When we think of destructive insects most people think of termites, ants, or wood-boring bees, but structural damage to a home can be caused by an infestation of wood-boring beetles. Termites are the most destructive insects to wood in homes, but the boring beetles are second. The most destructive boring beetles are called powderpost beetles or deathwatch beetles.

Lyctid Powderpost Beetle

In the US there are more than 30 kinds of lyctid beetles.  These are considered the “true” powderpost beetles with the adults 1/8 to ¼ inch in length. Lyctids typically infest hardwoods like oak.  They range in color from light brown to black.  The adult beetles do not damage wood, but their larvae do.  The female will lay 25-50 eggs in crevices or on the ends of boards, when they hatch the tiny larvae bore down into the wood to a point just beneath the surface of the wood where they change into adults. After they change, they cut a 1/32-to-1/16-inch circular exit hole in the surface of the wood. Often, powdery wood dust created by the beetle’s feeding is pushed out as the adult emerges.  This is why they are called powderpost beetles.

Anobiid Powderpost Beetle

There are more than 200 kinds of anobiid beetles in the US. of which very few infest wood. The few that do infest homes are called powderpost or deathwatch beetles. These beetles are the same size as the lyctids, but they range in color from reddish brown to nearly black. The body segment just behind the head is hoodlike and completely covers the head when the insect is viewed from above. Females lay less than fifty eggs under wood splinters, in cracks, or in old exit holes.  Like the lyctids, anobiid larvae bore into wood and develop into adults. When they have matured, they emerge from exit holes that are 1/16 to 1/8 inch in diameter.  The males and females emerge together and mate, and the female lays her eggs and the cycle continues.

Bostrichid Powderpost Beetle

Like their cousins above, these beetles are the same size as anobiids and lyctids. They look much like the anobiids with the same hoodlike segment behind the head. These beetles generally do not do as much damage as their cousins; they typically prefer fresh cut hardwoods.  Unlike their cousins, the adult and the larvae will both damage wood. Adult females bore into wood to deposit her eggs, and once they hatch, the larvae tunnel deeper into the wood to feed and grow.  Once mature, the adults will cut a 3/32 to 9/32 inch exit holes. The adults rarely re-infest the wood from which they emerge.

Old House Borer

These beetles belong to a group called the cerambycid beetles, which are also called longhorn beetles. Most long-horned beetles bore in the larva stage, but only the old house borer is a serious pest in homes. These beetles as adults range from 5/8 to 1 inch in length. They are brownish-black in color with many gray hairs on the head and forepart of the body. The segment just behind the head has a shiny raised bump on each side giving it the appearance of a face. These beetles infest seasoned softwoods like pine.  They can be found in old houses, as the name implies, but are more likely to infest new homes. Larvae can take 2-3 years to develop in the wood. Once matured, the adults cut oval exit holes about ¼ to 3/8-inch diameter.

If you suspect you have a wood boring beetle infestation, give us a call at All Natural Pest Elimination and let us help you protect your home from damaging wood-boring beetles. Call today at 877-662-8449 for a free inspection.