Lyctid Powderpost Beetle
Lyctid powderpost beetles are common all over the world. There are about 11 species distributed in the US, seven of which frequently feed on wood structures and objects. Lyctid powderpost beetle larvae leave behind a distinctive powder-like dust (or frass) in their feeding galleries.
The exit holes this wood destroying insect creates are tiny and round. Depending on the species, range from 1/32 to 1/16” in diameter. One telltale sign of infestation is the accumulation of piles of powder-like dust beneath the exit holes of wood. This frass contains no pellets (unlike anobiid frass) and falls easily from the holes.
Lyctid powderpost beetle adults measure 1/16 to 3/16” long, depending on the species. They’re elongated, narrow, flattened, almost parallel-sided, and reddish-brown to black in color. Powderpost beetle antennae have an abrupt 2-segmented club. Their elytra (hardened front wings or wing covers) are usually covered with rows of hairs (setae).
Depending on the species, mature powderpost larvae range up to about ¼” long, and are nearly white in color. Their bodies are C-shaped with an enlarged thorax and 3 pairs of minute legs.
Female lyctid powderpost beetles lay 15-50 eggs in exposed wood pores, cracks or crevices. Their eggs are never deposited on waxed, polished, painted, or varnished surfaces. Larvae only tunnel in sapwood, and usually tunnel along the wood grain. As they bore, larvae loosely pack their tunnels with very fine powder-like dust (like talcum powder or flour). After molting several times over 2 to 9 months, mature larva bore further into wood to construct pupal chambers. When adult beetles emerge from their pupation, they bore straight out of the wood’s surface and exit. Indoors, adults usually emerge in late winter or early spring. They can begin mating almost immediately after they exit their pupal chambers.
Lyctids attack the sapwood of old, moist hardwoods. They attack lumber, manufactured products, and hardwood structural timbers. These beetles can only remain active if the wood they feed on is moist enough. They need wood that’s 8 to 32% moist and prefer 10 to 20% moisture. Adults are most active at night, can fly, and are attracted to light. These beetles usually come into homes and buildings via via infested wood that contains their eggs and/or larvae. These woods are typically originally infested while they’re set out to dry or after they’re placed in storage. These beetles can’t lay their eggs on or inside finished wood.
CONTROL AND PREVENTION
The easiest way to prevent lyctid powderpost beetle infestation is to inspect wooden items before bringing them inside. Pay special attention to older wooden products like antique furniture and barn wood. Make sure you have a professional treat any old barn wood before you bring it indoors.
A Plunkett’s Pest Control pest management professional can determine if a powderpost beetle infestation exists and whether it’s still active. If beetles are active, we can treat exposed structural wood with a borate treatment. In some cases, we’ll also use heat treatment to control and destroy lyctids and their eggs.
If you think you have a lyctid powderpost beetle infestation, don’t hesitate to call Plunkett’s Pest Control right away. We’ll identify the severity of the infestation, design a design to control it, and wipe it out completely. The sooner you act, the more wood you can save–so call now!