film breaks and the pinworm holes are revealed. They often are about the size of powderpost beetle emergence holes and sometimes are mistaken for real infestations.

The homeowner generally calls in a local pest control firm. Unfortunately, many pest control personnel are not well qualified in identifying insects of this sort, since active infestations seldom occur. As a result, an erroneous identification of a powderpost beetle infestation is made, even if neither the tell-tale ring of white powder nor active adults have been seen.

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