It is common for antiques from Europe or Asia to have had powder post beetles. Although they are supposed to be dispatched by methylene bromide fumigation upon arrival in our ports, sometimes they survive. It is unusual for powder post beetles to live many years after arrival in the US. We heat our houses so much, and air condition, that it is too dry for them.
The way you can tell you have an active infestation is that whitish powder will come out of the holes, every week. You will see little piles of sawdust beneath the light colored, active holes. Dark holes mean there is nothing active in the those holes. A hole can conceal a 7′ long tunnel. The beetles live in a single hole their entire 7 year life, then make one hole when they are mature and ready to mate and lay their own eggs in other pieces.
If you need to get furniture fumigated, there is typically a minimum charge of about $800-1100, which would cover quite a few pieces, or just one. Another alternative to methylene bromide is carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide takes 1 month to kill powder post beetle eggs, compared to methylene bromide’s few days. Carbon dioxide is harmless in low concentrations, fatal to humans at 6 – 15%, and to powder post beetle dormant eggs at 60%. Formerly just used for the occasional antique house, Carbon dioxide has become more popular with the resurgence of bedbugs, and is an effective, non-toxic and green alternative to methylene bromide. Licensed fumigators don’t release methylene bromide, but there is a potential for its escape.
Email or call us with your powder post beetle infestation needs, and we will be happy to help rid you of the destructive pests.