Wood has many enemies; fire, moisture, fungus, animals, and bugs just to name a few. Beetles are the subject of this post.
My favorite way to obtain lumber is to find logs from fallen trees and having them sawn up. I recently obtained a 24in diameter walnut log that came from a tree blown down during hurricane Elvis. The log laid on the ground for almost a decade and time took its toll. There was a bad spot on one end and a lot of the sapwood was rotten, but the diameter made the log worth the risk to me.
I am happy to report that the log yielded several 17in wide and clear boards, but during the sawing I discovered a few of these nasty looking critters! Not knowing much about bugs, I assumed the worst. These beetles were going to turn this lumber into sawdust before I could.
After a bit of stress, I decided to try a more logical approach. Google, can you help me? I snapped these pictures of the pests (I only spotted 2) and performed an image search. Within a few seconds I found matching images that lead me to the University of Florida website. According to their research these particular beetles (the horned passalus) live in moist, decaying logs rather than infesting dry lumber. So it seems that the damage should stop when the lumber drys. This is a great relief because I really did not want to kiln dry this lumber or soak it in expensive chemicals. Lesson learned – don’t assume the worst. When dealing with pests get the facts.
Now I just have to wait for my premium lumber to dry naturally and those beetles should be moving on to more rotten pastures.
If you have experiences with wood pests to share, leave them in the comments. Thanks for reading.