How to Get Rid of Powderpost Beetle



There are 4 different types of powderpost beetles: Lycid, Bostrichidae, Anobiidae, and Creamycidae. The stage of the beetles where they do the most damage is the larvae. The larvae of all the beetles will reduce wood to a mass of very fine, powder-like substance, but the adults do very little damage.

Adult powderpost beetles appear once a year, usually during June. When the adult powderpost beetle appear in June, they leave small holes around the size of a pin in the surface of the wood and some leave a hole about the size of a pencil lead.

Lycitdae or also known as True Powderpost Beetles, are extremely small and less than 1/4′ in size; powderpost beetles Lycidae are flat and reddish brown to a black color. Larvae are white, cream colored and have dark brown head. The larvae of powderpost beetles (Lycidae) create tunnels in the wood as they become pupae and as an adult when they come out of the wood, the hole is the size of 1/32-1/16′ pinholes.

Anobiidae (Furniture and Deathwatch Beetle) attacks building timbers that are in poorly ventilated areas where there is moisture. Anobiidae powderpost beetles got the name Deathwatch beetles because from the ticking sound that the adult makes inside the infested wood. You will be able to hear them at a quiet night. These powderpost beetles can range in a size from 1/32-3/8′ long but the ones that attack the structures are around 1/8-1/4′ long. The anobiidae powderpost beetles are elongate and cylinder like. The first body segment looks like a hood which hides the head.

The Long-Horned or Round-Headed powderpost beetles feeds and lives in dead or dying trees, but they can also feed on living trees. The main reason on why the Cerambyciae powderpost beetles can come into the house is from firewood brought inside during the winter season. Old House Borers are found in older building but are becoming more common in newer buildings 10 years or younger. The adult old house borer powderpost beetles are brownish-black to black, semi-flat, and about 3/4-1′ in diameter. The exit holes that these powderpost beetles make are oval and around 1/4-3/8′ in diameter. The damage will have already occurred for several years before you might even notice the exit holes.


The powderpost beetles are found in stored lumber, rafters, joists, finished wood, and furniture products and pinewood. Also starch-rich sapwood of large-pored hardwoods i.e. ash, hickory, oak, walnut and cherry trees and structural timbers


There are several procedures to take to help prevent beetles from infesting wood.

  1. Inspect wood prior to purchase
  2. Use proper air-dried wood
  3. Seal wood surfaces
  4. Use chemically treated wood
  5. Use good structure design i.e. ventilation, drainage, and proper clearance between wood and soil to decrease the moisture content
  6. Use the central heating and cooling systems also to speed up the wood drying process.
  7. Sand and varnish the non infested wood
  8. Items that are held in value should not be stored in buildings outside such as in barns or sheds because these types of buildings are most of the time infested with powderpost beetles.
  9. If it is possible remove the infested wood form the premises.

As we described above, powder post beetles will leave holes when they inhabit the wood and will lay eggs because of this, we suggest that you use Timbor (TIMBOR INSECTICIDE & FUNGICIDE) which is a powder that you will mix with water to be used as a spray. You will mix one lb. with one gallon of water. Timbor (TIMBOR INSECTICIDE & FUNGICIDE) can possibly stain so it is not suggested to be used on furniture. Timbor should not be used on painted, varnished or sealed wood, or cellulose material. If the wood is drier than the normal moisture content then you need to apply by brush or spray two applications of the solution. You will spray this product using a hand sprayer (CHAPIN SPRAYER). Boaracare (BORACARE TERMITE) is a liquid that reacts faster than Timbor, it is used the same way as Timbor. If your furniture is severely infested, then it is recommended to fumigate it in a fumigation chamber, however, only by a licensed professional. If it is not severely infested, use aerosol products (PRO CITRA DL , CY-KICK AEROSOL) to spray only in places where you think that powderpost beetles have laid their eggs.

Timbor Boracare

These products can be used with this item:

Chapin 1 gallon Sprayer
Pro-Citra DL CY-Kick

Date: Tuesday, 12. January 2010 2:30
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  1. 1

    i have a powder post problem in a 82 year old old cabin more inside than out. beetles came in with the fire wood. inside of the cabin was varnished 82 years ago. This summer I sanded the most infected areas and then brushed on Boracare. I cant see that my efforts had any effect on the population.Now what to do??. Can I add boracare to the varnish then apply it to the logs to seal the surface or should I spray Cy-kick on invected areas. Please help. Thankyou.

