How do I get rid of powder post beetles in my hickory floor?

Question: I just got a new hickory wood floor. I think I have powder post beetles. What is the best way to get rid of them?

Answer: The term “powder post beetle” is used to describe several different types of wood-infesting insects. The term is used for beetles that infest only softwoods, only hardwoods, and both. In your situation, hardwood floors, I suspect that you have lyctid powder post beetles—but I’m not sure.

Damage: The damage produced by powder post beetles can vary from a small round hole the size of pencil lead to a larger oval hole. Look for what’s called frass (wood shavings) near these holes. If there is some, pick it up and rub it between your fingers. If the frass is soft, it’s from lyctid beetles, and if it feels gritty, then the frass is from anobiid beetles.

Lyctid powder post beetles (Family: Lyctid): 1/8 inch in size, these powder post beetles can be found throughout a house in hardwood (including flooring). They only like newer hardwoods. These powder post beetles usually don’t reinfest wood and have a lifespan of 1-2 years.

Anobiid powder post beetles (Family: Anobiidae): These powder post beetles go for flooring and ceiling joists and wall studs. They are small with a 1-2 year expected lifespan. This powder post beetle prefers softwoods but will infest hardwoods, too. This is a beetle that reinfests wood and to the point of serious damage.

Control may be difficult to achieve, depending on how the flooring is installed. Once it’s established that the infestation is active, there are a few options. Liquid insecticide will target the areas where the powder post beetles are, since it’s inserted into the materials. If the damage is severe enough, then the flooring may have to be completely replaced. The final option is for the most extreme cases. This is when a tent is set up and full fumigation of the structure takes place.

It would probably be worthwhile to call the supplier of the flooring to see if they have had problems in their stock.

You can call the local Orkin Branch Office and set up an inspection by a highly trained Orkin Inspector who will inspect and discuss the options after making an assessment of the situation.

Related Questions

Orkin used the information above to also answer the following questions submitted by users:

Question: The last few days we have had very tiny beetle like bugs crawling up through the floorboards from the basement and onto the window sills in our living room. They are very, very small … the size of a small tick. Brown and cream colored. They seem to be able to fly, but not for long distances. They seem to be attracted to the light of the windows. I thought maybe they were carpet beetles, but online descriptions seem to indicate they are too small to be a carpet beetle. Any ideas?

Answer: Well, I’m not sure about this … they may be powder post beetles emerging from wood infested in the flooring. It would be best to get them identified to be certain.

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