Powderpost beetles are so called because in high numbers they are able to turn the inside of a piece of wood into nothing more than a mass of fine powder. These wood destroying beetles can do significant damage to log homes, furniture, wood floors and structural timbers.
Powder post beetles are small (1/8 inch) and the adult beetles are seldom seen. Most of the life cycle is spent in the grub or larvae stage eating wood. Damage is done by the larvae as they create narrow, meandering tunnels in wood as they feed. This stage can last between 1-10 years depending upon a number of factors; these include species of beetle, type of wood infested, age of wood, moisture content of wood and air temperature.
People do not realize that the wood is infested until the adult beetles emerge from within the wood. The exit holes are very small, about the size of a pin head. Newly emerged adults mate and lay eggs on or below the surface of bare (unfinished) wood. The eggs hatch into tiny larvae which bore into the wood, emerging as adults 1-10 years later. Infestations develop slowly, but wood can be re-infested year after year.
Homeowners are more likely to see damage than the beetles, themselves, because the
adults are short-lived and are active mainly at night. When the wood
is tapped with a hammer, dust will fall from these exit holes. Depending on the
species, powder post beetles can infest hardwoods such as cherry and oak, or softwoods
such as poplar, pine and bamboo. If you find a beetle infestation in a piece of
oak furniture this same species of beetle would not infest your pine floor but might
infest other pieces of your oak furniture.
Exit holes from the powderpost beetles emerging may not be seen for
several years after the log house is constructed. Although it is possible that the
beetles entered the logs after the house was built it is much more likely that the logs
were already infested when purchased from the factory. We strongly suggest that all
timbers in a log home be treated before assembly. It is much cheaper to treat
preventively and of course it is also much less labor intensive. The best product for this
wood treatment is Bora-Care. Boracare is an odorless, boron based material
that is mixed with water and applied to the wood by brush or a hand held pump sprayer.
Powderpost Beetle Control In Floors
The floor must be stripped and than painted or sprayed with Boracare. Be sure to check the sub flooring for damage also. If the home sits above a crawl space it is suggested that the under structure be treated with Boracare also. After 72 hours of drying the floor can resealed.
At times powderpost beetle infestations are so severe that a complete
fumigation is recommended by a licensed pest control operator. For light to moderate
infestations Boracare will do an excellent
job. In attics and crawl spaces you may find old house borer damage
also. This beetle is much bigger than the powderpost beetle and their exit holes are
huge. Boracare will kill these also.
This gets a little tricky. You cannot apply the Boracare to the outside of the
Pest Control Products
Powderpost beetle is a term used to describe several species of small (1/8-3/4 inches long), wood-boring insects which reduce wood to a fine, flour-like powder. Damage is done by the larvae as they create narrow, meandering tunnels in wood as they feed. Infestations are discovered after noticing small, round "shot holes" in the wood surface. These are exit holes where adult beetles have chewed out of the wood after completing their development. Newly-emerged adults mate and lay eggs on or below the surface of bare (unfinished) wood. The eggs hatch into tiny larvae which bore into the wood, emerging as adults 1-5 years later, usually during April - July. Homeowners are more likely to see damage than the beetles, themselves, because the adults are short-lived and are active mainly at night.
The two most common and destructive families of powderpost beetles are the Lyctidae and Anobiidae. Lyctid powderpost beetles attack only wood products manufactured from hardwoods , e.g., oak, ash, walnut and hickory. Consequently, infestations are most often found in wood paneling, molding, window and door frames, plywood, hardwood floors, and furniture. Imported tropical hardwoods are especially prone to Lyctid beetle attack because of poor storage and drying practices prior to shipment to this country. Articles made of bamboo also are commonly infested. Rafters, joists, studs and other structural framing of homes are not normally attacked by Lyctid beetles since these wood members are almost always constructed from pine or other softwoods.
Lyctids rarely infest wood older than five years. Thus, infestations generally are encountered in new homes or newly-manufactured articles. In almost all cases, infestation results from wood that contained eggs or larvae at the time it was placed in the home. This is significant because responsibility for damage/replacement often resides with the builder, cabinet maker or furniture manufacturer rather than the homeowner. Typically, the infested article was constructed from wood which was improperly dried or stored.
Anobiid powderpost beetles may attack both hardwoods and softwoods, which means that infestations may be found in all the same places as Lyctid beetles, as well as in structural timbers (beams, sills, joists, studs, sub flooring, etc.). Maple, beech, poplar and pine are especially susceptible to attack. Anobiids prefer to infest wood which is damp; therefore, infestations usually begin in moist, poorly-ventilated areas such as crawl spaces, basements, garages and utility sheds. Under favorable conditions of moisture and temperature, infestations may spread upwards into walls and upper levels of the structure, including furniture. Infestations may occur as a result of using infested lumber, or from beetles flying in from outdoors or being carried in on firewood. Infestations develop slowly, but wood can be re-infested year after year.