Timber Insect Damage? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 12-16-2018, 01:59 PM Thread Starter
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Timber Insect Damage?

Hello everybody,

We are currently in the process of buying a property in France. We had a survey done on the property, but it didn’t flag up anything suspicious on the timber used to support the roof. I don’t fully trust the report, so I thought I’d ask here if anyone has come across this...

I had a look on the timber and it has some sort of loose material in most of its crevices. It seems almost like saw dust, but I would be surprised if that’s what it is as the timber has been in place for a long time.

Attached a photo of the timber beam, where I have highlighted some of the affected areas.

Any ideas what this might be?
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post #2 of 8 Old 12-16-2018, 02:00 PM Thread Starter
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Here is the picture.
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post #3 of 8 Old 12-16-2018, 02:10 PM
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do they have termites and Powderpost Beetles in France ?
[there are about seventy species of wood boring beetles].
hard to narrow it down without seeing some of the dead
or living insects.

.

.

-- I am a painter. That's what I do. I paint things --
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post #4 of 8 Old 12-16-2018, 02:12 PM
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That post has timber-boring insect damage.

You judge by the boring tunnels packed with wood particles.

Does the frass/sawdust build up in little piles at the bottom of the post?
If so, you have live insects, active damage.
The best thing is to find another house.
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post #5 of 8 Old 12-16-2018, 06:46 PM
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To me it looks like the insect damage was done while the tree was living. I get flathead wood borers in the hickory wood on my place and that is what it looks like to me.

I think France has more powder post beetles than anywhere but they make the tiniest holes on the exterior and eat up everything inside until the board crumbles into dust. They don't make large channels
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post #6 of 8 Old 12-17-2018, 02:50 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you guys, that’s what I feared. Will have a look if I can see any piles of dust collection on the floor...
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post #7 of 8 Old 12-17-2018, 09:20 AM
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This log is definitely damaged....BUT there's several factors that play into this as panic or not. I personally see the fear of what's to be done and safety. This is a great question for Jay Whitecloud here as he sees more of this in his line of profession.

Some of the factors I see are:
1) How old is this structure???
2) How long has this one log been damaged??? 1 & 2 go together or seperate. When originally built say 200 yr old and log has been this way 100 yrs I wouldn't be as concerned BUT IF it was built 50 yr ago or less I'd worry about the structure as a whole.
3) is it structual or structual supporting??? It appears structual from pics
4) Are there others??? This tells whether it's confined to one log or total structure.
5) when were the repairs around it made??? recent , a few years, 10 or more?? it appears recent painting BUT I'm cleaning on a vintage 1966 home with great original paint still in place that once cleaned it appears near new.

Jay it's you're turn.....I'm at the end of my feeble knowledge with historic timbers.
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post #8 of 8 Old 12-17-2018, 10:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fabian View Post
Hello everybody,

We are currently in the process of buying a property in France. We had a survey done on the property, but it didnít flag up anything suspicious on the timber used to support the roof. I donít fully trust the report, so I thought Iíd ask here if anyone has come across this...

I had a look on the timber and it has some sort of loose material in most of its crevices. It seems almost like saw dust, but I would be surprised if thatís what it is as the timber has been in place for a long time....Attached a photo of the timber beam, where I have highlighted some of the affected areas...Any ideas what this might be?
Hello Fabian,

First, to validate, it is virtually impossible to diagnose properly (or with any great confidence) a Coleoptera infestation (or possible infestation) without seeing specimen sampling of the frass, as well as any other field data that could be collected...With that what I am sharing is strictly speculation.

Again, I am just going on one photo, but that looks like either one of the spruce, fir or pine species known to that region of Europe. I am relatively sure (~70%) it's a conifer species of some type.

I also believe this is a "dead infestation" and nothing to worry about. What you are seeing (aka the powder) is impacted frass from the larva of some form of Cerambycidae family member (Longhorn Beetle) that requires bark on a timber (usually) to carry out a full and effective life cycle. Even after a timber is up and may have a larva in it, there still really isn't any concern generally for this species doing any structural or long term damage..

Please feel free to reach out to me directly by email (easily found online or here in my profile) or you can link with me on LinkedIn. I may be able to give further assistance if you feel it is truly necessary. I would also offer, that on your side of the "pond" one of my friends and dear colleagues may well have contacts in your area. Peter Ward is a professional Historic Survey Specialist and Historic Restoration expert for the region. I believe he does (or knows who does) work throughout France. His is the Director at Heritage House Restoration. I also can put you in touch with several traditional Timberwrights there as well...
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