The term powderpost beetle refers to several species of wood-destroying beetles that belong to three different families of beetles (Lyctidae, Bostrichidae and Anobiidae). They re-infest dry, seasoned wood year after year and the wood becomes completely riddled with holes and galleries packed with powdery frass. Powderpost beetles can infest any untreated or non-sealed wood article. Some species only attack hardwoods, while others feed only on softwoods, and some species will feed on both.
The larvae of these beetles feed on cellulose in wood, and they can cause extensive damage to wood in structures and homes if conditions are suitable to them. Moisture plays a key role in attack from these insects. Losses are often heaviest in warm humid climates, but there are several species that are present in Maine. In their feeding they reduce the wood to a fine powder, not unlike talcum powder in consistency. Holes left by emerging beetles are about 1/8 inch in diameter and round. They are sometimes called “shot holes.” A tool such as an awl can be helpful in determining the extent of damage. If the awl pokes in easily and deeply, the wood may be severely damaged.
In Maine, these pests are common to barns & older homes because the wood has not been pressure treated and is often still in it’s natural state (unvarnished). Although different species of powderpost beetles prefer different woods. In some cases, powderpost larvae are present in new lumber for framing and floors.
Bug Busterzzz can determine if powderpost beetles are the culprit and whether the infestation is current or dormant.