Category: Termites & More
DIVERSITY Sole Species
Three groups of wood-boring beetles—powderpost, deathwatch, and false powderpost invade and damage wood furniture as well as structural and decorative wood inside of buildings. The beetle larvae feed in and do most of the damage to wood, and when they reach the adult stage, they emerge through round exit holes, which they create by chewing through the wood surface. Adults of some species also bore exit holes through plaster, plastic, and even soft metals that might cover the underlying wood.
Fine sawdust or frass coming out of small holes in the wood is typically the first sign of the presence of boring beetles. The frass has a gritty feel to it as opposed to the talcum powder consistency of lyctid beetle frass. One of the challenges when dealing with a boring beetle infestation is the determination of whether the infestation is active or old. A good method is to cover a six-inch area of suspect wood with one layer of masking tape in early to late spring. If after a couple of weeks there are no small holes in the masking tape the chances are that the infestation is old and inactive.
Genuine infestations are far more likely in areas with high humidity, such as poorly-ventilated crawl spaces. Housing with central heating/air-conditioning tends to cut the humidity of wood in the living areas to less than half of natural humidity, thus strongly reducing the likelihood of an infestation. Infested furniture should be removed from the house before the infestation spreads.
Subflooring, hardwood flooring, interior trim, joists, sills and especially beams are subject to attack. Other wood products, such as hardwood furniture, implement handles and ladders, may also be attacked. Log houses are especially vulnerable. Vacation or recreation structures are also more prone to beetle attack because they often have higher moisture content in the wood due to intermittent heating or poor ventilation. The amount of damage caused by wood-boring beetles will vary based on the species of beetle and their unique feeding and egg-laying preferences. Damage weakens structural timbers and results primarily from the feeding activities of the beetle larvae.