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  1. #1
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    Default Powder Post Beetles

    These guys are pretty bad in Oregon... I'm not sure if you get them in other parts of the country. I found the worst infestation of them that I've ever seen today. The entire crawl space was toast. An interesting thing is how they re-infest good wood. This point is often disputed by bug guys... but the picture below is of a relatively new piece of wood that was sistered next to a bad one. I'd guess it's somewhere around 10-15 years old.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Powder Post Beetles

    I inspected a house in Golden Beach (yes, the name does represent the people who live there, that's where those with the gold live to some extent down there in South Florida) about 10 years or so ago which was totally gone due to those buggers.

    No matter where I grabbed a truss, it crumbled in my hand.

    I came down and advised my client, he was buying it because it was a point lot with 400 feet on the Intra-coastal, he only wanted it inspected to see if it was safe to rent out for a year or two before tearing it down ...

    I told him I would not recommend it, one big wind from a hurricane and it will save him from having to tear it down - but I sure would not want someone under it when it comes down. He was getting a good buy on it too ... only $3 mil back then.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Powder Post Beetles

    With all my experience in the PC business, I would not buy a home with Powder Post beetles. I'd run away in a heartbeat.


  4. #4

    Default Re: Powder Post Beetles

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Hurst View Post
    With all my experience in the PC business, I would not buy a home with Powder Post beetles. I'd run away in a heartbeat.
    Must be a southern thing. We have PPB evidence in joists and beams on houses from the 1700's, that never progressed more than a 1/4 inch into the wood. Must be a climate thing. I did a 1630's house that had PPB in every wood member, but not to the extent of being a problem. I probed every accessible member with an 18" screwdriver and it did not ever penetrate more and a half inch in the worst area. It has to do with proper moisture and temperature conditions which may be more prevalent in the south.


  5. #5
    Mike Huppi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Powder Post Beetles

    I love when they feed new wood to the powder post beetles by sistering the wood on to infested wood.

    Where in Oregon are you at?


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Powder Post Beetles

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Huppi View Post
    I love when they feed new wood to the powder post beetles by sistering the wood on to infested wood.

    Where in Oregon are you at?

    I'm close to the Portand area, West Linn to be exact...

    I am smiling after reading your post... I've had someone try to sell me that line before too. Pest guys will swear up and down that it will not re-infest... What a joke!!

    I'm firmly of the belief that there is no cure other than removal of the wood. And with this particular house if you took out all of the bad wood the only thing between you and the ground would be the carpet


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Powder Post Beetles

    Here's a couple of photos of those trusses in that house.

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    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  8. #8
    David Banks's Avatar
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    Default Re: Powder Post Beetles

    I found a similar situation in a crawl a couple of years ago. 8 year old addition. Sill plate looked perfectly good from a distance, but trusty awl does not fail. Holes so small hard to see in poor light. All the sills were totally gone.
    Told they were Lyctid Beetle.
    I do see a lot of powder post in New England in older homes with very little progression as John said. Have been told by old timers they came in with the wood during construction and fade away.
    Found this- Wood-Boring Beetles in Homes Management Guidelines--UC IPM


  9. #9
    Lewis Capaul's Avatar
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    Default Re: Powder Post Beetles

    Matt and Jerry, would you mind if I copied your photos and used them in a DVD presentation I am creating?


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Powder Post Beetles

    No, not at all. Feel free to use them... it's funny, I always have a really hard time getting a good picture of the holes because they are so small. The lighting and my camera flash must have been just right yesterday because that is about the best I've ever had them show up... and the fact that there were thousands of them, I suppose.


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Powder Post Beetles

    Not a problem.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  12. #12
    Lewis Capaul's Avatar
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    Default Re: Powder Post Beetles

    Thanks Guys, great pictures.


  13. #13
    Jonathan Cartwright's Avatar
    Jonathan Cartwright Guest

    Default Re: Powder Post Beetles

    Quote Originally Posted by John Ghent View Post
    Must be a southern thing. We have PPB evidence in joists and beams on houses from the 1700's, that never progressed more than a 1/4 inch into the wood. Must be a climate thing. I did a 1630's house that had PPB in every wood member, but not to the extent of being a problem. I probed every accessible member with an 18" screwdriver and it did not ever penetrate more and a half inch in the worst area. It has to do with proper moisture and temperature conditions which may be more prevalent in the south.
    True powderpost beetles cannot digest cellulose and when feeding on wood they are extracting mostly starch, sugars, and other nutrients. Starch content is important for re-infestation - if the starch content of a wood member is too low the beetles will not likely re-infest. As wood ages the starch is converted to lignin thus the nutritional value is reduced which limits the possibility of re-infestation as well as slowing the development of any beetle larvae still within the wood. Adding new wood to infested areas often re-introduces higher starch content and increasing the liklihood of further infestation.

    The bug guys are not completely wrong as shown above: old wood may not be suitable for effective re-infestation. Also, some new wood may not be suitable for re-infestation or initial attack if it is too high in moisture content. This may account for the general idea among PMP's that re-infestation will not occur.

    Then again it may be that some PMP's like some HI's do not want to be the ones to tell the agent or clients that there may be future problems with the structure.


