Furniture Pests

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Fall in the Capital Region is the perfect opportunity to jump in the car to enjoy the scenery and stop at garage sales and antique shops along the way. Part of the adventure of antiquing is finding unique and historical pieces - and you never know what you will find! Once getting the piece home the adventure begins where to place your new piece and possibly repair, refinishing or decorate it. In addition to care and maintenance, you must protect your furniture from furniture pests that can destroy and ruin valuable pieces.

Insects are the most devious because they are small, work out of sight and have evolved over millions of years to be invisible and indestructible. If left to work undisturbed they can, over a long period of time, destroy a valuable antique and anything else that stands still for that long.

Powder Post Beetles:

  • Powder Post Beetles have the ability to render the insides of a nice piece of wood furniture into a substance the consistency of baby powder.
  • Powder Post Beetles are brownish, dry wood-eating insects ranging in size from one-twelfth to one-fifth inch long.
  • You won’t know you have Powder Post Beetles until they are gone because the main evidence is the exit hole as they leave the furniture.
  • Adult Powder Post Beetles mate and the female lays her eggs in cracks, crevices or old exit holes where they hatch into larvae and eat their way through the yummy cellulose before they pupate and emerge as beetles to start over again.
  • Before treating, consult an exterminator for assistance.

Carpet Beetles:

  • The Carpet Beetle, small, oval-shaped beetles about one-eighth inch long, usually shiny black in the most common form.
  • The Carpet Beetles most destructive phase is in the larvae, which may grow to one-half inch long. They have a voracious appetite for any substance that contains keratin, a principal protein found in animal hair and feathers. Upholstery and carpet are the main targets, especially those that contain wool and horsehair.
  • Vigilance and cleanliness are the best routes for detection and disposal.

Bed Bugs:

  • Bed Bugs don’t actual feed on textiles, but they do like to make their home in them in cracks and crevices.
  • Adult bed bugs are brown to reddish-brown, approximately 3/16-inch long, 1/8-inch wide, broadly oval, and flat.
  • Immature bed bugs (nymphs) are tiny and appear translucent or pale in color. The eggs are pearly white in color and only 1 mm in length, thus they can be very difficult to detect with the naked eye.
  • While Bed Bugs live in the furniture and create damage with their fecal matter and staining, they feed on you too.

The next time you make a purchase, keep in mind pests can infest furniture. Although it is rare to actually see the pest, it does not mean they are silently performing their dirty work. What you can do is look for signs of furniture pests like, chewing marks, exit holes in the surface of wood, webbing, frass (sawdust/powdery substance), insect and body parts and/or fecal pellets or stains. Before treating any piece of furniture contact a pest control professional for advice on protecting your new purchase from furniture pests.


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