This post is a reprint taken from my newsletter sent through Yahoo! Groups for nearly seven years from 1999-2007 with a subscriber list of 800+
Wicker Woman’s Weavings
Volume 9, Issue 3, March 2007
Library of Congress ISSN: 1543-8287
Copyright © 2007, All World Rights Reserved
FRIDAY FEATURE–Revisiting the Powder Post Beetle
Have you ever noticed little piles of white or tan “dust” or “powder” on the table or shelf after you picked up a basket? If so, that little pile of dust is actually powdered wood, reed, ash or willow from that basket that you just moved or picked up.
The powder post beetle is the culprit and they can cause a great deal of damage to your baskets and other wooden objects like furniture and even your house if you’re not careful!
The female lays her eggs in the wood and then when the larvae hatch, they use the wood as nourishment, chewing and boring into it, causing small, telltale holes to appear. The powder is a by-product from the chewing of the powder post beetle.
Most often excess moisture and heavy humidity attracts the bugs to the wood, and in this case, the basket. Treatment ranges from applying insecticides or professional fumigation to putting the offending basket in the deep freeze to kill the infestation.
But beware, a regular household self-defrosting refrigerator/freezer combination will not destroy the critters because they don’t get cold enough. The colder temperatures of a deep freezer, chest freezer or the like, will usually take care of it though.
After the basket is completely dry and free of any larvae, you might try applying a sealer such as a varnish, polyurethane or urethane on the bottom of the basket at least, to protect against further infestation.
I have also heard of putting the basket in a garbage bag and adding a dish or pan of ammonia to the bag. Supposedly, the ammonia will kill the powder post beetles too, but I have no personal experience with this method.
For more information about controlling and eliminating this pesky bug problem take a look at this website. http://www.doyourownpestcontrol.com/powderpostbeetles.htm