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Tiring to get a head, Bugs are eating my wood pile faster than I can grow it!

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by 70marlin, Aug 23, 2010.

  1. 70marlin

    70marlin New Member

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    I’ve got all my wood into the barn, twelve rows 8’ long 8’ high. I moved them from the sun word side of my back yard stacked on pallets. It took me awhile. During the move I’ve noticed this saw dust on the logs every where the wood is mostly cherry, oak and hickory but it’s a mix of every hard wood for an upper Midwestern woods. There’s little round holes in the splits, any idea what bug is infesting my wood pile? pic's to come.

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  2. CountryBoy19

    CountryBoy19 Minister of Fire

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    It's probably the hickory. The bugs are very quick to infest hickory. Normally people keep their hickory separate and they burn it asap after it is seasoned for this reason.
  3. djlarson77

    djlarson77 Member

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    Is the wood punky? I've noticed the same thing in some of the wood I cut standing or laying dead. There have been times when I split a round and find a little white larvae poking his head out, before I smash him. I'm hoping they were in there because the wood was decaying in the round for a while, though some of it doesn't seem overly punky. Doing a little research online, the white larvae I've seen almost look like the emerald ash borer, but haven't verified that....also the holes and white larvae I've found have been in oak. Whatever they are, I hope they don't get to my good oak piles! So I'm very interested in finding out what people have to say here - good topic.
  4. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    Yep, it's the hickory. They make a big mess, but just burn it. They are dormant till springtime, at least I had a few splits in the basement for a couple weeks, and never saw any bugs till the weather warmed up.
  5. CJRages

    CJRages Member

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    First guess: Painted Hickory Borer
    [​IMG]

    Second guess: Powder Post Beetle
    [​IMG]

    According to Univerisity of Missouri Extension Link:
    Insect problems and damage

    "Insects can cause damage or be bothersome when you store wood. Pests include wood borers (round and flat head wood beetles), wood roaches, and termites.

    People who often use wood to heat their homes usually have had experience with wood borers. In the summertime you can frequently hear the borers chewing wood in most older wood piles. Once borers become established in a wood pile, they can reduce its weight by 20 to 30 percent per year. This means that from the standpoint of borer damage, it is probably not a good idea to hold your wood outside for more than a year or two at most.

    If you can delay felling trees cut for cordwood until after the first frost, your wood will be relatively free of wood borers for at least the first year. The adult borers do not fly after the first frost and thus do not infest the logs. If adequate drying takes place before spring, the adult borer will be less attracted to the wood. We are not advocating that everyone should always wait for a frost before cutting trees for cordwood. However, it is a good idea to consider this as an option in your time schedule.

    People frequently ask about the consequences of bringing borers inside the home with the cordwood. Borers do not reproduce inside nor do they contaminate the wood of your home. Their normal habitat is outside. Inside, they emerge from the wood as adults and die within a short time. The worst scenario is that you will sweep or pick up a few adult borers where the wood is piled."



    Interesting stuff, but I think the estimate of 20-30% weight loss per year is a little overblown. Maybe a worst case scenario.
  6. 70marlin

    70marlin New Member

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    Cut last winter, live tree's split in the spring. The worst of the saw dust was on the hickery. I'll try to dig out a bug to night.
  7. djlarson77

    djlarson77 Member

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    It sounds like we have different problems - and if they don't go after my good (non-punky) piles, I don't really have a problem. I wonder if permethrin or some other insecticide would help you. It works wonders on mosquitoes for me and I know it kills many insect species.
  8. pyper

    pyper New Member

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    Bayer has a product that's rated for wood piles. You spray it on the ground before you stack the wood. You can also spray it in the yard to prevent termites, or spray it in trees with carpenter ants. I just did the later, and it's really powerful stuff. I sprayed about a quart at the recommended dilution and it seems to have wiped out the colony. This is after years of trying other stuff, like carpenter ant dust, and various other insecticides.
  9. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    What you have is very common and nothing to get excited over. It is powder post beetles. I just moved some wood that has been stacked for 6 years and the little buggers are still working in that. Just knock the dust off the splits before bringing into the house, but don't worry. You'll generally always have some. I've noticed them the worst in elm, but I had some old oak in that last stack and they attacked it too.
  10. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    I was thinking the same thing . . . it's a good chance it is powder post beetles . . . I figure they get hungry just like me . . . and since they really don't do much damage I live and let live . . . although geez Dennis if they really eat 20-30% of the wood each year I figure some of your wood piles should be about a 1/10th of what they should be . . . and yeah, like the previous poster I think those numbers seem a bit overblown.
  11. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Naw. Our bugs are not that hungry. We still have wood to burn.
  12. CJRages

    CJRages Member

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    Must be. If you resplit one of those 6 year old pieces does it look as though it has been riddled with a shotgun blast with holes everywhere?

    My understanding of powder-posters is that they prefer the sap wood only and don't mess with the heartwood/middle stuff. Is that consistent with what you have seen Savage?

    Maybe the ones in Missouri (vs. Michigan) live longer outside of hibernation between first and last frost.
  13. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Yes, that is what we find also. Maybe we just have so much wood on hand it takes them a long while to get to all of it. It seems no matter how old the wood is we still find fresh dust. As for splitting the old pieces, I did split a bunch of old soft maple recently. I did not notice much that had been eaten. Find an old elm though and you'll find fresh dust for sure.
  14. sapratt

    sapratt Feeling the Heat

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    I sprayed my wood pile with pestacide once in the spring and noticed hardly any bugs on it this year. I know they say not to but I got tired of the mess.
  15. wendell

    wendell Minister of Fire

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    Yup, they do like elm! I find them there even more than my hickory. The cherry, maple and oak, not so much.
  16. woodsmaster

    woodsmaster Minister of Fire

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    I wouldnt worry about the fire wood but you may want to spray the wood in your barn with timbor to prevent them from infesting it. they like moist wood for the most part. Had them in my moist crawl space and had to treat.
  17. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    This is something I would never consider. I use sprays only as a last resort. I hate to use them and many times it makes me sick just mixing things up.

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