  2. 2


    Thank you for contacting us. It is difficult to treat just one or even just a few isolated spots if the wood is a part of the structure. It is not recommended to mix the Boracare with the varnish before application. Although it is alright to treat with Cy-Kick for powderpost beetles, you will only receive a short residual treatment. Unfortunately, for a structural infestation, you are limited on what options you have. Although it is costly, sometimes it is the only option to fumigate the structure for complete eradication and control. I apologize for being unable to better assist you.

    Best Regards,

  3. 3

    I have bamboo flooring in my home. We noticed very small holes, about the size of the tip of a pen. They are powder post beetles. They are now just in one bedroom, but we have been told that there could be eggs in the flooring in our entire house, which is 2,000 sq feet of flooring. The floors are bamboo from China and were installed about 8 years ago, but the problem just surfaced about 6 months or so ago. If we just treat one room, is it possible other eggs will hatch later in the rest of the house?
    Someone told us the eggs can lay dormant for 20 years, is that true, and if not, how long can they remain dormant?
    A few pest control companies have told us the only way to kill all the eggs is to fumigate the entire house.
    Please let me know.
    Thank you.

  4. 4

    I have called terminix for my powderpost beetles only to find they do not fumigate here and they would have to get their ppl in California to come here and the cost 7 grand which i cannot do. will a mixture of borax and water injected into the wood kill the eggs and larva?

  5. 5

    Hi Bob,
    Honestly, I don’t think they can remain dormant for up to 20 years. But for an infestation that size or even structural infestations will require a fumigation treatment. Unless you are willing to sand down past the sealer and directly to a bare surface of the wood to treat with a liquid insecticide, usually fumigation is the only other option for powder post beetle treatment. Fumigation is done professionally and we do not recommend doing a DIY fumigation treatment. Firstly, equipment is costly and not readily accessible, and secondly, it is potentially very harmful if you are not following all precautions. I’m sorry that I wasn’t able to better assist you, but if you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact us again! 🙂

  6. 6

    Hi Robin,
    It really depends on where you are trying to treat. Liquid borate treatments are really the most effective for powder post beetles when the borate fuses with the wood. That means that the treatment must soak through the entire piece of wood. You will have to apply it to a bare side of the wood and if the area you are treating is finished with a sealer, you will have to sand down the sealer to get to the bare wood. If you cannot do this or if it is a structural infestation that you are dealing with, unfortunately, the only other effective treatment is fumigation. You should not depend on just one company to give you a quotation for treatment. Call different companies to find out quotations for fumigation. If you have any further questions or comments, please feel free to contact us again.

  7. 7

    Borate is toxic when burn so that isnt a choice, any ideas besides trying to get the wood dry fast as possible. Thanks again.

  8. 8

    Hi Richard,

    Unfortunately, we do not have an answer for your inquiry. I’m not quite sure if there is a method to dry out wood faster. I apologize. If you have any other questions though, feel free to let me know. Thanks.

  9. 9

    Hello, we purchased a TV/storage/entertainment center 12 years ago and noticed within the past couple of years (maybe longer) small holes the size of a pin around the molding of the furniture. We honestly didn’t think anything of it and then decided that we would use the piece in your basement as a service bar to cut down on cost with purchasing a new piece of furniture. We don’t have plans to resurface but have removed the hardware, plan to put in a counter, etc… but after reading the posts, it sounds like we need to put a hold on our project. I would like to send you a couple of photo’s to get your thoughts. Also, with the age of the furniture just want to get your thoughts if having the home fumigated is recommended to prevent any other issues with our other wood furniture.

  10. 10

    Hi Craig,
    Yes, please send us the photos to and we can kind of get a better feeling for what you are describing. Our technicians can help you once they look at the pictures.

  11. 11

    We bought a piece of old furniture, refinished it and placed it in our home. Started noticing the dust on the floor and several holes, so we thought something was inside the wood, but had never heard of powder post beetles. We placed the furniture in our garage until we could figure out how to treat it. Now, we notice the pin size holes on the wall in our garage, which is unfinished wood, so I’m guessing the beetles exited the furniture and entered the wood on the wall. If we treat with Boracare, will that be sufficient??? Can we ensure it kills the beetles and they don’t go further into the structure of our home? Thank you in advance!

  12. 12

    Hi Kelly,

    Boracare is one of the top recommended products for wood-boring pests like powderpost beetles because if it is applied correctly, it will soak through the wood and fuse with the wood giving you an indefinite residual time. We cannot say if it has spread into the rest of the structure of the house or not, but if you get an inspection done, they will be able to tell you. If you have any further questions or comments, please feel free to contact us again.

  13. 13

    I have a 50 year old shabby house that we’ve been fixing up as time & $ allow. 2, 3 or maybe 4 years ago the kids brought some rotten wood from the backyard in the the room for some project they were going to make. The wood was in there for at least half a day – too long ago to remember for sure.

