WSU Extension


Wood-Destroying Pests
Carpenter ants
Deathwatch beetles (Anobiids)
Moisture ants
Powderpost beetles
Wood-rotting fungi

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Powderpost beetles
(revision date: 2/27/2014)

Use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for successful pest management.

Powderpost beetles, or lyctids, feed on starch in hardwoods, such as oak, cherry, or ash, and they will also feed in bamboo. These insects are usually brought into a home in hardwood flooring, trim, plywood, and wooden articles such as furniture and tool handles. The adult beetle is small, 1/8-3/8 inch long, and is red, brown, or black in color. These adult beetles mate and lay eggs on unfinished wood. The larvae develop and feed within the wood for 8 to 10 months, causing the damage. Powderpost beetle damage is recognized by the powdery frass (excrement) that is produced and falls out of the emergence holes.
Management Options

Non-Chemical Management
  • Determine if you have an active powderpost beetle population or if you are seeing only old emergence holes. Check the holes for powdery, talc-like frass.
  • Prevention -- Protect bare wood from attack by painting or finishing exposed surfaces. If the wood is already housing powderpost beetle larvae, they will not be killed but you will minimize the chance of reinfestation.
  • If it is a small wooden article or furniture, you can place it in the freezer (at or below 0°F) for at least a week.
  • Replacement -- If the infestation is localized, replace the infested lumber. Be sure to consult a professional before doing lumber replacement.
  • Use kiln-dried lumber for new construction.
Select non-chemical management options as your first choice!

Chemical Management

There are no pesticide recommendations for this pest. Consult a Pest Management Professional.


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