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Author Topic: New Cabin, fresh lumber, many bugs!  (Read 1227 times)

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Offline Randy Richy

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New Cabin, fresh lumber, many bugs!
« on: April 29, 2017, 07:25:37 pm »
I am a relative newbie - 1 year with WM LT15. 

I have been reading through all the posts and although immensely helpful, I still haven't found the solution to my problem.

I am adding a 16x16 extension to a small cabin in central Virginia.  It will be a unique extension using standard stick framing and insulation, cob for thermal mass and timber framing (2.5 bents).  I am chemically sensitive and can't have any toxins what so ever.

I have milled yellow popular for the stick framing.  They seem bug free.  Some of the other logs, oak, maple, locust seems to show signs of bugs, mostly locust. 

Since my cabin is toxic free, I won't spray or use borat and because it is toxic free, any bugs I bring in will have a feast.

I have looked at the Nyle L53 to allow the high temps do the trick but this unit seems to like to keep things around 120 and not up to 140. I did read the posts where you can make it work. However, my lumber is for my own personal use and it seems like a lot of money to purchase it and I really don't have a good location for it.

I am trying to finish the extension this year, so building a solar kiln takes time I really don't have.

Does anyone know a non-toxic way that is affordable to ensure I am not bringing bugs (or their eggs) in for a feast????

Thanks, Randy


Offline Ianab

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Re: New Cabin, fresh lumber, many bugs!
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2017, 08:22:18 pm »
So the bugs are in the green logs?

Don't worry so much about those then.

There are basically two groups of wood eating bugs. Most like wet / green wood, and will attack dead or stressed trees when the wood still has a decent moisture content. So there are bugs that can attack even "bug resistant" wood while it's still green.

The others are like the Powder Post Beetles. These will attack dry wood. They wont actually touch the green stuff. Obviously these are the ones you don't want in your house, but they aren't living in that green wood.

But it's not PBB that are in your logs. Whatever is eating those will tend to die off as the wood dries, although some can hang on and survive for a while in air dried wood, and emerge as bugs a year or more later, but they wont re-infest it once it's dry.

If you see fresh bug dust on your DRY wood, then you have a problem
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Offline Randy Richy

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Re: New Cabin, fresh lumber, many bugs!
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2017, 09:17:56 pm »
Thanks so much Ianab!

I think most is bark Beatles, carpenter ants and termites.  I didn't mention before that I also had a lot of bugs in the pine.  Some pine were dead due to the bark beatles and some weakened by them.  Mostly green.

The posts will be installed green.  Stick framing 1 year air dried.  I haven't seen/noticed PBB here, but could any of these migrate from green to dry or dry to green?

Offline Don P

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Re: New Cabin, fresh lumber, many bugs!
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2017, 10:10:29 pm »
They like poplar sapwood so only use the green heartwood. They aren't too particular where they feed on maple or red oak, in white oak the sapwood and they won't mess with the locust. The chemicals in the heartwood and lack of starch is what prevents them. Once they find you they will migrate.  Poke around in some old barns, those are untreated native species. Largely if there is food there is someone who can eat it.

If you wish to avoid boron, probably need to stop eating, it is a natural plant micronutrient. We are certified organic growers and need to add boron, it is the same chemical I put on wood. You can review the MSDS's of chemicals to get some sense of the level of concern you should have for what you are working with. Very often the most dangerous thing is the wood dust. A number of folks react for instance with locust dust pretty strongly. Is locust without any additional chemicals "safer" than borate treated poplar? Wood is a natural polymer, well, we largely are too. Painting the world with a broad brush usually falls short of seeing things as they really are. But painting with a heavy bodied paint will prevent her from sampling the wood for starch and sticking her ovipositor in. Paints can contain some downright wicked chemicals.


Offline Randy Richy

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Re: New Cabin, fresh lumber, many bugs!
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2017, 10:45:30 pm »
Interesting thoughts Don P - thanks!   Did some reading up on Boron (B, 5th element).  It seems that Boric acid is used as an insecticide which is in the family of borates (B(ho)3) and is considered a poison.  Boron is not.  What are you using as I am also doing organics (not certified) and would like to find as much of a natural solution as possible.

I am sorry if I am getting off topic - I thought the solution would be some type of way of affordably using heat to dry/kill off the bugs/eggs.

Oh, and Don, interestingly enough, I milled the dead standing locust and didn't have any reactions to it at all!  Go figure.

Offline Ianab

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Re: New Cabin, fresh lumber, many bugs!
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2017, 02:51:28 am »
Quote
I haven't seen/noticed PBB here, but could any of these migrate from green to dry or dry to green?

PBB don't attack pine, either green or dry. There is any number of bugs that eat green pine, dead or dying, but once it's dry it's pretty safe.

PBBs attack dry wood only, from other dry wood. So if they get into your wood stash or house, they are are a big problem. But it wont be from green wood.

