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identifying powder post beetles

Powder Post Beetles

Powder post beetles attack dead and dried hardwood. Outdoors they can be found invading fallen limbs and dead tree branches. Inside, people often end up with powder post beetle infestations when they bring items, especially older furniture and antiques, into their homes that have been infested. Other examples of where powder post beetles can be found include joists, rafters, flooring, paneling, and stored lumber. The beetles will enter into the wood to breed as it is being stored and cured, they will then emerge from the finished product and into your home.


Powder post beetles are small insects that range in length from 1/16 to 3/16 of an inch and they are reddish-brown to black in color. They have an elongated, narrow body with antennae that have a 2-segmented club. Their body is generally covered in rows of hair and they have hardened front wings called elytra. Their larvae are about 1/4 of an inch in length, C-shaped, and are nearly white in color.

Powder post beetles leave many small holes that are about 1/16 to 1/8 of an inch in diameter in the wood that they are infesting. Beneath the holes, fine, powdery dust similar to sawdust will collect. The holes and sawdust are signs that you may be dealing with a powder post beetle infestation in your home.

Life Cycle & Habits

In the spring, adult beetles will deposit their eggs in the cracks and crevices of seasoned hardwoods that are not waxed, painted, polished, or varnished. The larvae will hatch in the wood and overwinter inside. During this period of time, they will molt several times. Once they reach adulthood they will create their distinctive holes in the wood to emerge through; this generally occurs in the springtime.

Development time from egg to adult can vary in length, sometimes being as short as 3 -12 months, or as long as 2 - 4 years. New adults tend to lay their eggs right back into the wood that they just emerged from causing more damage to the wood with every generation.

Powder Post Beetle Treatment & Elimination

For best results, you should consider a seasoned pest control professional with experience in eliminating powder post beetles. Exterminators at American Pest Solutions will resolve your powder post beetle problem quickly. To prevent a re-infestation we suggest continuing with routine pest control services and to take steps to prevent powder post beetles from entering your home. A simple way to prevent these pests can include thoroughly inspecting old wooden items for signs of beetle damage before bringing them inside your house as well as inspecting the wood for signs of holes and powdery sawdust. If possible, stay away from using barn wood that has not been stored properly for projects in your home. Paint, varnish, or stain wood that is located in and around your home. Lowering the moisture levels in your house can also help to deter their presence.

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