There might be beetles living in your trendy rustic-chic log furniture

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If you're thinking about buying a piece of that rustic log furniture you keep on your Pinterest board, here's a good reason to buy local.

The popular rustic-chic look comes with a risk – bugs. Big, squishy, hiding-inside-your-new-chair bugs.

Last year, officials investigated two incidents of non-native beetles being found in log furniture that was imported from China and sold in Minnesota and Wisconsin. You can see a photo of a larva above.

These invasive insects can harm the state's forests, which is why the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) and officials in Wisconsin are warning people who own log furniture to be on the lookout for signs of insect damage.

Wisconsin officials Brian Kuhn said the two state agencies worked with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to "gather as much of the furniture as we could and stop any ongoing sales."

But there's a chance officials didn't get all of the infested furniture, so some could be in people's homes. Officials noted that insects can live in log furniture for two or more years. When they leave the furniture to look for new hosts is when they can go damage trees. An example of this is emerald ash borer that's been destroying ash trees in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

“This is a good reminder that invasive insects ... can get into the state in many ways,” Geir Friisoe, Director of MDA’s Plant Protection Division said in a news release. “There is furniture manufactured in this style that is safe out there; however, it is important when shopping for this type of furniture to remember that buying local is always best and reputable sources should be used.”

Signs your furniture has these bugs

If you bought log furniture that was manufactured out of the country, keep an eye out for the following signs:

  • There's sawdust around the furniture. This could be a sign insects are active in the wood.
  • The wood has visible exit holes. If there are small round tunnels in the furniture, it's a sign the insects were in the furniture and burrowed their way out.
  • If there's loose bark with tunneling underneath, it's a good sign the wood was infested at some point.

And if you find these beetles in your furniture, don't just put it outside and expect the problem to go away. That's how they can spread. 

Instead, if the furniture you have is showing any of these signs, you should contact the MDA's Arrest the Pest line at 888-545-6684, or email arrest.the.pest@state.mn.us.

The MDA also has tips on what to look for when buying rustic log furniture to make sure yours isn't infested.

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