Powder post beetles make up a group of over thirty-five wood boring beetle species known to infest homes in the United States. Wood boring beetles, after termites, cause the most wood damage in homes, depending on various factors including the hardness and type of wood, the timber’s moisture content and all environmental conditions affecting infested homes. Because most powder post beetles may already be developing inside wood when the wood is installed in new homes, powder post beetles can be difficult to detect until you notice tiny holes and small, sawdust piles called “frass” in your home or in furniture.
Referred to as “false” or “large” powder post beetles, bamboo borers and sometimes lead-cable borers, adults range from 1⁄8 to 1⁄4 inch in size. Reddish brown to black, they have a hood-like feature that obscures their heads when viewed from above.
Unlike other Powder Post Beetles, both the larvae, a.k.a. woodworms and adult False Powder Post Beetles damage wood.
In all other powder post beetle varieties, the larvae, known as woodworms, eat their way through timbers, leaving piles of “frass,” on the way to emerging from their pupae states into adulthood. As they exit wood, young adult beetles mate and the female lays up to fifty eggs in the cracks of wood or former exit holes but the adult beetles do not consume wood, concentrating only on their goal of reproduction.
An exception to adult powder post beetle behavior lies in the fact that adult female false powder post beetles bore tunnels into freshly cut hardwoods and some softwoods in order to lay their eggs. When the eggs hatch, the larvae tunnel further into the wood to develop, usually maturing by the spring following egg-laying.