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Offline Don P

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Re: New Cabin, fresh lumber, many bugs!
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2017, 06:57:32 am »
Yes, heating to above ~150F will kill insects and their eggs... you are protected till the wood cools.

I don't react strongly to locust but do feel it. I've worked with enough cedar to react pretty strongly. When younger I wasn't sensitized to any of those, nor poison ivy for that matter. My point in that is to realize that the extractives that naturally make wood resistant to insects or rot are "poisons" but the old saying is true "dose makes the poison".

Look up the msds on solubor, the ag soil amendment for boron, notice the cas number, then look up timbor the listed insecticide and notice its chemical abstract services number, the same.

PPBs are not the only insect that will infest wood, or dry wood, if there is food there is someone to eat it. My porch pine needs repair, some of it is treated, carpenter bees. I've dealt with old house borers as well. A heavy coat of paint would have been stronger than their jaws. All stuff to think about.

Offline scsmith42

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Re: New Cabin, fresh lumber, many bugs!
« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2017, 10:25:47 am »
There was a great article in Fine Woodworking Magazine a few years back about a simple home sterilization chamber that could be built from foil backed foam board, sawhorses and a space heater.

Send me a pm with an e-mail address if you would like a copy of the article.
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Offline grouch

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Re: New Cabin, fresh lumber, many bugs!
« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2017, 03:29:33 pm »
[snip]
Since my cabin is toxic free, I won't spray or use borat and because it is toxic free, any bugs I bring in will have a feast.
[snip]

So, the cabin is not of this world? Just kidding by taking the statement completely literally.

You might want to read the MSDS (material safety data sheet) for something like Tim-bor (disodium octaborate tetrahydrate). I haven't used artificial fertilizer or any pesticides on my garden, my land, my home in 40 years, haven't allowed the power company to spray their herbicides here, won't even tolerate perfumey crap in the house (air freshener?! it's a nasty choking pollutant!), but I use Tim-bor with no worries. (Just not near the ponds). I'd wager the stuff that oozes out of black walnuts has a higher toxicity.

Offline Randy Richy

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Re: New Cabin, fresh lumber, many bugs!
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2017, 04:44:56 pm »
Thanks Grouch,

Yea, you sound just like me - no air freshener to unfreshen the air - no nothing!

Don P also pointed me in the direction of Tim-bor (and solubor).  I did read the MSDS which sounds like something I wouldn't use.  However both you and Don P, who has a certified organic garden, uses this stuff.

Sounds like time I peel of my prejudices and relook these solutions!

And thanks to scsmith42 - I pm'd you - thanks again!!!

Offline Ianab

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Re: New Cabin, fresh lumber, many bugs!
« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2017, 06:22:30 pm »
Quote
I'd wager the stuff that oozes out of black walnuts has a higher toxicity.

You mean that naturally occurring 5-Hydroxy-p-naphthoquinone ?  You would win that bet.

Here is it's MSDS.
http://www.chemblink.com/MSDS/MSDSFiles/481-39-0_Fisher%20Scientific.pdf
Quote
Danger! Toxic if swallowed. Causes eye, skin, and respiratory tract irritation.

Just because something is "natural" doesn't make it safe. Plants have been developing chemical warfare for millions of years, to protect themselves from bugs and fungus, and have developed some pretty interesting chemicals along the way.

As for the Borax?
Quote
EPA has determined that, because they are of low toxicity and occur naturally, boric acid and its sodium salts should be exempted from the requirement of a tolerance (maximum residue limit) for all raw agricultural commodities

Doesn't mean you want to eat the stuff, but it's considered pretty safe to handle. As far as the EPA is concerned you are free to spray it around, dip things in it etc. As for being "natural", well if you go to the Nevada desert you can pick it up off the ground...

Borax has dozens of "natural" uses, including cleaning, taxidermy, treating boron deficient soils, AND killing borers in wood.
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Offline grouch

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Re: New Cabin, fresh lumber, many bugs!
« Reply #11 on: April 30, 2017, 08:37:23 pm »
[snip]

Just because something is "natural" doesn't make it safe. Plants have been developing chemical warfare for millions of years, to protect themselves from bugs and fungus, and have developed some pretty interesting chemicals along the way.

[snip]

Pyrethrin from chrysanthemums, cyanide from apple seeds -- the veggies are out to rid the world of us walkers.

I bought a little bottle of Murphy Oil Soap based on an internet rumor that it will remove the stench from rubber stall mats. Haven't gathered the guts to open it yet because of a sticker on it that brags, "contains 98% NATURALLY derived ingredients". I'm just scared of the 2% supernatural stuff, I guess. Maybe an exorcism before opening?

