How To Get Rid of Powderpost Beetles

While most beetles look harmless this is not the case for all beetle. 

This is not the case for wood boring beetles such as powderpost beetles.  

Powderpost beetles can cause serious damage to your furniture and wood around your home. 

Unfortunately, identifying and find powderpost beetle infestations is challenging. 

Don’t worry, I’m here to help. 

In this post, I will go over how to identify powderpost beetles and seven ways you can get rid of them. 

Let’s dive in. 

How To Identify Powderpost Beetles

What Do Adult Powder Post Beetles Look Like?

powder post beetles

Powder post beetles are typically dark brown or black in color. They grew to be around 1/16 to ¼ inch in length and have flattened, long, and narrow body. 

They have a small head where there eyes and mandibles are located. They have a large thorax which is approximately two to three times the size of their heads. Finally, they have a large abdomen which is approximately 60-70% of their body. 

There are three common species of powderpost beetles:

  1. Lytic 
  2. Bostrichid 
  3. Anobiid 

These beetles are hard to differentiate since they

What Do Powder Post Beetle Larva Look Like?

wood worm

Powderpost beetle larvae are the main producers of damage. The eggs are laid on eggs, and when they hatch, they feed on wood and create tunnels to travel. 

  • Size: Larva hatch and are 1mm. They grow to 7mm before pupating to an adult. 
  • Shape: C-shaped larvae with ridges
  • Head: Small head with a distinct mouth 
  • Color: Larvae are white with dark brown heads 

What do Powderpost Beetle Eggs Look Like?

Eggs are hard to find because adult powder post beetles typically lay them inside small cracks and crevices on wood.

Powder post beetle eggs are small, white, round eggs. These eggs measure less than 1mm, which can make them hard to identify.

Eggs are typically found in clusters of 50-100 eggs.

  • Size: powder post beetles eggs are small, typically 1mm or smaller 
  • Shape: Eggs are pear-shaped and are typically laid in clusters 
  • Location: powder post beetles are typically laid in the cracks and crevices of dead timber 

Bugs That Look Like Powderpost Beetles

Powderpost beetles are often confused with many other species of beetles. 

Some insects that are mistaken by powederpost bettles are: 

Signs of a Powder Post Beetle Infestation

Powder Post beetle infestations are not easy to detect. Often infestations become very large before we notice them inside or outside your home. 

Some of the most common signs of powder post beetle infestations are: 

  • ⅛ inch holes on wood furniture or other furniture around your home 
  • ⅛ inch thick tunnels inside wood or just below the surface
  • Sawdust or “frass” around wood 
  • Adult powderpost beetles flying around 
  • Adult powderpost beetles outdoors

How To Get Rid of Powderpost Beetles

1. Apply a Sealant To Your Wood

Powderpost beetles cause most of their damage because their larva feeds on wood. 

One of the most effective ways to get rid of powder post beetles is to seal your wood. Sealing your wood will provide a protective layer on the outside of your wood. 

This will make it harder for the powderpost beetle larva to burrow into your wood.

One of the first things you can do to get rid of powder post beetle is to seal the wood. Sealing the wood will provide a protective layer to the wood.

This will make it harder for common powder post beetle to burrow inside the wood. By sealing the wood, you also reduce the number of places where adults can lay their eggs.

By sealing up the cracks ad crevice, there will be fewer spaces to hide their eggs.

Also, if the wood is harder to penetrate, the larva is more likely to die after they hatch because they can’t burrow into the wood.

To seal your wood, you can take several steps 

  1. Apply a fresh coat of pain 
  2. Apply a varnish 
  3. Stain your wood 
  4. Apply a sealant 

2. Replace Moist Or Decaying Wood

Powderpost beetles are more likely to infest wood that has a high moisture content, is decaying, or rotting.

This type of wood creates an ideal living condition for powderpost beetle larvae.

Moisture will allow them to survive and bore through the wood with ease.

One way to get rid of powderpost beetles is to replace any decaying or water-damaged wood.

Depending on the severity of the moisture damage making a small replacement might be necessary. This typically includes removing the water-damaged wood and replacing it with new wood.

If the wood is severely damaged, you need to replace the entire piece of wood.

