Various sapwood-heartwoodconfigurations can be found in sawn timber.
It is emphasised that lyctine beetles attack only thesapwood (Figure 3) of certain hardwoods and do notattack softwoods.Three conditions govern susceptibility: moisturecontent, pore size and starch content. Wood withabout 15 per cent moisture content is most suitablefor development of larvae. Only hardwoods havepores and lyctines attack only the sapwood of hardwood species with pores larger than thediameter of the ovipositor of the female. Susceptibletimber species must also contain enough starch tonourish the developing larvae. The heartwood of hardwoods is never infested, although adults mayemerge through it. Coniferous woods have differentfood reserves and cell structure and therefore are notsusceptible.Most attacks take place at the saw-mill, in logs orsawn timber that are drying. Evidence of infestationmay not become apparent until the timber is in-service and adults begin to emerge. Infested timbercontains numerous galleries packed with finepowdery frass. The whole of the infested area maybe reduced to powder leaving only a shell of woodon the outside, perforated by emergence holes.Small piles of frass may be found where a galleryhas broken the surface or where an adult beetle hasemerged. The frass is smooth and floury (not gritty)when rubbed between the fingers.Infestation may occur anywhere in the structure wheresusceptible timber has been used (for example, insubfloor areas, living space, roof space, or in furnitureand artefacts). In new houses, emergence holes mayappear in the lining materials (for example, inplasterboard and panelling) and joinery. Such holes aremade by adults emerging from the hardwood framingbeneath.
No single treatment for lyctine attack is suitable in allcircumstances. The following options are available:
In most circumstances no control measures arerequired because the damage is not of structuralsignificance. For example, damage to a section of afence paling may be of little consequence. Exitholes in plasterboard, overlying a small section of infested sapwood in the framing material, can beeasily filled to restore the original appearance.However, appearance holes may continue for ayear or longer, depending upon the amount of sapwood available for infestation. Whereappearances are important, control measures maybe required. For example, damage in floors orpanelling may be of consequence. If lyctinedamage is found in a building more than 5 yearsold, control measures are not usually necessary,because supplies of susceptible material shouldhave been exhausted.
In some cases removal of infested sapwood fromaffected timber may be easy. For example,sapwood can be chiselled from an infestedhardwood post in a pergola.
The replacement of affected timber with non-susceptible material may be a practical option. Forexample, an infested floorboard, windowsill ortable leg can be replaced to remove the infestation.
Items of furniture can be disinfested by fumigation.Small items, like carved souvenirs, are disinfestedby placing them in a freezer for a week or so.