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Powderpost Beetles

Actual Size: 0.3-0.6 mm

Characteristics: Powderpost beetles are very small, reddish-brown insects. Typically the only indications of their presence are the small “shot holes” they leave behind as they exit wood materials.

Behavior:

  • Powderpost beetles have flat, long bodies that allow them to attack wood materials.
  • They are part of the wood-boring beetle family, along with the furniture beetle and the deathwatch beetle.
  • Powderpost beetles are capable of reducing timber to a fine, powder-like material.

Pest Description

Powderpost Beetle Behavior

Powderpost females mate often during their lifespan, and prefer laying eggs on rough hardwood. Eggs hatch after approximately eight days, and the subsequent larvae bore into the hardwood, feeding on the wood and tunneling parallel to the grain. After one to five years, adult beetles emerge from infested wood throughout spring and midsummer. The lifespan of an adult powderpost beetle is just a few short months to a year, with very few beetles living more than a year. Powderpost beetles spend most of their lifespan within wood.

Problems Caused by Powderpost Beetles

Powderpost beetles can bite, but rarely do. The real danger of this destructive beetle is their ability to damage wood. They prefer to eat hardwoods, infesting ash, oak, hickory, and walnut. Termites are the only other insect able to do more damage to wood. As they infest dry seasoned wood, powderpost beetles can cause millions of dollars in damage each year.

Preventing Powderpost Beetles

Always inspect wood prior to purchase, whether in furniture form or raw lumber form. Do not purchase any wood with damaged surfaces or obvious shot holes. When purchasing furniture or other wooden objects, make sure the wood has been kiln-dried, or sanded and finished with a varnish. Always apply a shellac or sealant to the surface of untreated wood before bringing it into a workshop or other building. Avoid using old lumber, or lumber purchased from improperly maintained lumber yards. Because the lifespan of a powderpost beetle is so long, problems could emerge even up to five years after purchase.

Eliminating and Controlling Powderpost Beetles

Homeowners are more likely to see evidence of wood damage, rather than the actual beetles themselves. Early detection is the best way to prevent serious damage. The first indication of an infestation is typically a very fine sawdust, found on wood surfaces or beneath the material. There can also be holes, called “shot holes”, that are just under a centimeter in diameter, or 3/8 of an inch. These shot holes mark the places where adult powderpost beetles have emerged. Once these indications have been discovered, a pest control professional should always be consulted, in case there is a larger infestation. At Pest Control Inc, our experts can give advice, and use a variety of different treatment techniques.