Offline WDH

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Re: New Cabin, fresh lumber, many bugs!
« Reply #12 on: April 30, 2017, 08:49:14 pm »
You can heat treat hardwoods in a kiln and kill any PPB, larvae, and eggs.  Next week, when the wood cools, they can infest your once heat treated wood.  Heat treatment only deals with what is currently in the wood before you heat treat it.  It does nothing to help you a month later. 
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Offline Randy Richy

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Re: New Cabin, fresh lumber, many bugs!
« Reply #13 on: April 30, 2017, 09:08:02 pm »
Tim-bor also has 98% and 2% Other.  So many things to be watchful for.  And so many things manufacturer's hide!

Just because the government says something is safe - I don't buy it, and I will look deeper!  Look at MSG and Aspartame - both neuro-toxins - but said to be 'safe' (I react badly to them). 

I was exposed to Sarin Gas and crude oil fire fumes.  So since, I react poorly when around certain toxins.  So the purpose of my cabin is to be toxic free.  But I don't want to invite the bugs in either!  :-)

I am getting the sense there is no approved solution in the Drying process to make things permanently bugs free - rather, it is a dynamic environment that requires constant attention/awareness.

I was hoping for something simple!  :-)


Offline sandsawmill14

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Re: New Cabin, fresh lumber, many bugs!
« Reply #14 on: April 30, 2017, 09:12:19 pm »
[snip]

Just because something is "natural" doesn't make it safe. Plants have been developing chemical warfare for millions of years, to protect themselves from bugs and fungus, and have developed some pretty interesting chemicals along the way.

[snip]

Pyrethrin from chrysanthemums, cyanide from apple seeds -- the veggies are out to rid the world of us walkers.

I bought a little bottle of Murphy Oil Soap based on an internet rumor that it will remove the stench from rubber stall mats. Haven't gathered the guts to open it yet because of a sticker on it that brags, "contains 98% NATURALLY derived ingredients". I'm just scared of the 2% supernatural stuff, I guess. Maybe an exorcism before opening?
i wouldnt worry about the murphys oil soap i have probably used 500 gallons of it over the years for blade lube :) had it in my mouth and everywhere else :D i buy the 32oz bottles by the case when i can get it otherwise i buy the 16 oz bottles  :) if it would hurt you im pretty sure i would already be dead :o ::)
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Offline Randy Richy

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Re: New Cabin, fresh lumber, many bugs!
« Reply #15 on: April 30, 2017, 10:35:35 pm »
" if it would hurt you im pretty sure i would already be dead :o ::)"  (how do you quote someone???)

This quotation reminds me of a quotation said by Bill Maher that starts out:  "You see, there's no money in healthy people, and there's no money in dead people. The money is in the middle: people who are alive, sort of, but with one or more chronic conditions that puts them in need of..."

:-)

Offline Don P

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Re: New Cabin, fresh lumber, many bugs!
« Reply #16 on: April 30, 2017, 10:40:56 pm »
The 2% other in timbor and solubor is water...  always good to check what those "inert" and other ingredients are and good reason to be careful if using something off label. Nothing is simple, there is a whole universe in my navel  :D

Offline RPowers

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Re: New Cabin, fresh lumber, many bugs!
« Reply #17 on: April 30, 2017, 10:55:47 pm »


This quotation reminds me of a quotation said by Bill Maher that starts out:  "You see, there's no money in healthy people, and there's no money in dead people. The money is in the middle: people who are alive, sort of, but with one or more chronic conditions that puts them in need of..."


That is great stuff right there!
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Offline Ianab

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Re: New Cabin, fresh lumber, many bugs!
« Reply #18 on: May 01, 2017, 02:54:10 am »
Quote
I am getting the sense there is no approved solution in the Drying process to make things permanently bugs free - rather, it is a dynamic environment that requires constant attention/awareness.

Well you can pick woods that are naturally bug resistant.

BUT, they do this with their own brew of natural, but toxic chemicals. It would really suck to fit your cabin out in bug proof cedar, only to find you had an allergic reaction to the wood. It has that distinctive smell because the wood is packed with "chemicals", and some folks do get a bad reaction to certain woods. My wife can't handle Port Orford cedar, just the smell gives her a headache.

But likely you will discover anything like this when you try milling any particular log. If you break out in a rash, might be best to avoid that species.
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Offline Don P

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Re: New Cabin, fresh lumber, many bugs!
« Reply #19 on: May 01, 2017, 06:35:56 am »
That is my reaction to WRC. Our clients would come in and say "doesn't that smell nice" when we were building their log home. By then I was pretty sensitized, we all have different levels, I would smile. A friend is that way with teak after years of working on boats. BA Mackie after many years switched from building log homes with chainsaws to working with axes and chisels to keep the fine dust down. In furniture shops I noticed it was the petite women who had the greatest trouble with mineral spirits. Those of us with a more "traditional build" had enough fat that I think it dispersed in places other than just our brain. These are all chemicals, whether naturally derived or synthetically. Hopefully I'm not just piling on, I just don't want you to think natural means safe, I run into that fairly often in the organic folks we know and it can cause them to drop their guard for instance with wearing protective gear because something is organic or natural, it doesn't mean it is safe for us.