Powder post and other wood boring beetles
Powderpost beetles spend months or years inside the wood in the
larval stage. Their presence is only apparent when they emerge
from the wood as adults, leaving pin hole openings and piles of
powdery frass below. The holes are usually about the size of a
round toothpick depending on the species of beetle. If wood
conditions are right, female beetles may lay their eggs and
reinfest the wood, continuing the cycle for generations.
Heavily-infested wood becomes riddled with holes and rooms or
basements packed with a dusty frass (wood that has passed
through the digestive tract of the beetles)
The adult beetles emerge in the spring, mate and begin
laying eggs immediately. Females lay 20 to 60 eggs on bare wood surfaces, or
inside previous emergence holes in finished wood. The larvae hatch out in 6 - 10
days and immediately tunnel into the wood. The larval stage will last 2 to
10years. Furniture beetles pupate near the surface of the wood and chew their
way out to mate.
Eliminating the larval
stage tunneling under the wood surface is almost impossible.
Spraying the surface with a residual insecticide at the time of
adult emergence may reduce the population. Adult females
will not lay eggs on a varnished or painted surface. Eliminating
exposed unfinished wood will prevent reinfestation. Borate
solutions such as TIM-BOR sprayed on new wood will be a good
Both hardwood and softwood can be attacked by Powderpost
beetles, although lyctids only infest hardwoods.Items that can
be infested by Powderpost beetles include any wooden tools or
tool handles, frames, furniture, gun stocks, books, toys,
bamboo, flooring, and structural timbers.
Furniture Beetle (Anobium
This wood-boring insect can damage both softwoods and hardwoods. The larvae
of the beetle bore through the wood digesting the cellulose. After about 3
years they form a pupal chamber near the surface and there change into adult
In the summer they bite their way out to the surface, forming the
characteristic round flight-holes 1.5mm in diameter. After mating, the
females lay their eggs (up to 80) in cracks, crevices or old flight-holes.
The eggs hatch and a new generation begins a fresh life cycle. The life
cycle can be as short as 3 years in damp timber predigested by a
Death Watch Beetle
This wood-boring insect is related to the Common Furniture Beetle, but is
much larger. Its flight-hole is large and round (3mm diameter) and its bore
dust is coarse and bun shaped. The larvae of this beetle are usually found
in decaying oak, and the life cycle from egg to adult can be as short as
four years. In dry, sound wood the larvae may tunnel for up to twelve years
before pupating. As with most other wood-boring insects, it is the larvae,
feeding on the timber, which do all the damage. Eventually the larvae pupate
and turn into beetles, which emerge from the wood, mate, and the cycle
starts agan. The female lays up to 200 eggs. Whilst generally attacking
hardwoods only, this wood boring insect has been known to feed upon decaying
softwood timbers. The well-known tapping, caused by the head of the beetle
is a mating call during the flight season (typically March-June). This
insect is often found in churches hence the association with death reflected
in its name.
This is a wood-boring insect somewhat similar in appearance and size to the
Common Furniture Beetle. There are over 50,000 species of Weevil and all
have long snouts. It also differs in that it will only attack timber which
is already decayed by wood-rotting fungi. The Weevil is prolific and is
known to have up to two complete life cycles in one year. Its presence may
therefore be accompanied by serious structural collapse of timber due to
The Weevil prefers sappy early-wood where both adult and larvae tunnel,
forming slot-like galleries in the timber and irregular flight-hole on the
surface of about 1.5mm wide.
House Longhorn Beetle
This wood-destroying insect attacks seasoned softwoods laying its eggs in
the cracks and crevices of wood. The eggs hatch out within about three weeks
into grubs or larvae.
The larvae tunnel through the wood and can eat their own length once a day.
Since near maturity they are about 25mm long, the damage caused by these
insects can be enormous. After tunnelling for some 4 to 7 years, the adult
beetle emerges from the wood during the mating season, leaving the
characteristic oval flight-hole which may be up to 10mm long and 6mm wide.
After mating, one beetle can lay as many as 200 eggs. In Great Britain this
insect is found mainly in Surrey and Hampshire.
to Inspect Your Home For Powder Post Beetles
These little critters work
slowly, but over time they can cause structural damage to
the wood in your home.
Michigan State University
Home Maintenance and Repair -
Powder post beetles include
several small, brownish,
dry wood-eating insects ranging in size from one-twelfth
to one-fifth inch long. Three families, Lyctidae,
Anobiidae, and Bostrichidae, are most common in Michigan.
Powder post beetles were so named because the wood
upon which they feed is generally eaten into a fine,
flourlike powder. The Lyctus types feed primarily on
hardwoods; the Anobiids prefer to attack softwoods, such
as conifers. They can damage and, in some cases,
eventually destroy (by completely tunneling) all exposed
wood in houses, including furniture and paneling.
here to read the rest of this article:
page tells you how to find them.
This cylindrical shaped beetle (also called powder-post beetle by some) is
reddish brown and 1/6 to 1/4 inch (4 - 6 mm) long. It has punctures on the
dorsum in longitudinal rows. The last three segments of the antennae are longer
than the others.
Food: Wood and reeds. They prefer wood with a high
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