Have you opened up the attic and found powder-like bugs? Don’t worry – it’s not termites. It’s more common than insecticide companies would like us to think: PowderPost Beetles (also known as woodworm).
PowderPost beetles are a group of insects that includes over 540 species. They get their common name from the flour-like powder they leave behind as a byproduct of feeding on wood. This powder contains larvae excretions and sheds larval skins, which can cause allergies or trigger asthma symptoms in humans.
PowderPost beetles are generally considered to be among the world’s worst wood-destroying insects (in the world of entomology). You would be surprised to find how quickly they can go from nothing to something.
What Do PowderPost Beetles Look Like?
PowderPost beetles are usually brown in color, but that varies based on the species. They usually have flattened bodies that allow them to fit into wood cracks or narrow tunnels. The larvae of PowderPost Beetles are creamy white, grub-like bugs that may be up to 1/4 inch long. They also have brown heads and six small legs near their mouths.
How Do PowderPost Beetles Differ From Termites?
PowderPost Beetles and termites can be hard to tell apart because the larvae look similar. Termite larvae tend to curl up into a “C” shape when they crawl around, whereas PowderPost Beetles tend to stick out straight. PowderPost Beetle larvae have tiny spines on their backs which termites don’t. Also, when the PowderPost Beetle larva pupates into an adult beetle, it will leave a round emergence hole in the wood, whereas termites make a D-shaped emergence hole.
PowderPost Beetle Life Cycle:
Larvae typically eat the wood, making round holes about 1/16 inch in diameter. PowderPost beetles carry enough wood debris on their body surface to allow them to blend into the coloration of the grain so they are very hard to see. That means that the only time you’ll find them is when they are filled with wood particles, or when they die in your attic.
They generally spend about a year developing in the wood where the female lays her eggs. The larvae hatch and feed for 2-6 years before pupating into adults that emerge from the wood to mate. The length of time it takes them to mature depends on environmental conditions, including temperature and humidity.
What Type Of Wood Do PowderPost Beetles Consume?
PowderPost beetles are most often found in hardwoods but can infest softwoods as well. They attack both seasoned and green lumber – which means they’re a force to be reckoned with. They’re not picky about wood species either, preferring old-growth woods such as oak and mahogany.
PowderPost beetles only require a small piece of wood to start a colony – it can be as small as a matchstick! The good news is that they don’t generally cause structural damage to wood, but rather are cosmetic pests. They often leave piles of sawdust near wood that they infest.
The beetles are not attracted to the wood itself, but rather to fungi that grow on or in it. They carry spores on their bodies as they move through the tunnels, feeding and laying eggs in the wood.
PowderPost beetles are typically found in wood that is high in starch or sugar content, which can be determined by weighing the piece of wood. If it weighs more after drying than before drying, then there is a good chance that it may have been infested.
The environmental conditions that the wood is stored in can also be a factor, as this may provide ideal moisture and temperature ranges for fungal growth. Factors such as improper ventilation of attics or basements may lead to condensation on the wood.
Powderpost beetles favor aged or seasoned wood with a moisture content of 10%
How Do You Keep PowderPost Beetles Away From Your Home?
To prevent PowderPost Beetles from infesting your home, keep firewood off the ground and away from walls. If you see them before they infest your wood (in other words, before they go into the larvae stage), then it’s best to call CPL Pest Control as soon as you can because their life cycle moves quickly.
What Should You Do If You Have A Problem With PowderPost Beetles?
If you do find yourself with an infestation, you should consult a professional pest controller to inspect and treat your home. CPL Pest Control offers free inspections at your convenience . To get rid of PowderPost Beetles, call CPL Pest Control. Most PowderPost beetles only require a single treatment to eliminate infestations because they can be quite vulnerable to chemicals. Call 281-683-6737, ask for Chris!
Thanks for reading!