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Powderpost Beetle Facts & Information

Protect your home or business from powderpost beetles by learning techniques for identification and control.

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Powderpost Beetle Treatment

How do I get rid of powderpost beetles?

What You Can Do Against Powderpost Beetles

The first thing you can do is identify signs of a powderpost beetle infestation. A few common signs that powderpost beetles have invaded your home include small, round exit holes in the wood surfaces accompanied by a fine, powdery substance called frass. This material consists of wood particles and excrement produced by the feeding larvae. You may also find straight or zigzag tunnels in the wood along with cream-colored, C-shaped larvae. However, larvae are usually hidden within the wood and may not be readily visible.

After identifying signs of infestation, you may need to contact your pest management professional (PMP) and request an inspection. Your PMP will correctly identify the pests and provide a treatment plan to deal with the problem.

What Orkin Does

Your local Orkin Pro is trained to help manage powderpost beetles and similar pests. Since every building or home is different, your Orkin Pro will design a unique beetle control treatment program for you.

Contact your local Orkin branch to keep your home or business powderpost beetle-free.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Behavior, Diet & Habits

Understanding Powderpost Beetles

What do powderpost beetles look like?

  • Powderpost Beetle Size: Powderpost beetles are about 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch long.

  • Powderpost Beetle Color: The color of powderpost beetles can vary. Common colors include reddish-brown to black.

  • Powderpost Beetle Characteristics: Powderpost beetles generally have an elongated, cylindrical body with a somewhat flattened appearance. They have long, slender antennae that may be segmented. Adult powderpost beetles have two pairs of wings. The front wings are hardened and protect the hind wings, which are used for flying. When the beetle is resting, its hind wings are folded under the front wings.

Powderpost Beetle Droppings

Powderpost beetle dropping will look like a fine powder that will usually be a similar color to the wood. This droppings or powder is also known as powderpost beetle frass and can be found near the small holes they bury and eat through.

Powderpost Beetle Damage

Powderpost beetles are wood-boring insects that can infest and damage wooden structures in homes. The larvae of powderpost beetles bore into wood, creating tunnels and causing damage to the material. If you’re experiencing a powderpost beetle infestation, contact an Orkin Pro for help with beetle control.

What do powderpost beetles eat?

Powderpost beetles are considered wood destroying beetles and mainly attack and eat unfinished wood. Powderpost beetle larvae are in the wood-boring stage of the life cycle and typically feed on hardwoods like ash, oak, hickory, mahogany and some species can feed on bamboo. The larvae tunnel into wood to feed, which can damage the wood. Adult powderpost beetles, on the other hand, don’t exclusively feed on wood. They also eat some types of nectar, pollen, or other plant-based materials, but don’t cause significant damage to wood as adults.

Life Span of Powderpost Beetles

In ideal environments, powderpost beetles can complete their lifecycle in under a year but can take a few years if food quality is low. The life cycle of powderpost beetles consists of four stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Here's an overview of the different life stages of powderpost beetle:

  • Egg Stage: The life cycle begins when adult female powderpost beetles lay eggs on or in unfinished wood or new wood that has dried out a bit. The eggs are tiny and often difficult to see.

  • Larva Stage: Then the powderpost beetle eggs hatch into larvae. The larvae are cream-colored or light brown and C-shaped. They create tunnels as they feed on the starch in the wood. The larval stage is the most damaging phase of the life cycle. To manage powderpost beetle infestations, it's important to target the larvae during this wood-boring stage.

  • Pupa Stage: After completing their feeding and tunneling activities, the larvae turn into pupa. This a non-feeding, transitional stage during which the larva transforms into an adult. The pupal chamber is often located near the wood surface.

  • Adult Stage: The adult powderpost beetle emerges from the pupal chamber by creating a small, round exit hole in the wood. These exit holes are typically 1/16 to 1/4 inch wide. Once they emerge, the adult beetles seek mates and suitable wood for egg laying.

What are the different types of powderpost beetles?

There are three groups of destructive, wood-boring powderpost beetles. One is the Lyctid powderpost beetles, which are known for infesting hardwoods. Their larvae can only infest unfinished, somewhat new hardwood. Another is Bostrichid powderpost beetles. Like Lyctids, they attack hardwoods especially tropical woods like bamboo. Last are Anobiid powderpost beetles, which are commonly found in southeastern states. They can digest cellulose and are capable of attacking both softwood and hardwood. Anobiid powderpost beetles are known for doing serious damage to wooden beams and joists in buildings.

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