Lyctids, or more commonly known as powderpost beetles, receive their names from a unique behavior that the larvae exhibits inside their galleries in the wood. The larvae will produce an extremely fine, dusty, or powder-like frass, hence their name, powderpost beetles. Powderpost beetles are all over the world, including the United States. As a matter of fact, there are actually 11 different species of powderpost beetles that can be found in the United States.>> Read More
The size will range depending on the species of powderpost beetles. Generally, the powderpost beetle size will be about 1 - 7 mm long on average. The bodies of powderpost beetles are elongated and narrow. They are also flat from top to bottom. Both sides of powderpost beetles run almost parallel to each other, which means that the head, the pronotum, which is the plate-like structure that covers the thorax, and the elytra, which primarily serves to protect the hindwings, are all about equal width to each other. The color will range depending on the species. In general, they tend to be be reddish-brown to black in color.
The larvae of powderpost beetles look quite different from fully matured powderpost beetles. Depending on the species of powderpost beetles, the developed larvae are about 6mm in length. Their entire body is white in color and is curved presenting a C-shape. Powderpost beetle damage will primarily be done by the larvae as they leave behind flour-like or powder-like frass as they create tunnels in the wood as they are feeding. Most infestations are only discovered after a homeowner sees evidence of holes in the wood surrounding his property.
Many homeowners will not notice a powderpost beetle infestation until they notice small, round holes in the wood that they have never seen before. These holes are made when a fully matured adult powderpost beetle emerges from the wood. However, much of the damage is done by larvae of powderpost beetles as they feed on the wood. All of the larvae feeding is done internally as they create tunnels, therefore, many people will not know the extent of their infestation until they actually see the holes.
Powderpost beetles prefer hardwoods over softwood because hardwoods have many pores useful for their egg laying process. Softwoods on the other hand are not as porous therefore, they tend to stay away from softwoods. As well as having a large pore size, powderpost beetles infest wood with high starch content and infest dryer woods. Some of these woods include oak wood, ash wood, mahogany wood and bamboo wood. Homeowners may notice that infestations seem concentrated in areas like their flooring, window sills and panes, door frames and other interior furniture.
Prevention is crucial so that a powderpost beetle infestation cannot spread to other parts of the house. Every homeowner should be aware of some DIY preventative measures for powderpost beetles. These include close inspection of wood materials that are brought into the house. Inspection should take place prior to any product purchasing. Using proper techniques to finish the wood and to dry the wood will also help in preventing a powderpost beetle infestation. Using proper air-dried wood, chemically treated wood, heating and cooling systems to speed up the wood drying processes and sealing wood surfaces are all proper methods to prevent future infestations. Also, if there has been a previous infestation of powderpost beetles, all infested wood should be discarded or removed and treated.
There are several methods that will work to kill powderpost beetles. Liquid insecticides that are properly labeled for powderpost beetles are the best solution for effective powderpost beetle control. Unfortunately, for sealed, varnished or painted wood, treatment will not be able to penetrate inside to reach the larvae and eggs. Therefore, if the wood is painted, sealed or varnished, the surface must be sanded or bare to treat and eliminate powderpost beetles. Liquid insecticides can be injected into the wood and/or painted on the surface area. For smaller infestations, properly labeled pressurized aerosol sprays will work great as a contact kill for the open places where you know powderpost beetles are present. All product labels for pesticides must carefully be reviewed before they are applied.
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