It can be confusing, trying to unravel the mystery of a powder post beetle infestation. The first problem that arises is that it can be difficult to determine whether or not an infestation is current and active. Powder post beetles lay their eggs in the pores just under the surface of unfinished wood. When the eggs hatch, the larvae tunnel into the wood and stay in there for as long as five years. If this happens before you purchase wood for your home, you could acquire an infestation without realizing it. If you have tiny shot holes in purchased wood, it doesn't mean there are powder post beetle grubs inside. There are pest control measures, such as fumigation, that can effectively eliminate larvae and arrest active grubs in wood timbers. So, how can you know you have a powder post beetle problem? And, if you have one, what can you do about it? Here's what you need to know.
Powder Post Beetle Detection
What's in a name? Quite a bit actually. Powderpost beetles are a group of beetles that range in size from ⅛ to ¾ of an inch long, and are known for reducing dry, seasoned wood to a flour-like powder. If you find powder on the timbers of your home, this is a strong sign that you have a powderpost beetle infestation. Vacuum the powder up and see if more powder is generated.
Powderpost beetles push their fine powder out of tiny holes. These holes can look like someone shot the wood with buck shot. If you see holes where there were no holes before, you have an active infestation. It can be difficult to tell. We recommend drawing a circle around the holes you're finding. If new holes appear in places where there are no circles, you have an active infestation.
While powderpost beetles are nocturnal, they are attracted to light. Adults that emerge from wood can sometimes be found on window sills. If you see these insects, it is important that you're able to properly identify them. Each of the three types of powderpost beetle we have in Aiken are slightly different in appearance. Do a search for lyctids, anobiids, and bostrichids to check out the differences.
DIY Powder Post Beetle Control
If your home has not been attacked by these beetles yet, you can protect wood by staining, painting, or varnishing the timbers. This prevents adult beetles from laying eggs. It doesn't address larvae that are already in the wood. These can emerge, even through paint and varnish.
If you have a beetle infestation, it is possible to address it by removing wood that is infested. This is especially relevant for lyctids and bostrichids. We also recommend replacing any boards, trimming, and wood that is adjacent to the infested timber. If these pests have gotten into furniture items, they may need to be treated or heated by a professional to eliminate the grubs inside. This is very difficult to do without proper equipment and an education in powder post beetle control.
If you have an anobiid powder post beetle infestation, you can get control of them by dealing with moisture issues. This type of powder post beetle requires high humidity in order to survive. A common way homeowners deal with these pests is to address crawl space moisture. They may do this by encapsulating the space and installing vents, fans, dehumidifiers, and sump pumps, or by having a professional perform this service.
Professional Powder Post Beetle Control
It is always best to have a licensed professional do a detailed inspection and let you know the extent of your infestation. Over time, these insects can do a considerable amount of damage. Experts say that powder post beetles are second only to termites in their ability to destroy seasoned wood.
Do you own property in Aiken? If so, keep in mind that the team here at Aiken Pest can guide you in natural solutions to managing the threat of powder post beetles, and guide you in selecting treatment options if necessary. We help Aiken Property owners guard their properties from a list of pests that can cause damage. Reach out to us today for a consultation or to schedule a preliminary inspection. We're here to assist you with all your pest control needs.