Help, Bugs IN the table.

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Bob in WI, Jul 21, 2004.

  1. Bob in WI

    Bob in WI Well-Known Member

    May 10, 2002
    Western WI
    My wife purchased a handmade, crafstman/artist, one of a kind original little table to place next to her rocking chair. It was made by a guy in Oregon. It is basically a slab of really interesting wood, set on some legs that were made from gnarled branches or roots. It looks like the table was rubbed with some type of oil stain. It does not appear to have urethane on it.

    We had it shipped here from Oregon after she returned from her vacation. We used it for about 6 months and then she noticed one day that there were two little piles of sawdust on the tabletop.

    I assume the dust is from some small insect. The question is how do we kill the critters inside of the tabletop, without harming it to a great degree?

    One suggestion that was given to us is to use a bug bomb of some type, ie. place it in a closed plastic bag and set off the bomb.

    Another is to freeze the table for a considerable time, hopefully killing the bugs in the process.

    Another one was spray the entire slab with urethane, several coats and the bugs will be stuck inside forever, hopefully running out of air soon and not doing much further damage.

    I am open to any suggestions at this point.


  2. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

    May 20, 2004
    SE Missouri

  3. Little Quacker in OR

    Little Quacker in OR Well-Known Member

    May 9, 2002
    Firstly I would contact the person who made the table and get his advice. That may do it. Then I'd contact The Extension Service in the County where he lives. They are the ones who can tell you what it is that is likely to be inside the wood. Three insects come to mind: Termites, Carpenter Ants and Wood Lice.

    Then, I'd get hold of a Natural Wood Furniture Builder and ask how they treat the woods they deal with and make furniture from.

    I am thinking that the guy who made this table is artistic but maybe not too knowledgeable about how to deal with "living wood" as opposed to manufactured stuff.

    Many insecticides have oils in them that may impact the wood in your table. I'd be careful with them until you learn more.

    Good luck, LQ
  4. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

    May 10, 2002
    Between Crosslake and Emily Minnesota
    Do you have a lumber kiln near you? If so, bring them the table and have them dry it. The larve would not be living in the wood if the wood was dry (they need moisture to survive). In addition, the heat will kill the larve. Do it now before the beetles hatch and lay new larve other places in your home.
  5. Timedess

    Timedess Guest

    a few years ago, a dear friend crafted for my husband a beautiful pulpit (lectern) from cedar he cut on his own property. the friend commented that he knew that there was some sort of bug (worm?) in the wood and for dh to use a slender piece of wire or toothpick to jam up inside the hole the next time he saw one being 'operated upon'. dh did this and effectively killed the culprit in the pulpit.

    in Him,

  6. gobug

    gobug Well-Known Member Supporter

    Dec 9, 2003
    Beetles that infest wood are the longest living bugs - some in excess of 40 years!

    Bombs won't work, they don't penetrate the wood where the larvae are eating, even if you bag it.

    Varnish or finishes will not stop nor kill the bugs. Good finishes could possibly prevent infestation of other wooden items, depending on the insect.

    The sawdust is the sign of emerging adults. If you don't capture one, you will never know for sure what you have. Some wood eating bugs will not infest your other wooden items, some will. Your floors, furniture, doors and so on could be at risk, or may not be at all.

    Heat and cold can be effective, but you should know the bug's identity to get the right temperature and time. Nearly all insects will die from high enough temperatures maintained for enough time. Cold is not so effective. Heat is probably your best bet if you can find someone with an oven big enough for the table.

    A product called Bora-Care is boric acid and glycerin. I have drilled a matrix of holes part way through a table from the bottom then injected the Bora-care and eliminated a problem like yours. You would probably need some special equipment to do an effective job. (like a good sprayer with an wood injection tip)

    True fumigants like methyl bromide or aluminum phosphide would work, but you probably cannot get the chemicals. You could look for an exterminator that does fumigation and is licensed to use these chemicals. They also could have a chamber for the process.

    Good luck.
  7. Mudwoman

    Mudwoman Well-Known Member

    Dec 18, 2002
    I asked DH about this as he dries wood in his kiln and builds furniture.

    He says that drying this out with heat for a length is time is the only sure way of killing these beetles and you should remove the table from your house as they will get into other wood. He said that you might try wrapping it in black plastic and put it out in the sun. Every day change the bag so that you are getting rid of water condensation and thus drying out the wood. You have to get the temp up above 120 degrees for a week or more.