    We just had the wood floor in there refinished last week. There are little holes all over the oak, in random boards that I noticed when it was first sanded. The floor refinisher said that’s common for second grade oak however, no other oak floor in my house or my neighbors has those holes.
    I’m really concerned my kids brought post beetles in the house. Do I need to unfinish this floor to figure out & address the infestation? I’m thinking I should spray the crawlspace under the house with Boracare this spring to be safe however, that won’t address the oak in the boy’s room. You’ve mentioned Boracare isn’t OK indoors. We’re talking under 300 holes @ this point. Should I drill the holes a little to break the seal of the finish & spray something in there?

    When I went in there just now to see how many holes there are, all the holes were sealed shut last week and now about a dozen have been broken open so I am guessing some bugs came out? Should I treat any furniture/trim we put in that room with a preventive to make sure the bugs don’t spread? Should I put packing tape on the floor over the regions with holes to catch any bugs that exit out?
    The room is empty except for some oak trim we’re getting ready to put in so now is the time to address whatever is going on. I can send pictures if that’d help.

  14. 14

    I am fairly certain that I have a powder post beetle problem in my hickory floors. We installed our floors in our house in 2010 and just started noticing the pinholes in a few planks of wood in December of 2012. I monitored the situation for a while and saw sawdust one day that wasn’t there the previous day. One particular plank was much worse than all the others so I decided to tear it out. once I tore it out I noticed pin holes on the edges of adjacent boards to the 1 that I tore out. I removed all of the boards that had visible damage, i.e. pin holes. I also noticed that they were pinholes extending down into the plywood subfloor, which I thought was strange because I thought they only inhabit hardwood. After reading some articles online I read that I should use a boric acid powder and mix it with water to create borate. I put the solution in a spray bottle and sprayed the subfloor and the edges of the adjacent planks that didn’t have any holes in them. I saw one beetle crawling over the area about an hour after I treated it. I am worried that there are more that I am not seeing. I mean there could be thousands under that floor that I cannot see. I don’t want to install new planks until I know I fixed the problem. Is there anything else I should be doing? We live in South Dakota. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

  15. 15

    Hello Sam,
    For an infestation that large, you will have to used insecticide treatment or fumigation. We do not specialize in fumigation treatment and you will have to hire a professional for a fumigation treatment. Typically we recommend Boracare for a powderpost beetle treatment. All treated areas must be avoided until the Boracare has completely fused with the wood, which can take several hours, even up until a whole day. This means that your boys will have to vacate the room and stay away for a period of time. Also, for the insecticide to be effectively applied and treated to the wood, the wood must be bare. This means that all sealants and finishing must be sanded down until the wood is bare. Unfortunately, these things are required for treatment for powderpost beetles. We recommend having a professional inspect the area so that they can give you a more accurate diagnostic about the infestation and the options for treatment. If you have any further questions or comments, please feel free to contact us again.

  16. 16

    Hi Scott,
    Unfortunately, for large infestations like this that cover a large area, it is the best to get an opinion from a professional that can actually go and inspect the area. Usually, fumigation will be the option that will treat this large space at one time. Otherwise, you would have to consider manually treating with a liquid like Boracare, which will require you to sand down the wood until it’s bare so that the liquid can permeate through the wood and fuse with the wood. I apologize that I was not able to better assist you, but my best advice would be for you to go and have at least an inspection done by a professional and sort of weigh out your options that way. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact us again.

  17. 17

    I found on small hole on my bedroom floor, which is stained and sealed hardwood. Do you suggest applying boracare to the pin hole or should I go under the house and spray the spot under the bedroom? I have a dog, is this stuff too toxic for pets?


  18. 18

    Hi Kathleen,
    The safety of the product will depend on what product you use. It will be difficult to apply insecticide to just one pinhole. It is the best to reach the side of wood that is not stained and sealed and if that is under the house, it is possible that it will be more effective to treat from under the house. If you have any further questions or comments, please feel free to contact us again.

  19. 19

    I recently came across a small area of very fine powder on my basement floor (it wasn’t there a few months ago; house is 12 years old). It wasn’t in a pile but in an area about 1’x2′. While searching the internet for a cause I came across powder post beetles. Upon inspection of the rafter above I see pin sized holes along the whole beam (several dozen) above where I found the powder. I didn’t find any other beams or structure that have the holes. The holes were all along the beam but the powder was only at one end near the wall. Should I consider spraying/brushing Timbor on the beam?

