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10 Tips to Prevent and Treat Powderpost Beetles in Your Home

Powderpost Beetles: A Comprehensive Guide

The thought of having pests wreaking havoc in your own home can be a cause of worry and anxiety. One type of pest that can cause structural damage to your home is the powderpost beetle.

These woodboring beetles can infest homes and damage structural and furniture wood materials. In this article, we will provide an overview of powderpost beetles, the types of powderpost beetles, how to identify an infestation, the damage they cause, and how they compare to termites.

Overview of Powderpost Beetles

Powderpost beetles belong to the beetle family Bostrichidae and are known for their ability to lay eggs in wood. Their larvae tunnel through the wood, feeding on wood before it reaches adulthood.

There are three types of powderpost beetles, Anobiid, Bostrichids, and Lyctids. These beetles can be reddish to dark brown and can infest both hard and softwoods.

Types of Powderpost Beetles

Anobiid powderpost beetles have a long, narrow head, and a humpbacked appearance. They target moist wood and hardwood manufactured products, feeding on wood as larvae, which leaves behind small, round exit holes.

Bostrichids are larger than Anobiid and have a thicker body. They can be found in all types of wood, although they prefer moist hardwoods.

They create exit holes that are oval or round, and their tunnels are larger than Anobiid. Lyctid powderpost beetles are the most common and damaging of the three.

These beetles are small and can be found in deciduous hardwoods. They target sapwood and very young heartwood timber, creating tiny exit holes that are so small, they often go unnoticed.

Identification of Infestation

The presence of frass, which is a powdery substance left behind by larvae as they tunnel through the wood, is a telltale sign of powderpost beetle infestation. Holes on the wood are another sign to look out for, as these are the exit holes made when the adult beetles emerge.

An infested wood may also produce clicking sounds, which are created by the larvae as they tunnel through the wood. If you suspect an infestation, the best course of action is to contact a pest control professional who can identify the type of powderpost beetle and recommend treatment.

Damage Caused by Powderpost Beetles

Powderpost beetles damage wood by creating boreholes, which can reduce wood to powder. They create narrow and meandering tunnels, weakening the wood material.

Prompt action is crucial in preventing further damage. The longer an infestation is left untreated, the more difficult and expensive it becomes to repair.

Therefore, it is essential to detect and eradicate the infestation as soon as possible.

Comparison with Termites

While both powderpost beetles and termites can cause significant damage to wood, termites are known to be more destructive than powderpost beetles. Termites can infest large numbers and consume complete wood material, creating a significant problem if left untreated.

In contrast, powderpost beetles tunnel through the wood, leaving behind boreholes and fragile tunnels. Unlike powderpost beetles, termites can also damage soft materials like interior walls.

Moreover, after the larvae reach adulthood, they need to leave the wood to breed, unlike termites, who reside within the wood and continue to infest it.


Powderpost beetles are pests that can cause significant damage to wood materials in your home. Their presence can be hard to detect without looking for the telltale signs of infestation, such as frass and exit holes.

Once you know you have an infestation, it is crucial to take prompt action to prevent further damage. Although they are not as destructive as termites, powderpost beetles can cause costly repairs and should not be ignored.

By arming yourself with knowledge regarding powderpost beetles, you can stay vigilant and protect your home from these troublesome pests.

Treatment and Prevention of Powderpost Beetles

Powderpost beetles can cause significant damage to wood and can be difficult to eradicate once an infestation has occurred. The good news is that there are several treatment and prevention methods available to homeowners to help prevent and control powderpost beetle infestations.

Reducing Moisture Content

As with most pests, controlling moisture levels is crucial in preventing and managing powderpost beetle infestations. By ensuring good ventilation, using a vapor barrier, and using a moisture meter, you can reduce the chances of infestation.

Additionally, it is advisable to varnish or paint the wood surface to make it less appealing to powderpost beetles. Sanding the wood down till there is no softwood left is another approach to removing the infested areas.


Insecticides like Bora-care and Timbor are effective in treating powderpost beetle infestations. Bora-care is a liquid insecticide that soaks into the wood and kills the beetles, while Timbor is a powder insecticide that is mixed with water and then applied to the infested area as a spray, mist or brush.

These insecticides can provide long-term protection for several years and can prevent re-infestation. It is imperative to speak to a pest control professional before applying insecticides, following all instructions from the manufacturer carefully.

Natural Methods

Several natural methods can be used to treat and prevent powderpost beetle infestations. One method is by freezing the infested wood, which kills the beetles and their larvae.

Another is by treating the wood in a kiln or furnace at high heat, which kills all life stages of the beetles. A moisture barrier can also prevent the beetles from entering the wood material.

Sprinkling borate salt can act as a natural insecticide against powderpost beetles. Essential oil sprays such as cedar or citronella can repel insects.

If an area of infestation cannot be treated, infested wood replacement is also an option.

Covering Powderpost Beetle Holes

Although not a method of preventing or treating infestation, covering the holes with wood glue and sawdust can repair the damage caused by the beetles. Simply fill the holes with the wood glue and sawdust mixture, rub it in, match the color of the wood to the surrounding area, and sandpaper it down to finish the repair.

Other Information on Powderpost Beetles

Wood Types

Powderpost beetles can infest different types of wood, including oak, ash, walnut, bamboo, hickory, and pine. They can also infest different wood products such as plywood, hardwood floors, crown molding, window and door frames, and wood paneling.

Flight and Noise

Powderpost beetles can fly and may be attracted to light. The larvae can also create clicking noises while tunneling through the wood, which is a sign of an infestation.

Infestation Areas

Powderpost beetles can infest several parts of your home, including wood furniture, hardwood floors, wood paneling, crown molding, window and door frames, and plywood.

Treatment Cost and Duration

The cost of treating powderpost beetles can vary based on the extent of the damage and the type of treatment used. According to HomeAdvisor, the cost of treating a home for powderpost beetles ranges from $500 to $5,000.

The duration of treatment can also vary, depending on the extent of the infestation.


A professional exterminator can help you identify and treat powderpost beetle infestations effectively using safe and effective chemicals.

Self-Resolution of Infestation

While homeowners can try to resolve an infestation themselves, it’s vital to note that when an active infestation is already visible, it’s time to call an expert. Home remedies such as surface sprays, dusts, and foggers are often ineffective and can sometimes do more harm than good.

Moreover, when there is fresh sawed-like powder under your furniture or in different parts of your home, it signals a severe infestation which needs professional treatment.


Powderpost beetles can cause significant damage to wood materials in your home, but there are several ways to prevent and treat this problem. By reducing moisture levels, using insecticides and natural methods, and repairing infested areas, homeowners can protect their home from powderpost beetle infestations.

Knowing the type of wood products and areas prone to infestation, being able to identify signs of infestation, seeking professional extermination, and being timely in contacting pest control professionals are essential. By being proactive, homeowners can save themselves from the headache and cost of a powderpost beetle infestation.

In conclusion, protecting your home and wood materials from powderpost beetles is crucial to avoid costly repairs and structural damage. By being proactive, homeowners can take measures to reduce moisture levels, use insecticides and natural methods, and repair infested areas.

Knowing the type of wood products and areas prone to infestation, being able to identify signs of infestation, seeking professional extermination, and being timely in contacting pest control professionals are all important steps. As we have seen, the key to preventing and treating powderpost beetle infestations effectively lies in being knowledgeable and vigilant.

By applying the tips and techniques outlined in this article, homeowners can take the necessary steps to protect their home and ensure its longevity and safety.

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