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fixitright
Wood Boring Insect Control

I purchased an old pine beam (4" thick finished) planned & cut to fit as a mantle above my brick fireplace. The face of the beam was left as the bark side (removed and cleaned but not cut or planned down) to provide a rustic look. The plank was finished with Stain & Poly. Months later I started to hear a buzzing sound from inside the mantle. A little later I noticed the front (Bark side) is pocked with small holes (about 1/4" ovals) with sawdust in it. They generally don't go too deep as I have probed them with a dental pick tool. What would be your suggestion to repair and rid the wood of the infestation? My biggest fear is that the insects migrate to other places

keith3267
Re: Wood Boring Insect Control

A Sodium Borate solution will take care of the problem, but getting it into the wood now that it is stained and sealed is going to be a problem.

If you can remove the mantle and strip off the sealant, then you can treat it. You can buy a commercial product called Bora-care, it has been used on several TOH projects, or Timbor, or you can make your own solution.

Bora-care is a liquid and the easiest to use, but most expensive. Timbor is a powder and much less expensive and can be mixed with water or a water antifreeze solution. The water antifreeze solution is used in the Bora-care, but if you don't have a rot problem, then the antifreeze (ethylene glycol) is not needed, but it helps speed up penetration.

You can make your own solution by mixing 1 pound of Boric Acid (roach powder) with 1.5 lbs of Borax (laundry booster). Dissolve this in a gallon of heated antifreeze or boiling water. Use a garden sprayer to saturate the beam several times until you get a good penetration.

You can also try spraying the Boric Acid powder directly into the holes but that may not be as successful.

A. Spruce
Re: Wood Boring Insect Control
keith3267 wrote:

You can make your own solution by mixing 1 pound of Boric Acid (roach powder) with 1.5 lbs of Borax (laundry booster). Dissolve this in a gallon of heated antifreeze or boiling water. Use a garden sprayer to saturate the beam several times until you get a good penetration.

Since this is an interior, decorative piece, I would only use the water and skip the antifreeze, as it is both toxic and may cause staining or affect refinishing the mantle later.

HoustonRemodeler
Re: Wood Boring Insect Control

I'd be tempted to remove the mantle and perform the insect killing treatments in a garage with the mantle wrapped in plastic to keep your new housemates from finding greener pastures once the treatments start.

The mantle should fit into a king sized mattress bag (or smaller) which can be purchased from U-haul for $4.95 They also have zip lock style mattress bags if you want to fumigate your mantle. As far as I know, insects can't breathe carbon dioxide. Some dry ice and water would be fun revenge. :D

fixitright
Re: Wood Boring Insect Control

Thanks to all for their suggestions. I'll be working on the solution.

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