The types of borers most commonly encountered by Austrapest technicians are Anobium punctatum (Furniture beetle), Calymmaderus Incises (Queensland Pine Beetle), and Lyctus brunneus (Powder post beetle).
Furniture Beetle – Anobium punctatum
Furniture beetles infest softwood timbers and occasionally the sapwood of some of the hardwoods. The most common encounter in urban pest management is in floorings and furniture. They are usually noticed in timbers of some age, at least 7 years old, but commonly over 20 years in service.
There are no effective ways to determine whether borer activity is present or past during inspections. Test samples would only give findings on those particular samples, not the entire floor. They should always be considered active. It can not be said that borers are "inactive" or that there is "old borer damage" even after a treatment.
Timbers and Furniture attacked
Many softwoods including Baltic pine, Hoop pine, Radiata pine, Oregon and Balsam Fir.
Hardwoods such as English oak and also plywood.
1. Replace infested timber with a resistant wood such as White cypress pine or resistant hardwoods.
2. Full fumigation for small items and furniture.
3. Alternatively if timbers are still sound and moderately infested, Austrapest qualified technicians can apply a surface treatment. The safest formulation available in Australia at present is Deltamethrin.
Yearly application combined with regular inspections for the period of the life cycle of the beetle is recommended.
Deltamethrin is a Pyrethroid insecticide and has a relatively low toxicity to humans compared to previously used chemicals.
Queensland pine beetle Calymmaderus Incisus
Queensland pine beetles are also encountered in NSW and the damage they make is similar to that made by Furniture beetles.
Timbers and Furniture attacked
Hoop pine, Bunya pine and New Zealand white pine.
Treatment/timber replacement is similar to that used for the control of Furniture beetles.
Powderpost Beetles - Lyctus brunneus & Lyctus discedens
Lyctus brunneus and Lyctus discedens only attack the sapwood section of hardwood timbers and usually during the first few years of the service life of the timber.
By law, structural timbers in service are only permitted a small percentage of sapwood and no more than 25%. In most cases the damage therefore caused by this beetle will not affect the structural soundness of the timber.
No chemical treatment is recommended for the control of Lyctus borer. Just replace timbers if it ever becomes necessary.
Pinhole Borer also known as Ambrosia beetle
These beetles attack moist wood of freshly sawn timbers of Australian hardwood. The female will lay eggs in the wood and leave a fungi for the larvae to feed on. The fungi- stained holes will be evident when the borer emerges.
It is rare to have any structural weakness to the timbers and the borer cannot reinfest once the timber has dried out. No control is needed, cosmetic management only, such as filling the holes with putty.
If you think you may have borer damage in structural timbers such as softwood floorboards, email Austrapest a photo – don’t forget to place a ruler alongside the damage which gives us a size perspective. A qualified Austrapest timber pest inspector can then advise after a structural pest inspection.
If you think you have borer in a recently purchased valuable piece of furniture you will need to contact your supplier or Australian Customs as you may be harbouring an exotic pest. This is not an area for Urban pest managers.
If you suspect borers in your trees – again this is not an area for urban pest managers. The best advice may be to talk to your local plant nursery or tree trimming surgeon.
The Life cycle of the borer is 1-6 years, adult size is 2.5–4.5 mm. They lay 50-100 eggs in open joints, cuts, rough edges, or old flight holes. Their holes are around 1.5–2 mm in diameter. Damaged timbers have a honey comb appearance, with gritty frass being present. In moist conditions, the life cycle can be as short as 1 year and in drier conditions can extend to 6 years (in Sydney usually 3 years). The beetle usually emerges in October to November, but this may vary with weather conditions.
Powderpost beetles vary in size from 3-6mm and are dark brown with short antennae. Larvae are curled with 3 pairs of well defined thoracic legs and two enlarged spiracles on the second last abdomen segment. This borer is considered to be native.
The Powderpost beetle lays its eggs in exposed end pores in the sapwood of susceptible timbers (some hardwood timbers only). The eggs hatch and larvae feed in the sapwood. When fully fed they bore close to the surface of the wood and later emerge as beetles.
Timber Pest Inspectors make their identification of this borer based on the type of wood attacked, on the emergence holes (around 1.5-2.0mm in diameter), and the frass (a fine powdery dust) from their workings.