If the damage is inside your homes, such as a floorboard or post, these repairs can be expensive.

If the damage is to a piece of wood furniture, try to isolate the damage. If the damage is extensive, it’s suggested that you dispose of the furniture. If the damage is localized, you can replace the wood from the furniture.

Furniture can only be salvaged if extensive water damage is localized.

In general, powderpost beetles typically infest wood that has a moisture level greater than 6%.

Typically wood with moisture content as high as 8% is safe.

You should repair or replace the wood at any moisture levels above 8% to prevent powder post beetle infestations.

3. Reduce Moisture

Powderpost beetles are more likely to infest areas with high humidity. 

The high humidity produces an ideal environment for larvae to survive and boor into the wood. 

High humidity also increases the chances that the wood around your home might begin decaying or experience water damage. 

One way to reduce the humidity inside your house is to use dehumidifiers. This will help keep the moisture levels down. 

Likewise, you want to inspect and make sure that there are not any drainage issues inside or outside your home. 

This includes any potential leaks or puddles that form inside or outside your home. 

Key areas you want to inspect include: 

  • Bathrooms 
  • Kitchens 
  • Attics 
  • Basements 
  • Boilers romance 
  • Laundry rooms 

These rooms are the most likely to experience water damage or high humidity. 

4. Treat Your Wood With Moisture

Powderpost beetles infest wood. One of the most effective ways to get rid of powderpost beetles is to treat your wood.

One of the most common ways to treat wood is using borates.

Borate is a natural substance that is a highly effective insecticide once consumed. This insecticide is commonly used on termites.

When wood is treated with borates, any insects that eat or chew on the wood inside your home will eventually die.

Borates are an effective method of killing eggs or larva currently infesting wood. It also prevents future infestations by killing new larvae before they can grow into adults.

BORA-CARE is one of the most common products used specifically for treating wood.

To use BORA-CARE, dilute five gallons of water for every one gallon BORA-CARE.

Next, transfer the solution to a pressurized spray bottle and spray it to any exposed wood.

Bora-care can only be applied to unfinished wood. Wood finished with paint, primer, or sealant won’t absorb bora-care, and it will be ineffective.

Wood that is finished can still be treated with borates. To treat wood that is finished with paint or other sealants, you will need to inject the wood with bora care.

This method is more complicated and should be done with care.

5. Eliminate adult Powderpost Beetles

You can’t only eliminate larvae or eggs hiding inside your wood. You should also target any adults living inside or outside. 

There are multiple methods you can use to get rid of adult powderpost beetles. 

  1. Apply Insecticides Outdoors and Indoors 
  2. Use Diatomaceous Earth 

Apply Insecticides Outdoors and Indoors

Insecticides are an effective way to get rid of adult powderpost beetles.  While insecticides are highly effective they also kill helpful insects around your home. 



Adult powderpost beetles are often found outdoors, hiding in dark places, near gardens, or near other decomposing material in your yard. 

Applying insecticides around your home will help you eliminate any beetles outdoors. You want to spray around the border of your home and on the surface of any trees and grass. 

Any powderpost beetles that come in contact with the surface of the insecticide will die. 

For the most effective results, a residual insecticide is the best option. This will keep the insecticide effective for up to three to six months. 



You can also apply insecticides indoors to eliminate any powderpost beetles that may be hiding after laying eggs. 

You will typically find beetles hiding within clutter or in dark spaces. 

You can apply insecticides on your floorboards, inside basements, attics, washrooms, and boiler rooms. 

This will help you eliminate any stragglers that are hiding inside your home. 

Use Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth is a naturally occurring sedimentary rock.

While diatomaceous earth is safe for humans and pets, it kills insects by destroying their exoskeletons. And it is a very effective natural alternative for eliminating ticks.

To use DE against moths, I recommend combining the powder with water to create a “DE slurry.”

Keep in mind that DE is only effective when dry. So, you will have to wait until it dries and settles before it works.

Outdoors DE slurry is most effective because it’s resistant to wind and allows you to easily apply to large areas and small cracks and crevices. 

Indoors typically using a dust is the most effective option. You can easily use a dust bulb to apply DE to small crevices and gaps where the beetles could be hiding. 

