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Everything You Need to Know About Powderpost Beetles

Powderpost Beetle
Known scientifically as Lyctinae, the powderpost beetle is a tiny insect that causes huge headaches for homeowners. Since the beetle loves attacking hardwood, homeowners can suffer serious structure damage to the buildings on their property. It is important to be able to properly identify powderpost beetles and understand their habits in order to effectively rid your home of them. Below is a guide to everything you need to know about this wood-infesting pest. 


Texas A&M's AgriLife Extension reports that powderpost beetles are brown in color, cylindrical in shape and measure between 3/32 and 1/4 inch in length. The university points out that you will most likely spot the evidence of the powderpost beetle before you see the insect itself. Search your wood surfaces for tiny holes that are approximately 1/32 to 1/16 inch in diameter. 

Additional Evidence

As the powderpost beetles dig tunnels in the wood, they create a dust known as frass. The frass is very fine and can be found both in the holes that the beetles create and in a pile just outside those holes. Some of the frass may even form small pellets, but it typically resembles a thin powder.  

Life Cycle

When examining infested wood, you may encounter more than just the adult powderpost beetle. The beetles are also present in the wood in their egg, larval and pupal stages. The larva is the stage when most of the damage is done, as the larva are responsible for consuming most of the wood. To spot the powderpost beetle in the larval stage, look for a white grub that forms the letter C with its body. 


Treatment is always best left to the professionals. An expert pest control specialist knows exactly what type of pesticide to use and how to apply it safely. He or she will also be aware of additional spaces that should be treated, such as joists, rafters, studs and even subflooring. Finally, the company will inspect adjacent siding and nearby decks to determine whether they have been affected or not.


Once you've completely rid your home of powderpost beetles, you'll need to begin the cleanup process. This involves removing all of the damaged wood and replacing it with new wood. This step is necessary as the previously infested wood may not be as strong and reliable as it needs to be to properly support your home. 


There are a few things you can do to ensure you don't accidentally introduce the powderpost beetles to your home. First, you'll need to inspect every piece of wood you bring on the property for evidence of the tiny insect. This includes going over any flooring, furniture or paneling that you recently purchased and plan to use for a remodel. Second, you'll need to especially pay attention to any bare wood you plan on using to build, as the beetles tend to avoid painted, waxed and varnished woods. 

Another method of prevention is to control the moisture level in your basement, crawl spaces and around the foundation. The University of Kentucky's Entomology Department states that homeowners should aim for moisture levels below 13 percent during the warmer months, as this makes the environment less suitable for a future infestation. You can install moisture barriers, increase ventilation with foundation vents and add 46 mil polyethylene over the soil around the base of your home. 

If you believe your home is being invaded by powderpost beetles, contact Nelon-Cole Termite & Pest Control for an estimate. You'll feel confident in knowing that a team of professionals is on your side identifying, treating and eliminating your unwanted visitors. 

Make sure to contact or consult a certified mold and mildew remediation company like Nelon Cole