Entomology (Study of Bugs)/log furniture


I make log furniture as a hobby. I have had a couple of situations where there have been larvae embedded in the logs such as birch for example. I assembled the bed using birch in the fall. The bed was in a 70 degree home during the winter months when these black wasp looking insects started emerging thru the birch bark. I realize the best method would be a kiln with extended high heat to kill any bugs, but I do not have access to one. My question is If I put the logs in a thick large plastic bag and put ammonia or rubbing alcohol in the bag as well and sealed it air tight for a month or too would this kill any bugs inside the wood?

Dear Barry - It sounds like the trees from which the logs came may have been infested with a type of wood wasp - see http://tinyurl.com/llt539c for an example. If this is the case, you really don't have anything to worry about, as they will not infest/damage anything in your (or anyone else's for that matter) home. I'm not sure whether the control method you mentioned would work; I would suggest that if you place the wood pieces in a heavy-duty plastic bag (like large contractor/construction bags), that you then remove as much air as possible from the bag and place some dry ice in it before sealing it. As the dry ice sublimates, carbon dioxide will saturate the atmosphere remaining in the bag.  Also, during summer months, you simply could leave the wood in sealed black plastic bags out in the full sun. The temperature in the bags should exceed the lethal limit for any insects therein, but to be sure, this should be done for a period of at least several days.

Hope this helps,

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Ed Saugstad


Will accept most questions in general entomology, including those related to medical entomology, taxonomy, ecology, arthropod surveillance, and pest management. If you are requesting a 'mystery bug' identification, PLEASE either attach an image to your question, or post an image on a web page (such as Flickr) so that I can look at it, as verbal descriptions frequently are insufficient for a definitive identification.


21 years in the U.S. Army as a medical entomologist; duties varied from surveillance of pest populations (including mosquitoes, cockroaches, ticks, and stored products pests) to conducting research on mosquito-virus ecological relationships and mosquito faunal studies. Ten years as a civilian analyst for the Department of Defense, primarily on distribution of vector-borne diseases worldwide. Limited experience on surveillance of agricultural insects in North Dakota and Indiana.

Entomological Society of America, West Virginia Entomological Society, Society for Vector Ecology, National Speleological Society, West Virginia Association for Cave Studies.

American Journal of Public Health, Contributions of the American Entomological Institute, Japanese Journal of Sanitary Zoology, Journal of Economic Entomology, Mosquito News, and Mosquito Systematics.

B.S. in entomology from North Dakota State University in 1963, M.S. in entomology from Purdue University in 1967.

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