Let's face it, there is a multitude of things a homeowner needs to be paying attention to day by day or negative consequences will be obvious. For example, if you stop mowing your lawn, soon you'll have a forest instead of grass. If you decide to let full garbage bags build up in your kitchen, soon your whole house will start to smell. And if you do nothing to fix that broken pipe in the basement, you could soon be up to your ears (maybe literally) in water damage.

While there are lots of these types of tasks a homeowner should not ignore, there are other things that are not so urgent. If you don't dust your knickknacks, for example, no one will suffer too much (except maybe Aunt Edna, who is particular about such things.) But there is another category of things a homeowner faces. These are things that can be neglected and not noticed BUT can be doing a lot of damage right underneath our noses! A few things homeowners are often unaware of are termites, carpenter ants, and powderpost beetles doing damage. Today we are focusing on those sneaky little beetles.

powder post beetle  crawling on wood
holes in wood from powder post beetles

What Are Powderpost Beetles?

There is a lot to be learned from the name "powderpost beetles." First, it is obvious that these are beetles. Second, the words powderpost give us a hint. Do these beetles have something to do with posts becoming powder? Well, let's look at what Merriam Webster has to say. The definition of powderpost beetle is this: Any of several beetles (family Lycidae) having larvae that feed in very dry wood or lumber and reduce the interior to powder.

So it is the larvae of these beetles that are the most concerning.

Powderpost beetles, sometimes referred to as powderpost borers, are brown and usually around 1/8 to 3/4 of an inch long. An adult beetle will lay its eggs on or below the surface of bare or unfinished wood. When the larvae hatch, they bore into the wood and stay there until they emerge as adults 1 to 5 years later. It is not unheard of for a brand new house to be built and be infested with powderpost beetles for years without anyone knowing. It is important to note that imported, tropical hardwoods are especially prone to these destructive beetles because of poor storage and drying practices prior to being shipped to the United States.

How Much Damage Can These Beetles Do?

Powderpost beetle larvae will create numerous small holes measuring around 1/16 to 1/8 of an inch in diameter. Because of this boring, a fine, powder-like sawdust will be left behind on flooring, paneling, furniture, or any other wooden area where these larvae are infesting. If left untreated, these beetles will continue to multiply and leave more larvae to do more damage. The sad fact is, powderpost beetles are second only to termites in the destruction of wooden structures in the U.S.

What Can You Do About Powderpost Beetles?

In order to prevent a powderpost beetle infestation, there are some steps you can take:

  • Drying all rough-cut timber in a kiln will kill all stages of this beetle.

  • All wooden items should be sanded and varnished or painted. These beetles cannot penetrate sealed wood because adult powderpost beetles cannot find crevices in the surface of the wood in which to deposit their eggs.

  • Never store wooden items, especially if they are of value, in outbuildings such as barns or sheds. These structures can be infested with wood-boring beetles.

  • If you discover furniture that is infested, these can be fumigated in a fumigation chamber. (Take note that only pest control technicians who are licensed to do fumigation are able to purchase the materials needed to do fumigation for these beetles.)

If you are having a home built, now is the ideal time to have treatments done, as these treatments provide long-lasting protection for many years. Once a home is built, treatments are more difficult to perform and, in the case of widespread infestation, fumigation may be necessary to totally eradicate these destructive beetles.

With help from Aiken Pest Control, you can rest easy. Our experienced technicians have the knowledge, expertise, and tools necessary to safeguard your home from these destructive insects (and a whole host of other household pests). Call us today to learn more about our residential pest control options


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