Powderpost Beetle Job Preserves Classic Structures

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April 4, 2021

Robinson

Treating homes for termites and other wood-destroying pests is not unusual for Mike Robinson, owner of Waverly Pest Control, Wappingers Falls, N.Y., but a recent job put all of his skills to the test. In July 2020, Robinson was called to the country estate of a high-end client, whose property includes 22 structures (everything from an old firehouse, to storage barns, to special event barns). Seven of the 22 structures were under siege from powderpost beetles.

Robinson said he recognized it was a powderpost beetle infestation because of the presence of powdery dust piles, numerous pin holes made by the beetles, as well as witnessing insects emerge from structural beams. Other than the powderpost beetle damage, the 150-year-old structures were in good shape and looked magnificent on the property.

The owner wanted to preserve all of the structures, and both Robinson and the owner did not want them discolored. Robinson contacted Rick Allen of Target Specialty Products, who in turn connected him with Dr. Reid Ipser, director of technical services, Nisus. Ipser recommended treating the structures with Bora-Care.

The other challenge facing Robinson was figuring a way to disperse product to elevated areas, some as high as 60 feet.

Exterior (top) and interior (left) of a barn Waverly Pest Control treated for powderpost beetles. Bora-Care was used to treat the structure (right).

“I wound up reconfiguring my power spray rig, which I use for termite jobs. I was able to premix all of the product, get it into the 50-gallon tank. And then we just adapted some of the nozzle tips on our JD-9 spray guns to be able to handle the spray of that thickness,” said Robinson, who added that he was able to “tinker around” and find “a good, wide, consistent fan spray to be able to shoot with the pressure behind it to reach these areas.”

Robinson said he did a tremendous amount of prep work and the job required a lot of attention to detail. “They had hanging globes, smoke detectors and a lot of other things to cover with barriers.”

Working with one other employee per day, the job took a total of seven weeks (it was completed in October) and Robinson has since been making follow-up visits. Both he and the client have been happy with the results, which included no discoloration and no subsequent powderpost beetle infestations.

“One of the structures is used for really large events like weddings, so it is really a big deal in his line of work to have this done properly and to make sure it was done so that nobody knew it was done,” said Robinson, who added that another one of the structures houses one of the largest collections of vinyl records in the world (and includes donations from Keith Richards).

Successfully completing this project gave Robinson a great sense of pride. “Being that we’re a small to mid-sized company, it was quite a challenge that was presented before me. It was really a monumental task to be able to reach those areas and get the product applied correctly and efficiently, but we did it.”

Robinson, who owns a 1949 Chevy truck and has an appreciation for classic structures, said he was honored to play a role in preserving structures that he hopes will be around for future generations. — Brad Harbison