Wood-Boring Beetles in Houses

Wood-Boring Beetles in Houses

If you own a home in the foothills, piedmont, or mountains of the Carolinas or Virginia, there is no shortage of benefits. You live within a relatively short drive of countless miles of hiking trails to explore. Our region has some of the premier mountain biking trail systems on the East Coast and world-class mountain climbing areas. 

If you enjoy water sports, you can float, fish, or kayak down many of the area’s rivers and creeks. When you’re not enjoying the outdoors, we have charming small towns and exciting cities like Winston-Salem, Charlotte, Boone, North Wilkesboro, Wilkesboro, Elkin, Mt. Airy, Galax, and Rock Hill. There is plenty to keep you and your family busy in the Carolinas and Virginia. 

With so much to do, you may find you are home just long enough to sleep and eat. Even if that’s the case, you still expect all your guests to check in with you before they call your house their home. 

Wood-boring beetles, however, are not courteous houseguests. They move in and take over without your permission. They can hide for years, do a lot of damage, and refuse to move out even if you ask. 


In this article, we are providing an overview of wood-boring beetles. Following blogs will take a deeper look at specific types of wood-borers. Here, we will discuss what they are, how to find them, and what to do about them. 

What Are Wood-Boring Beetles?

Wood-boring beetles are among the most hated pests for homeowners. They are prominent members of the club of wood-destroying insects, which we discuss in more detail in this article. There are a few different types of this type of beetle, but they share similar characteristics. 

For more information about wood-destroying insect reports, visit this page

Adult beetles lay their eggs in cracks and crevices in wood, and the larvae, often known as woodworms, eat their way out over several years. Outdoor decks, hardwood floors, furniture, and support beams may develop holes and tunnels as a result of this. Here are a few types of beetles that could be wreaking havoc in your house:

Powderpost Beetles

Powderpost beetles are slim and reddish-brown to black in color. Larvae are often white or cream-colored, and their distinctive C shape makes them easy to spot. 

Even when there is an infestation of powderpost beetles, you usually do not see them. Rather, you might notice fine dust deposits near small exit holes in wood.

Deathwatch Beetles

Deathwatch beetle larvae fill their pathways with very small frass pellets, smaller than the pellets produced by drywood termites, giving their frass a little grittier consistency than powderpost beetles but not as coarse as false powderpost beetles.

Deathwatch insects prefer softwoods, particularly Douglas-fir, which is utilized in girders, beams, foundation timbers, and certain furniture. This beetle is most commonly found in old wood or partially deteriorated wood. 

Because deathwatch beetles prefer moist wood to powderpost beetles, they may be less of an issue in homes with central heating and air conditioning; you're more likely to find them in damp places, basements, or barns. 

Old House Borers

In most cases, an infestation is identified after the larvae have begun to eat through wood buildings. The adults produce a 14-inch diameter while emerging from a piece of wood, causing much more harm.

They are brownish-black beetles with abundant gray hairs on the head and thorax, two visible black lumps on the prothorax, and 5/8 to 1 inch long antennae. A shining ridge runs along the center of the thorax, with a shining raised knob on either side that mimics a face with two eyes.

Signs You Have Wood-Boring Beetles

Do you have reason to suspect the presence of wood-boring beetles? How can you tell the difference between beetles, termites, and carpenter ants? Here are some warning signs you have wood-boring beetles in your home:

  • Frass, shavings, or powdery substances around wood surfaces.
  • Holes and tunnels in your wood floors, cabinets, and furniture. 
  • Deterioration of wood surfaces. 
  • For old house borers especially, you are likely to hear clicking sounds as these beetles eat your home.

Many of the signs of wood-boring beetles are similar to other wood-destroying insects, like termites. Here are a few of the more distinctive signs of termites

What to Do About Wood-Boring Beetles

Regardless of the type of wood-destroying insects you have in your home, the best thing you can do to mitigate damage is to exterminate them as quickly as possible. For wood-boring beetles, you can also deter them by:

  • Reducing the moisture in your home. 
  • Repair any water damage and replace rotting wood. 
  • Have your wood sanded and treated. 
  • Seal your basement or crawlspace.

If you need help getting rid of wood-boring beetles or other destructive insects, you can trust the team at Rid-A-Bug for help sending these unwanted guests packing. 

We will also help you take steps that will prevent their return. For more information or to get started exterminating wood-boring beetles, contact the team at Rid-A-Bug Exterminating