False Powderpost Beetles

Facts, Identification & Control

Scientific Name

Family Bostrichidae


Most wood boring false powderpost beetles are from 1/8 to ¼ of an inch long, but species that are found outdoors in trees and firewood can be up to 2 or more inches long. False powderpost beetles are reddish-brown to black in color with a cylinder-shaped body. The beetle’s head projects downward; is hidden by the insect’s body; and is not easily seen when viewed from above. The larvae are grub-like in appearance, C-shaped and cream-colored. More than 60 species of false powderpost beetles are found in North America.

Behavior, Diet & Habits

Generally, false powderpost beetles are much less damaging in homes than other groups of powderpost beetles. Powderpost beetles primarily infest new wood, and most of this species infest hardwoods, although some will infest softwoods. 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. Bamboo wood is more susceptible to false powderpost beetle damage than other types of wood.

More Information

Homeowners must stay vigilant and identify false powderpost beetles and then control them to avoid serious problems. The first signs of a false powderpost beetle infestation may be wood that is damaged, exit holes and frass, and not necessarily a false powderpost beetle sighting. 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.

False powderpost beetles are categorized into three broad groups of powderpost beetles: Bostrichid, Anobiid and Lyctid powderpost beetles.