Powderpost beetles are insects that would fall under the “pest” category, and for the strangest reason: they have a hankering for antiques. An enemy to lovers of old furniture, the powderpost beetle also love getting into other dead and moistened hardwoods, like dead branches and trees. They are second only to terminates in their ability to damage wooden structures. (YIKES!)
What is a Powderpost Beetle?
Powderpost beetles are part of the of the lyctidae family of insects. They are small, brown, and usually around ¼ inch or less in length. Powderpost beetles deposit themselves in wood, with a preference for slightly moistened and rough cut.
What do Powderpost Beetles Do?
Powderpost beetles are destructive; their tell-tale sign is a bunch of holes in an area that give out fine, powder-like sawdust in wooded areas. It takes them about a year to make their Swiss cheese structures within wood, less if the wood has high moisture and starch.
Life Cycle of a Powderpost Beetle
Powderpost beetles will usually begin depositing eggs into around the spring, which will develop within the wood itself. Their larvae look like little grubs and get to about 1/5 inch in length. Around midwinter they reach adulthood and exit the structure they’re in by creating the little holes and sawdust they’re known for. While they’re not picky eaters, powderpost beetles do prefer the sapwood of oak, and have no problem re-infesting a nice hunk of wood for many generations.
Powderpost Beetle Infestation
The best way to avoid an infestation is to make sure any wood you have is as dry as possible. Sanding and varnishing wood pieces would discourage the females from finding crevices to deposit their eggs to begin with. Avoid putting valuable pieces in places that encourage a moist environment, such as sheds, so your beautiful antiques don’t end up as housing and food for these and other wood boring insects. For furniture that does become infested, it’s possible to save it if detected early and put through a fumigation treatment.
Bloom Editor Danielle Schneider
Bloom Writer Leah Iannacone