Q: I recently noticed some pin-sized holes in a wooden bed headboard in my house. There was a small pile of sawdust below the holes. Any idea of what it could be? If so, how do I eliminate the pest?
A: It sounds like powder post beetle activity to me. The beetles are small, brownish, wood-eating insects about one-eighth inch long. Powder post beetles are so named because the wood upon which they feed is generally eaten into a fine, flourlike powder.
Because your headboard is likely stained and varnished, it is difficult to put an insecticide deep enough into the wood to kill the beetle larvae. For this reason, gas fumigation is your only effective insecticidal option. Unfortunately, few pest control companies offer custom fumigation for furniture. Another option is freezing the insects. If you have a friend in the food business, ask if you can put the headboard in their deep freeze for a few days.
Hal Coleman, owner of North Fulton Exterminating, says that unless you have a bug phobia it might be easiest to let time takes its course. The dry indoor air of your home does not support the proliferation of powder post beetles. They will gradually die out over a period of several months.
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