Anobiid Powderpost Beetles

Facts, Identification & Control

Scientific Name

Family Anobiidae


Adult anobiid powderpost beetles are small, brownish or black and are less than 5/16 of an inch long. These beetles’ body shape ranges from long and thin to oval. When viewed from above, the head is not visible since it is hidden under the first segment of the insect’s body. The larval stage is small, lightly colored and grub-like in appearance. Anobiid powderpost beetles are usually recognized by the presence of wood frass that is produced by the larvae as they feed on wood. The Anobiid powderpost beetles that are the most damaging in the U.S. are the furniture beetle and the deathwatch beetle.

Behavior, Diet & Habits

Anobiid powderpost beetles will infest both hardwoods and softwoods, however, the adults do not feed on the wood. It is the larval stage that does the damage as they feed and develop in the infested wood. They prefer seasoned, older wood located in cooler areas of the home (crawl space and basement) with moisture content of more than 14 percent. Anobiid powderpost beetles most frequently infest structural components (beams, sill plates, joists, subflooring and plywood) of the home that are softwoods such as pine, fir and spruce. Anobiid powderpost beetles will also infest hardwood furniture and flooring. Anobiid powderpost beetles prefer to lay their eggs in cracks; in old beetle exit holes; or under wood splinters. Upon hatching, the larvae bore into the wood, begin to feed and finally become adult beetles that bore round exit holes about 1/8 inch in diameter. The complete life cycle from egg to adult normally takes about one to three years. Adult females can fly, but usually lay their eggs in the same wood they exited from.

More Information

Homeowners need to identify and control anobiid powderpost beetles in order to avoid serious problems. Usually, homeowners see wood damage and the presence of frass or exit holes rather than the beetles. Since damage may be old and the beetles no longer alive, it is wise to seek the assistance of your pest management professional before assuming that control efforts are necessary.