Powderpost Beetle Damage

If you have ever ventured into your basement and have noticed a number of holes in the wooden components of it, you may have come across Powderpost beetle damage.

These holes typically are numerous in nature and are about the size of pencil lead or slightly larger.

Any bumping (even lightly) of the affected wood and a fine, flour-like powder will come flying out of these holes.

Scientifically speaking, Powderpost beetles are a group of dozens of species of woodboring beetles listed in the insect subfamily ‘Lyctinae’.

As gross as it sounds, the larvae of Powderpost beetles can spend 2-5 years growing up in the wood components of your home.

This is because they hatch from eggs that are laid by the adults and as the larvae grow into pupae and eventually their own adulthood, they are constantly feeding on the wood, burrowing through the wood, until fully grown and tunneling all the way out of the wood, leaving behind their exit holes in the process.

Utopically, wood arriving at the manufacturer is carefully examined to see if it has any signs of potential Powderpost beetle damage prior to being processed and ultimately shipped to market and not used if any damage is discovered or if the wood seems suspect.

Because Powderpost beetles lay their eggs in only wood that is unfinished, sealing the wood (via stain, varnish, or paint) will guard against Powderpost beetles being tempted to bore their way into it and do their thing, but if the Powderpost beetle is already in the wood, sealing the wood at that point clearly would be moot as it relates to that specific beetle.

There are quite a number of treatments available to help rid Powderpost beetles.

Though many are do-it-yourself oriented, my best guidance is to hire a reputable pest control company, preferably one with some type of warranty, to most readily assure that the Powderpost beetles are properly gotten rid of.

Once Powderpost damage is recognized and treated, then the damage should be evaluated as to what should be done from there.

We receive many calls on a yearly basis asking for help with regard to how to approach the damage that Powderpost beetles have caused.

Although often the damage is confined to certain areas, sometimes it can be quite significant.

Of greater concern, particularly in older homes, is when the Powderpost beetle damage is done to the structural components that are bracing the actual home itself and have developed into something that is now quite costly to fix.

Whenever possible, we prefer to shore up the wood members that have been affected. This has to be done very carefully and requires tradespeople with proper structural knowledge in order to execute this strategy correctly.

If the wood member is too far gone, surgically replacing – again, with someone who is quite knowledgeable with structural wood construction – should be utilized in addressing this type of repair.

While rotted wood in general can be overwhelming to deal with, having to work through situations where wood-boring pests are involved can be even more frustrating to a degree, as before repairs can even begin, the wood-boring pests have to be eradicated.

Powderpost beetles are at the top of the list of these types of insects as even though they do essentially the same thing as termites, they do so in a manner which is faster, on a larger scale, and once they are in the home are more challenging to get rid of.

Certainly, working through a Powderpost beetle situation is not fun, but as with anything, the sooner that it is discovered and addressed, the easier and less costly it will be to work through.

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