  14. #14
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    Smile Re: Powder Post Beetles

    Matt, True Powder Post Beetles belong to the Lyctid beetle family, they feed predominantly on starch in hardwoods. They will infest plywood, trim and hardwood flooring. However the powdery frass in the picture is an indication of Powder Post beetles it was most likely from Anobiid beetles. The most common wood-boring beetle in the Northwest belongs to the Anobiidae family known as Anobiid beetles. These are often mistakenly called powderpost beetles. Some types include the Deathwatch beetle, Western Deathwatch beetle which is responsible for the majority of the damage along coastal areas of western North America.


  15. #15
    Fred Franks's Avatar
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    Default Re: Powder Post Beetles

    I live in south arkansas and see damage done by wood destroying beetles. when I see this while doing WDI I am not going to try to identify what kind of beetle caused this damage. It is best to say " evidence of wood destroying beetles". It is almost impossible to tell exactley what kind of beetle caused it. Lycted beetles, ppb. anobiid, or old barn borers, etc.. Dont distinguish. you are better off to just say "wood destroying beetles" It is a little vague, but you stay safe. if you see frass hanging out of the holes it is probably active. but if you see the holes and no frass it requires monitoring. which can be costly and time consuming. You can draw a silver dollar sized circle and count or number the holes inside, come back a month or so later to see if you have more holes inside the circle. I will usually draw about ten circles and monitor them in order to determine activity. Who really wants to do this? The Arkansas state plant board is hard to deal with if you try to identify- you had better be right.


  16. #16
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    Default Re: Powder Post Beetles

    Quote Originally Posted by Fred Franks View Post
    I live in south arkansas and see damage done by wood destroying beetles. when I see this while doing WDI I am not going to try to identify what kind of beetle caused this damage. It is best to say " evidence of wood destroying beetles". It is almost impossible to tell exactley what kind of beetle caused it. Lycted beetles, ppb. anobiid, or old barn borers, etc.. Dont distinguish. you are better off to just say "wood destroying beetles" It is a little vague, but you stay safe.
    If you were doing WDO in Florida, you would be required to *identify* them. If you are doing WDO (wood destroying organism instead of WDI - wood destroying insect - in Florida) that means you were trained to recognized the differences.

    If you cannot identify the differences, have someone you can call while you are there to verify what you are seeing (I could not always remember what was what, and instead of waiting until I got out of the attic to refresh my memory by looking at the book, I called someone and said 'I'm having a brain fart up in this attic, this is what I'm seeing, what is it').

    If all you can say is 'wood destroying beetles' it is most likely best that you stop doing WDI inspections until you've learned more.

    In Florida, you are required to 'identify' and 'mis-identification' is cause for the state to contact you and slap you hand, then next time, they will slap your face, the next time, they will slap you silly.

    The Arkansas state plant board is hard to deal with if you try to identify- you had better be right.
    In Florida, if you are not licensed as a WDO inspector, which also means *trained*, if you start doing WDO inspections, it does not matter if you are right or not on your identifications - it means you are performing pest control without a license, and that can be a $5,000 *per occurrence*, which means ... 'how many homes did you say you've inspected this way? OUCH!

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  17. #17
    Fred Franks's Avatar
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    Default Re: Powder Post Beetles

    Mr. Peck, First of all I am not in Florida-I am in Arkansas however and do have a Arkansas state plant board lic. The very reason I said it is best to just say "wood destroying beetles" is because of a discusion with Greg hearnsberger of the plant board. my company put down PPB on a clearance letter. the buyer was concerned and didnt think he should buy the house . the realtor calls in the state. the state says its lyctid beetles not PPB . we said " isn't a lyctid bettle a type of PPB . under direction of the plant board we are told we need to list it as wood destroying beetles and not identify. they want to do that. they want to look at every case reported. and I want to do what they ask me to do . I think that would be wise. I know in Florida That you guys have dry wood, subterranian, and formosan termites and are also told to identify when you find an infestation so I can see that they also require you to identify the beetles , but laws vary from state to state, texas is different, louisianna, and so on in arkasas im going to do what the plant board wants us to do.


  18. #18
    Fred Franks's Avatar
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    Default Re: Powder Post Beetles

    Mr,peck one other thing if you read my first post. I said I did WDI not WDO , and yes I do Know what I'm doing. thank ya I apreciate the concern


  19. #19
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    Default Re: Powder Post Beetles

    Quote Originally Posted by Fred Franks View Post
    I said I did WDI not WDO
    Fred,

    I said WDO in relation to "Florida" as, in "Florida" it is WDO, not WDI, so, when talking about "Florida" WDI is no existent, it is WDO.

    I even further tried to clarify that by saying "If you are doing WDO (wood destroying organism instead of WDI - wood destroying insect - in Florida)"

    Again, "in Florida", WDO inspectors "are required" to identify them.

    Did you have this "Location: El Dorado Arkansas" in your profile at first?

    If so, then I just plain missed it, if not, that is why I referenced "Florida" because I did not know where you were.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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  20. #20
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    Default Re: Powder Post Beetles

    Hey we have them out in northern Calif. Shot this in a home today. complete sub-structure infested.

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    Ron

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