False Powderpost Beetles

Facts, Identification, & Control

Scientific Name

Family Bostrichidae


What Do They Look Like?
  • Size: Most wood boring false powderpost beetles are from 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch long. Species that are found outdoors in trees and firewood can be up to 2 or more inches long.
  • Color: False powderpost beetles are reddish-brown to black in color with a cylinder-shaped body.
  • Characteristics: The beetle’s head projects downward and is hidden by the insect’s body. The head is hard to view from above. Larvae are grub-like in appearance, C-shaped and cream-colored.

How Did I Get False Powderpost Beetles?

People often bring these insects into their homes inside tools or imported wood decor. Bamboo is one of the more common sources of false powderpost beetle problems. The pests bore tiny pinholes to tunnel deep into timber and deposit their eggs. The small punctures caused by false powderpost beetles are easy to overlook, even with a close inspection.

How Serious Are False Powderpost Beetles?

Property Damage

These pests are not as harmful to homes as true powderpost beetles or termites. However, false powderpost beetles do create wood dust as they burrow in addition to leaving holes in the furniture and other items they infest.

Structural Damage

Structural damage is rare, although the insects can affect floors or paneling. A false powderpost beetle infestation usually involves small, decorative and wooden items that still have the bark intact. The pests do not invade seasoned wood and rarely lay their eggs in the same place twice.

Signs of Infestation

Homeowners must stay vigilant to identify false powderpost beetles, and then control them to avoid serious problems. The first signs of a false powderpost beetle infestation may not be a pest sighting but rather:

  • Wood that is damaged
  • Exit holes
  • Frass

Generally, seeing exit holes that are the same color as the wood surrounding the holes indicates an old, inactive infestation. Since damage may be old and the beetles no longer are alive, it is wise to seek the assistance from your pest management professional before assuming that control efforts are necessary.

How Do I Get Rid of False Powderpost Beetles

What Orkin Does

Your local Orkin technician is trained to help manage false powderpost beetles and similar pests. Since every building or home is different, your Orkin technician will design a unique program for your situation.

Orkin can provide the right solution to keep false powderpost beetles in their place…out of your home, or business.

Behavior, Diet, & Habits

With more than 60 species of false powderpost beetles found in North America, they can be categorized into three broad groups of powderpost beetles:

What Do They Eat?

Powderpost beetles primarily feed and infest new wood. Most of this species prefers hardwoods, although some will infest softwoods.

Life Cycle

The average life cycle from egg to adult is completed in one year or longer, if the insect is located in an unfavorable environment.


Both the larvae and adults damage wood since adult female beetles bore into the wood and create tunnels where they lay eggs. Once the eggs hatch, the larvae tunnel further into the wood to feed, mature, and complete their development into adults.


In the early spring, adults emerge from the infested wood by boring round exit holes. While adults may reinfest wood, most false powderpost adults do not reinfest the wood they emerged from, and wood damage is limited to what is caused by one generation.