What Are Powderpost Beetles?

What Are Powderpost Beetles?

When you purchase a home, you know you want to make sure you protect it. When we think about the  potential threats to our homes, we picture big things such as:

  • Hurricanes, tornadoes, and other natural disasters
  • Fires and floods
  • Burglars and home invaders
  • Aging roofing, HVAC units, and other big maintenance issues

One of the biggest threats to your home is also one of the smallest. Wood-boring beetles can wreak unseen havoc on your home, causing expensive structural damage, and reducing your property’s value. Powderpost beetles are one such wood-destroying insect of which you’ve never heard. In this article, we are discussing this damaging, unfriendly insect and what you can do about it. 


What Is a Powderpost Beetle?

Powderpost beetles are wood-destroying insects. You can read more about wood-destroying insects here

Powderpost beetles burrow into wood and lay their eggs on the surface of untreated wood or in tunnels close beneath the surface. Powderpost beetle infestations take longer to develop than termite infestations, and beetle larvae typically spend years chewing through wood components and releasing powdery wood debris.

The cellulose and lignin components of the wood are indigestible to powderpost beetle larvae. They create tunnels through the wood’s interior, weakening the core. 

Wood powder on the ground and tiny holes where adult beetles have emerged from the wood are signs of a powderpost beetle infestation. Adult beetles emerge from wood in the spring and summer, depending on the region.

What They Look Like

Powderpost beetles are reddish-brown to black in appearance and quite slender. Larvae are usually white or cream-colored, and their C shape makes them easily identifiable if you can see them. When it comes to powderpost beetles, you normally don’t notice them, even when there is an infestation. Rather, what you might see are collections of fine dust near little exit holes in wood.

Types of Powder Post Beetles

  • Anobiid Powderpost Beetles: These powderpost beetles hang out in crawl spaces and other poorly ventilated places where moisture tends to gather. 
  • Lyctid Powderpost Beetles: These beetles lay their eggs in dead and dry hardwoods, such as tree limbs and branches. Until they are identified in stored lumber, rafters, finished wood, and furniture products, their presence is often overlooked.
  • Bostrichidae Powderpost Beetles: Because this species does not reinfest wood once it has been seasoned, the impact they have is confined to one generation. The rate of damage, on the other hand, can be rather high. Oak, firewood, and furniture are all good places to look for them.

How Can I Tell If I Have Powderpost Beetles?

Just like with many wood-destroying insects, powderpost beetles can be difficult to detect. Their presence can be overlooked for years and even decades. If you have hardwoods or wood furniture, inspect them for these signs:

  • Decay: Wood that decays or seems to crumble inexplicably could be indicative of a powderpost beetle infestation. 
  • Holes: If your floors or furniture have numerous minuscule holes, you could have a powderpost beetle infestation.
  • Feces: Piles of tiny feces near cabinets, flooring, furniture, and other wood surfaces could be a sign of powderpost beetles. 
  • Powder: A fine, powdery substance near your wood surfaces is a likely warning sign of powderpost beetles. 

Some of these signs are similar to other beetles and wood-destroying insects like termites. If you find any of these or other signs, you need help from a professional extermination team

What Can I Do About Powderpost Beetles?

If you suspect you have a powderpost beetle infestation, there are a few steps you can take to get rid of them. 

  • Step One: The first step is to lower the moisture content of the wood to less than 20% moisture. Moisture monitors can be used to determine the amount of moisture in a piece of wood. Moisture can be controlled with the use of central heating, vapor barriers, dehumidification systems, and providing enough ventilation. 

Rid-A-Bug offers Thermal, Acoustical, and Pest Control (TAP) insulation installation for your attic and crawlspace. Developed with environmentally-friendly techniques, TAP will help lower your home's energy consumption, control moisture, reduce organic growth, and keep unwanted pests out of your attic and crawlspace. 

  • Step Two: Repair water-damaged wood. You may not even be aware of water damage in your home, but if there has been flooding from a leak, plumbing problems, or excessive humidity, it could be creating an environment perfect for powderpost beetles.

 Repairing water-damaged wood will not only help make your home less appealing to powderpost beetles but other wood-destroying insects as well. 

  • Step Three: Have your wood sanded and varnished. Adult beetles will not be attracted to sanded and varnished wood because they are unable to penetrate the wood surface or locate cracks and crevices in which to lay their eggs.

Whatever you can do to decrease the availability of your wood to powderpost beetles can help.

  • Step Four: Tim-bor or Boracare can be used to treat infested furniture that is unpainted (not varnished, painted, waxed, or sealed). Bora Care and Timbor work together to keep newly hatched larvae out of the woods. 

Fumigation chambers can be used to cure infested furniture that cannot be treated with products like Tim-bor and Bora Care. Infested furniture is fumigated in fumigation chambers. Look for pest control companies that have fumigation licenses.

  • Step Five: Contact an expert powderpost beetle exterminator. They can be so challenging to control; it may be necessary to call in the experts. 

Rid-A-Bug Exterminating Powderpost Beetle Control

Powderpost beetles are an insect that you should not try to get rid of on your own. Pesticides can be hazardous, and they don't always work as well as they should. 

Give the pros at Rid-A-Bug a call for more information on how to properly eliminate and prevent this insect. We can help you with any pest issues or scenarios you may have. We typically respond within 24 hours.