What kind of wood destroying monstrosity(s) are working at the underside of my old home

Asked August 3, 2016, 12:40 PM EDT

The underside of my historic home in Houston, TX is littered with what I assume are egg casings and damaged wood (mostly small holes). I'm only now getting around to making and dating the damage so I'm not just relying on my faulty memory.

I've had two different termite inspections (of course I'm the fool that didn't go under with them) come back to say that we've no active infestations, but I swear things are in fact getting worse.

First things first, can the Community identify the bugs, and second what is the best treatment? Ideally chemical as I'd like to preserve 'historic' content.

There are holes and what I think are tubes. The holes made me think they are supposed to be powderpost beetles, but my understanding is that my underside is pine and that the casing I'm seeing are not what you would see with PPB's as they are exclusive to hardwoods (and tend to fresher HW, and mine is >100 years old!)

thanks for any insight. I'd love to open a dialog(s) with knowledgeable folks.

Harris County Texas

3 Responses

It is hard to identify problem with just a picture of the damage. I asked an opinion from one of my colleagues and we both agreed that the holes look like powder post beetle kick-out holes, but the wood damage reminds us of that which is caused by Formosan termites.

I highly suggest you get a pest control professional to inspect the property. They can give you a good site identification. I suggest you contact more than one company so you will have more than one opinion and choice for treatment.

Here are links to several articles that may of interest to you.





Thank you for your thoughts and insight. Unfortunately I've never seen an active bug at the sites in question in order to properly document. I have, however seen many egg casings adhered to the underside of the joists and subfloor. They are around 1.5cm long and shown [abeit poorly in the image of the subfloor underside].
From what I've seen of powderpost beetles online, one should not such a large casing, not should it be on the exterior of the wood? Also attached is what I had thought was a smoking gun (however, I found it dead on the porch nowhere near any of the damage and about 4 times the size of the beetles described in the articles you'd sent; so maybe it is an unrelated insect).

Thank you again for your time and expertise.

Wish I could be of more help.