This method does result in slower deaths, but it’s highly effective if the area remains dry for extended periods.

It also a safer alternative to spraying harsh chemicals indoors and outdoors. 

6. Use a Vacuum

Vacuuming is an excellent method to get rid of adult common powder post beetles. This method is not effective against larva, but it can help remove eggs.

To begin eliminating common powder post beetle, you need to start by removing adults. By removing the adults, you can eliminate the possibility that they will continue breeding and growing their infestation.

Inspect the interior and exterior of your home with a vacuum. Powder post beetle are not great at hiding. They tend to hide slightly hidden away or in any dark areas.

Cleaning, decluttering, and moving things around will make it much easier to find any powder post beetle inside or outside your home.

Typically a normal vacuum will suffice. But to ensure that the beetles die, you can use a wet-dry vacuum and add water and dish soap to make sure that they drown once you vacuum them.

7. Use a Heat Treatment

Like when treating bed bugs or termites, extreme heat is a great way to eliminate powderpost beetles.

Heat treating an entire home is expensive and typically requires professional assistance. In some cases, heat treatments are not effective when performed on whole structures.

This is because powderpost beetle larvae can live deep in wood. There is not enough focus on a single area when treating entire structures to ensure enough heat reaches deep in the wood.

Localized treatments are more effective and allow you to treat specific walls or rooms more effectively. To do this, you need to locate and isolate the area of the powderpost beetle infestation.

If the powderpost beetle infestation occurs in wood furniture, you can use a heat chamber to treat the furniture. You can typically perform this type of treatment without professional assistance.

These chambers reach high temperatures (120-135 degrees Fahrenheit) that will kill powder post beetles inside your furniture.

Before placing your furniture in a heat treatment, always make sure all the parts or pieces can withstand high heat. In some cases, plastic parts may need to be removed to prevent damage.

Frequently Asked Question (FAQ)

How Much Does Powderpost Beetle Treatment Cost?

Powderpost beetle treatment can vary anywhere from $250 to $5,000. The price will depend on the severity of the infestation and the type of treatment.

Typically, smaller infestations or infestations localized to one particular area will be cheaper.

Larger infestations are more expensive typically because you need to treat a larger area, and multiple treatments need to be done to ensure all the powder post beetles are eliminated.

Will bleach kill powder post beetles?

Yes, bleach can kill both larva and adult powder post beetles. Unfortunately, this method is not very practical for eliminating powder post beetles.

You will need to drench any infested wood with bleach. If you have finished wood, this will be difficult.

Also, there are more effective methods that will allow you to treat your wood without using harsh chemicals such as bleach.

Can powder post beetles destroy a house?

Yes, severe infestations of powderpost beetles can cause serious damage to the wood around your home.

The damaged wood will need a full replacement, and in some cases, the damage can cause structural problems.

Will borax kill powder post beetles?

Yes, borax is a highly effective method of eliminating powder post beetles as well as other wood-boring insects. When the insects bore through the wood, they will consume the borax and eventually die.

The most common borax treatment includes using bora-care to treat any unfinished wood around your home or perform injections into your wood to treat the inside of the wood.

Do powder post beetles spread?

Yes, powderpost beetles can spread. After powderpost beetle larvae exit wood, they will leave to reproduce and lay more eggs.

Powderpost beetles will spread as they continue to go through this process.

Where Do Powder Post Beetles Live (Distribution)?

Powderpost beetles are found throughout the United States. They are more common along the Eastern and Western Costal States. 

These states are ideal because they typically provide the ideal humidity and moisture levels for powderpost beetles to thrive. 

What Do Powderpost Beetles Eat?

Powderpost beetle larvae live and feed on wood. The larvae stay burrowed in wood their entire lives and eat the strach, protein, and sugar found in wood fibers.

The larvae prefer wood that is high in moisture so that they can easily burrow through the wood.

Larvae will feed on wood for three to four years before they exit the timber as adults. After exiting the wood, adults no longer feed on wood.

As adults, powder post beetles feed on pollen and nectar. Like bees and wasps, powder post beetles beetles will swarm gardens, plants, and flowers to feed on the pollen and nectar they provide.

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