Are you finding tiny holes in the wood of your home, or in the wood of an object you've purchased? If so, you might have a powder post beetle problem. Here are a few things you should know about those beetles.
Are powder post beetles destructive?
Experts say that, next to termites, powder post beetles are the most destructive wood-destroying organism in the United States. The reason they are so destructive is that they often go unnoticed.
Why do powder post beetles go undetected?
These beetles are drawn to areas that are damp or high in humidity, where rough, wooden beams are exposed. A common location they target is the wooden beams in the crawl spaces under homes. These crawl spaces can be a real pain to get into or get around inside. So homeowners rarely inspect these areas frequently enough to prevent considerable damage from being done.
What are the warning signs of powder post beetles?
While warning signs left by these beetles are often in locations that are not easily observable, when you can see the wood that is infested, you can easily see that you have a problem.
If you have a powder post beetle infestation, you should see:
Tiny holes that are about ⅛ of an inch
A fine powder that has the consistency of talcum powder. This powder is called grass.
The presence of tiny, rust-colored insects that are between ⅛ and ¼ of an inch.
How do I tell if my infestation is active?
This is a good question because the presence of holes or sawdust powder does not mean that you have an active infestation. Finding lots of beetles—well, that one is pretty obvious. If you see holes and sawdust, but no beetles, here are a few quick ways you can check to see if powder post beetles are actively damaging the wood.
Draw a border around a few holes using a marker. Count the holes in the bordered area, or mark the holes with your marker. Let it sit for a while. If you come back and find new holes, you have an active infestation.
Take a piece of tape and apply it over a section of board that has holes in it. If you return and find holes chewed through the tape, you have beetles in there.
If you're able to put something bright, like a piece of paper, underneath a beam that has holes in it, you can collect sawdust that falls, and get the evidence you need.
Can powder post beetle damage be prevented?
Somewhat. There are a few things you can do to make your home less of a target.
Treat wood: Powder post beetles lay eggs in the porous, or bumpy surface of wood. When the eggs hatch, the larvae tunnel into the wood. If you sand wood smooth and apply a varnish, you can make it unsuitable for powder post beetles to lay their eggs on.
Eliminate moisture: Powder post beetles require high levels of moisture. If you have a crawl space under your home, you can address the moisture and humidity down there by investing in having the area encapsulated, or by installing your own vapor barriers, fans, and dehumidifiers.
Inspections: Often, powder post beetles are brought into a home. If you buy lumber that has not been properly treated, and you see tiny holes, refrain from bringing it into your home until it has been properly treated. If you saw a tree down and use the wood, be sure to check it for tiny holes, trenches or frass. If you purchase wooden furniture or some other object made of hardwood, inspect it for the tiny exit holes these insects create.
What should you do if you have an active powder post beetle infestation?
These wood-destroying insects can do quite a bit of damage to your home over time. The best solution is to let the experts here at American Pest Solutions perform a detailed inspection and apply appropriate treatments to arrest the infestation. Your home purchase is a significant purchase. We can help you do what is necessary to ensure that it is protected. Reach out to us today for immediate assistance. We're here to help.