Damage in floor board in old house may have been by wood beetle

Q: I have an older house with a garage underneath. All of our floors are hardwood. The room directly above the garage has one board that has hollowed out damage on either end that we just discovered as it sort of crushed. None of the other boards show any signs of damage.

Going in the garage under the floor, looking at the bottom of the subfloor and the surrounding joists (this board is not over a joist) there are no signs of damage. Is it possible that termites some how just got in this one board?

A: Are you saying this floor is 3/4″ thick, running in the same direction as the floor joists? That’s a bit of a no-no. Have you seen any indication of termites? They tend to eat the inside of wood structure and leave a paper thin skin on top. But no, they would not be satisfied with just one board. They would likely attack the soft wood first.

Follow-up: No I have never seen a termite, wings, droppings, dust, etc.

Floors are not running the same direction. This is Hardwood flooring, on top of like probably 1 x 6 sub flooring boards, the hardwood flooring runs across, not in the same direction. Subfloor planks are like diagonal if I’m not mistaken. So up top there is one hardwood board that’s soft/hollow on one end. The majority of the board feels solid, then the other end has the same sort of damage. Underneath I can see the joists and the bottom of the subfloor it seems solid there’s not any apparent damage.

A friend said it could be old damage that was treated but not repaired properly. There’s been area rug over the spot so we never noticed it until now. The way we noticed is we actually had damage from a huge tree falling on the house during Irma. So the house is packed out and we will be having all the floors refinished.

A: Ah, okay, now I get the picture. This is clearly an older house. I think I would agree with the person who says this is older damage. It is even possible that board had a wood beetle eating it long ago. If this was termites you would have damage to the sub floor and other areas of the house. Carpenter ants tend to eat channels in the wood without devouring the entire inside of the board. If the floors are to be finished again I would have the one board replaced.

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