Other Timber Pests >> Borers


Order Coleoptera

Furniture Beetle & Damage

Lyctid borer (Powder post borer)

These borers:

  • Produce a very fine powdery dust, similar in consistency to talc

  • Attack the sapwood of certain hardwood timbers

  • Can cause serious structural weakening in timber that has a high sapwood content.

Timber replacement is usually not required unless structural integrity is in jeopardy.

Anobiid borer

These borers produce a gritty 'salt like' dust. There are many different species of this borer, but two significant ones are listed - Anobium punctatum, the common furniture beetle, and Calymmaderus incisus, the Queensland pine beetle.

Anobium punctatum (Common furniture beetle)

Highly destructive, this borer can completely destroy items of furniture without much external evidence of the damage occurring. Also known as woodworm.

They also:

  • Attack, flooring, structural timbers, and decorative wood work

  • Prefer old, well-seasoned timber. Usually the timber has been in service for over 20 years. Especially attracted to softwoods such as Baltic pine or New Zealand white pine

  • Prefer cool, humid conditions

  • Can and do reinfest. Also will infest other timber within the building, including the framing timbers and flooring (if susceptible)

  • Do attack some hardwoods, especially Blackwood and imported English oak. (Australian eucalypts appear to be immune)

  • Produce a course gritty frass with the consistency of salt

Caution should be exercised when introducing second hand and antique furniture into the home.

Many infestations go undetected for years, by which time damage can be widespread and severe.
There is no simple, foolproof remedy to control Furniture Beetle. Surface treatments are available; however there is always risk orf further re-infestation.   Most hardware stores have a proprietary pesticide specifically intended for borer treatment. The label and instructions must always be read and complied with completely. In most cases, replacement of timber using a resistant timber is the preferable strategy. Care should be taken to totally destroy all replaced timber by burning. Some firms offer a commercial gassing process to eliminate active borer larvae. A number of non-chemical strategies are also possible options

  • Valuable furniture can be wrapped in black polythene sheeting and all seems sealed with tape. The package should then be left out in direct sunlight for up to a week. The heat generated will kill the larvae and destroy any eggs.

  • Smaller items can be wrapped and frozen for several days. Larvae will be destroyed.

  • Microwaving will also destroy eggs and larvae.

No physical method is able to prevent further fresh infestations.

Calymmaderus incisus (Queensland pine beetle)

These borers:

  • Are more commonly found in Queensland

  • Are attracted to softwood timbers such as Hoop pine and to a lesser extent Bunya pine and New Zealand white pine

  • Commonly attack to timber in dark sub-floor areas.

Borers that attack the living tree or freshly cut timber

Most of the borers in this group are of little concern to homeowners.
Timber that is kiln dried will contain no live larvae. If borer larvae (grubs) survive the saw-milling process, they may continue feeding on the timber and emerge as adults once the timber dries out.
The adults will not re-infest the dry timber, and structural weakening of timbers by this type of borer is rare.

As with lyctid borers, if decorative timber is infested and the emergent holes are considered unsightly, the timber may be treated using borer fluid.

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