  20. 20

    Hi Kevin,
    Timbor may leave a visible residue because it is a dust form. We recommend using Boracare. However, for borate products, it is best to apply the product on bare wood. If you have any further questions or comments, please feel free to contact us again.

  21. 21

    I have a small infestation of powder post beetles on ash flooring that was installed 3 years ago. I was advised that the beetles would die out on their own, but each year I get a few more sites with about 20 – 30 holes. I have had the floors stripped (all 1200 sq feet)and am going to treat with Tim-bor. How long does the flooring have to stay unfinished after the treatment? I need to schedule the flooring company to come and re-sand, stain and varnish the flooring. Any help is appreciated. Thanks.

  22. 22

    Hi Angela, Thanks for uploading your question. The flooring just needs to be unfinished for the initial Tim-bor Treatment. Once it has been treated with the Tim-bor and fully dried you can re-sand and stain the flooring.

  23. 23


    Do any type of those beetles pinch or slice humans? My husband and I have a log bed and I think they may be there.. we’ll find one in our bed occasionally and we find it because we wake up from the pinch or slice it is doing to us.


  24. 24

    Beetles can bite humans. However powder post beetles spend most of their time inside the wood, therefore unless the infestation is severe you are not likely to see them forage out in the areas. If you are seeing small pin holes in the wooden frames of your bed, they are likely to be powder post beetles. For treatment I would recommend BORACARE. If the wood has a finishing you may need to sand it down so that the boracare is able to be applied on the bare wood. This will allow the chemical to thoroughly seep through the wood for best treatment.

  25. 25

    We have a rather large barn that is very old…the framing timbers are estimated to have been erected in the early 1700’s. With the extremely wet May/June that we had here in Upstate NY, we have noticed an alarming amount of activity that we suspect to PPBs.I believe that fumigation costs for this barn would be prohibitive. Can BORACARE be used as a more economical method to slow down or stop further damage? Are there alternative products that may be more effective for local applications on a larger scale?

  26. 26

    Boracare can definitely slow down their activity and eventually help you get rid of the Powder Post Beetles. Boracare is best applied on wood with unfinished surfaces so that it may be able to thoroughly penetrate deep into the wood.

  27. 27

    I have anobiidea beetles (powderpost) in the floor joist. We only see one joist wth holes however ther is insulation stapled in place so the floor boards cannot be inspected without removing the insulation. The flooring directly above the joist is plywood. What is the liklihood that the flooring is infested above the joist. I am assuming that the plywood is 3/4 inch. The age of the house is 30 years. We are planning to have a professional come in to treat the all of the joists under the house but is it necessary to remove the insulation net to the floorboards?

  28. 28

    Hi. I just moved into a newly constructed condo and sprayed the inside with home defense prior to moving in. Then a week later noticed these dead light brown or redish beetles all over the place. Not a ton but in most rooms at least one or two. I noticed a wall that looks like it has random holes I n it but it seems to be plaster not wood. How can I tell if they are powder post or foreighn grain beetles. The holes do not have any residue or powder. I have collected some samples but the teo beetles look so alike. I find them mostly in the window seals.

  29. 29

    Situations like this need to be directly inspected to determine the severity of the infestation. IF you are planning to have a professional come in to treat the joists, he may be able to tell you if it is necessary to remove the insulation net to the floorboards. Sorry we couldn’t be much help with this one. Good luck!

  30. 30

    They could be beetles foraging in to overwinter since it is getting colder outside. How large are the beetles? Most grain beetles and powder post beetles are going to be very small compared to other species of beetles. In this Fall season, it would be best to treat around the outside perimeter of your home as well as along all window/door frames, crack and crevices to prevent them from foraging indoors.

  31. 31

    Thought nothing of dismantling an old historic house and re-building it on a new lot. We used the old, original beams. We thought that would be charming. during the resurrection we did not notice pin holes at all. Now 12 years later the “ticking” keeps us up at night. We removed clapboards from the exterior to inspect and the beams were chewed through. To the extend they were not supporting the structure. There was a moisture problem, which has been corrected. The contractor balloon framed around the damaged beams. We had an exterminator spray the timber prior to re-siding. Now we hear ticking again. Should we remove all the cedar siding again? Or should we bite the bullet and fumigate? I could never sell this house in this condition.

  32. 32

    You can fumigate the house but fumigation will not restore the damages which could have an effect for the support on the structure. First you should inspect the area again to check the severity of the damage. Also check to see if the damages are reoccurring in the same area or other areas. If it is the same area even after the wood was treated, the area should be checked again for possible sources of moisture problems. Also check the surrounding areas of the infestation source so that you can make sure all areas are treated before sealing the place back up.

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