Boric Acid to Treat for Bugs??

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by Charles Johnson, Oct 8, 2017.

  1. Charles Johnson

    Charles Johnson

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    I was recently given some very nice cherry logs that unfortunately turned out to have powder post beetles in them. I would like to treat the cut up blanks to kill the little buggers, rather than let them chew up/ruin the wood and, much worse, be invited into my shop. A while ago, a termite inspector suggested spraying with bifenthrin, but that's nasty stuff and I wouldn't want to turn such treated wood into small shavings and sawdust all over myself.

    Boric acid was an alternative suggested by the local ag extension officer. Seems much more promising, either as disodium octaborate tetrahydrate in Bora-Care (fairly expensive at $70 to $120 for a gallon jug) or boric acid powder ($15 for a 5# bag).

    Does anyone have experience with either of these products? One issue is effectiveness; the more important one is health safety. Any other ideas? I'll adopt whatever program for all incoming raw wood. Many thanks.
     
  2. charlie knighton

    charlie knighton

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    heavy duty trash bag hooked up to car exhaust
     
  3. john lucas

    john lucas

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    I've heard that many times but have yet to try it. Putting the suspect wood in a plastic bag with moth balls works. I good friend tried it and had great success.
     
  4. Richard Coers

    Richard Coers

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    I was under the impression that Bora-Care and Timbor prevented infestations, not eliminate them after infestation.
     
  5. Zach LaPerriere

    Zach LaPerriere

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    I use borate rods in posts that go straight into the ground, and they clearly kill bugs, because I find dead bugs near where the rods are inserted. All the info suggests that you shouldn't touch borate rods with bare hands, so while borates are fairly green, I can't imagine the wood could be considered food grade after use.
    Carbon dioxide seems like a great idea, or possibly freezing long term. I wonder about soaking/ponding in salty water for a while.
     
  6. Mike Johnson

    Mike Johnson

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    A good soaking in alcohol would also work.
     
  7. Perry Hilbert

    Perry Hilbert

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    Powder post beetles are active only about two or three weeks per year. That leaves a long dormancy to treat the wood. Microwave useable pieces, treat with boric acid, or heat them up to the point that the eggs are killed.

    If you can arrange a sort of kiln, powder post beetles are very suceptible to heat. 120 degrees f for over 30 minutes does them in. A solar kiln, ought to reach that temperature..
     
  8. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    I tried moth balls on mesquite borers and it didn't faze them.
     
  9. john lucas

    john lucas

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    They are Texas Tough. :)
     
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