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What Are Powder Post Beetles?

beetle up close on leaf

You can take good care of your home and do everything right. Yet if you’re unlucky enough to get an infestation of wood destroying insects, suddenly you’re in a race against the clock to rid your home of the infestation. Homeowners don’t think of powder post beetles in the same way as they think about termites or even carpenter ants, but they should.

What are the Signs of Powder Post Beetles?

Powder post beetles are so named because they can turn a wooden post into a pile of fine powder. That’s not exactly reassuring for homeowners in Massachusetts. They prefer wood that hasn’t been treated with preservatives, making structural timbers and beams, and untreated flooring, some of their favorite targets. These beetles spend years living inside wood, feeding on the starch it holds.

They’re difficult to spot because the holes they leave may be smaller than a millimeter in diameter. You may notice a tiny pile of powdery wood around the hole – this is called frass. If there’s a particularly large infestation, you may even hear the faint sound of their feeding. If you do, call a pest control specialist in Massachusetts immediately.

Are There Different Types of Powder Post Beetles?

There are two different families of powder post beetles. They target different types of wood:

  • Lyctids focus on hardwoods, particularly newer wood that’s only a few years old. They’ll focus on hardwood flooring and ornamental hardwood.
  • Anobiids focus on softwoods and will tend to cause more structural damage. They’ll attack the joists, wall studs, and structural wood in a home. Both types will go after furniture depending on the type of wood it’s made from.

How do I Get Rid of Powder Post Beetles?

We start with a WDO report that checks for wood destroying organisms like powder post beetles. The WDO report will also check for other infestations, such as termites, ants, and fungi.

To get rid of powder post beetles, we may take one of several approaches. If the infestation is fresh, the infested wood can be removed and replaced. The wood beneath this will be inspected to guarantee the infestation hasn’t spread. If the infestation is severe, we can inject liquid insecticide into the galleries they use to feed. Furniture and other wooden objects can be fumigated separately.

If you suspect a wood destroying organism – such as powder post beetles – is attacking your home, call us as soon as possible. The damage only becomes severe if it’s not addressed.

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