How to Eliminate Beetles in a Finished Slab

Heating in a kiln to 130 degrees Fahrenheit will destroy the finish, but it's the only sure, safe way to kill the bugs. June 18, 2010

My lumber supplier came to me to ask some advice. My supplier sent out a large slab top 2 3/4 thick to be finished that was clear coated and after sitting for a few days the finisher noticed saw dust on the floor under the top. Apparently something has gotten into the slab or was in the slab and is going to town boring away. The lumber supplier wants to put it into the kiln to kill the infestation. What will this do to the finish at 170 degrees? What options are there? This is a $5000 top.

Forum Responses
(Furniture Making Forum)
From contributor B:
I am having a similar problem. I have a finished slab bench made of ambrosia maple with what appeared to be some termite holes near the end of the board. I assumed they were inactive as the slab sat in my shop for months before I turned it into its current form. It has been finished for about four months. Recently I started noticing tiny piles of ultra fine powder on top of the finish. After close (magnifying glass) inspection I can see a pinprick of a hole, 1/64th" or less that every few hours or so is letting out more dust. I do not have access to a kiln.

From Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
Maybe you can rent a closed trailer and a safe heater. Put the top in this hot box and maybe a few large bowls of water (to prevent dry air). Heat so that the wood internal temp is over 130 F for an hour.

From contributor U:
My infestation worsened to the point that I thought it was all lost. I spoke to a friend of a friend who works at a museum and knows a lot about furniture preservation and he was telling me about a freezer they have at the museum (he said I may be able to use if I can't fix it the easy way) but he suggested I use acetone and a syringe. It appears to be working. I injected about 100 holes that I could tell were actively being eaten and left the bench it for a week. For the first week I saw no activity and then I noticed about five dust piles.

From Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
Appreciate that the holes weaken the wood. Also, eggs can hatch over the next year or so.