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GMJB
Old Lumber

My husband has old lumber stored in the garage. Our house is very old and the garage often get cold and damp. He went to use a piece lumber out of the garage to build a shelf. it had tiny black pin dots on it. I wiped it down with water and a little bleach and the dots are still there.I think this this either a form of mold or mildew.. Am I correct and if so can we use the lumber inside for the shelf?

A. Spruce
Re: Old Lumber

Can you post a picture?

I suspect it's more bug poo than any type of fungal issue.

Blue RidgeParkway
Re: Old Lumber

might be indication of powder post beetles.

might be oxidation/reaction of a metal reacting (like steel staples turn wood black in cedar) to the wood and/or moisture and air what kind of wood?

mineral spirits to clean off wood or TSP in water solution.

havanagranite
Re: Old Lumber
A. Spruce wrote:

Can you post a picture?

I suspect it's more bug poo than any type of fungal issue.

I would tend to agree with spruce here. I just sold a couple of loads of lumber that I had stored out back and it was loaded with little black dots, as well as the bugs that left them.

A. Spruce
Re: Old Lumber
Blue RidgeParkway wrote:

might be indication of powder post beetles.

Powder post beetles don't leave little black dots of poo behind, they leave powder, similar to a termite (hence their name ). The major difference between a powder post beetle and a termite is the size of the hole the make and the size of the powder particulate left behind.

Blue RidgeParkway wrote:

might be oxidation/reaction of a metal reacting (like steel staples turn wood black in cedar) to the wood and/or moisture and air what kind of wood?

Fasteners leave discoloration around the fastener, they do not leave speckles everywhere or debris everywhere.

Blue RidgeParkway wrote:

mineral spirits to clean off wood or TSP in water solution.

Mineral spirits or TSP won't do anything to bug poop, nor remedy any of the other suggestions you've provided.

GMJB - If you've wiped the material down with a bleach solution and there was no change in color, then it's not a mildew or mold issue. Bleach would have at least lightened fungal speckles if not removed them completely. There are many bugs that leave poo droppings - flys for instance - with no other signs or damage to the material. Considering the location of storage, IMHO, it is most likely and plausible that it is bug droppings rather than any significant pest infiltration or threat, as some would have you believe. If you are able, posting a picture of the speckles would help us to diagnose, and if you are particularly concerned of either a pest or fungal infiltration, either have the material analyzed locally by your city/county extension expert, or destroy the material and purchase new.

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