How to Control Old House Borers

How to Control Old House Borers

There is a lot of history in the Carolinas and Virginia. Some of the very first settlers landed in our area first. It makes sense to us why people would look around here and want to call this region home. From the stunning views in the Blue Ridge Mountains to the rolling foothills of the piedmont, our area is truly special. 

There are many old, historic towns and cities in northwestern North Carolina, the Upstate of South Carolina, and Virginia. From Rock Hill to Charlotte, Winston-Salem to Wilkesboro, and Mt. Airy to Galax, there are many gorgeous old homes and properties with plenty of life left in them. 

If you have purchased a home built decades ago, you know there are always a few unique characteristics. Unfortunately, it is easy to overlook issues, mistaking them as quirks. The presence of old house borers can be easily missed by homeowners. 


In this article, we want to help you have the tools to identify and control these destructive beetles. 

What Are Old House Borers?

Old house borers are one of the most damaging wood-boring insects. One of the most destructive wood-boring insects is the old house borer. 

They are members of the "long-horned beetle family," and lay their eggs in the fissures and cracks of logs and wood in lumber yards. They are, unfortunately, more common in newer residences than in older ones. 

Their eggs can take years to hatch, but once they do, the larvae start tunneling through the wood for nourishment. The clicking sound made by the larvae as they eat is often used to detect an infestation of old house borers.

Adult old house borers are brownish-black beetles with many gray hairs on the head and thorax, two noticeable black bumps on the prothorax, and long antennae that are 5/8 to 1 inch long. The thorax features a shining ridge down the center and a shiny elevated knob on either side that resembles a face with two eyes. 

The pale patches on the wing coverings form two uneven bands or dots around the middle. Larvae can grow up to 1-1/4 inch long and feature little ocelli (black eyespots) on each side of the head. They're flesh-colored, wedge-shaped (wider at the head), segmented, and have legs. Pupae have a fleshy tint and are about the size of a beetle.

For more about wood-destroying insects, read this article.

Signs You Have Old House Borers

Many wood-destroying insects are difficult to detect. Old House Borers spend much of their life as larvae and they are small and relatively inactive until they reach adulthood. However, there are a few things for which to watch, and better yet, listen:

  • They build tunnels and sometimes you may notice their entry and exit holes. 
  • They sometimes leave frass or small bits of powdery sawdust-like shavings around their tunnels. 
  • As with many pests, you might see their fecal matter, which will appear small and powdery. 
  • The most telling sign of old house borers is what you hear. As they chew and destroy your home’s wood flooring, cabinets, or furniture, you may actually hear a clicking sound. This is the calling card of old house borers.

Some of these signs are similar to other wood-destroying insects, such as termites. If you see evidence of chewed wood, but don’t hear a clicking sound, it could be indicative of something like termites

How to Control Old House Borers

Old house borers can do a lot of damage, so you’re going to want to get rid of them as soon as possible. The best thing you can do to get rid of old house borers is to call your trusted beetle exterminator. 

Wood-boring beetles, like the old house borers, are quite common in our area. They attack homes instead of humans and feast on furniture, cabinets, floors, doors, support beams, and other wood items. These hungry, destructive pests are more in newer homes and are common throughout the South, and they can wreak havoc. Rid-A-Bug can control and exterminate any beetles. 

If you are buying or selling a home, you may find yourself needing a wood-destroying insect report (WDIR). This is a report that only qualified inspectors may execute. It is completed, by law, on all residential and commercial properties being sold or refinanced. It takes special note of any signs of visible infestation by wood-destroying insects, including:

  • Subterranean termites
  • Powder post beetles
  • Old house borers
  • Carpenter ants
  • Carpenter bees

Rid-A-Bug can help with your wood-destroying insect report if your house is suspected to have an old house borer infestation. 

Our experienced professionals can help you get rid of old house borers and prevent them from coming back. Since 1972, we've been serving North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. 

Visit our website for additional information on how to properly control and prevent this. Call Rid-A-Bug today if you want to get rid of any type of insect infestation within your home.