All You Need to Know About Wood-Boring Beetle Infestations

Metallic wood-boring beetle

So who are these creatures, exactly? Aren’t they beetles just like any other? What is so special about them, and what sets them apart from other beetles?

The term wood-boring beetle, as the name indicates, encompasses a variety of beetles that boreholes in, eat, or otherwise destroy wood. There are several kinds of wood-boring beetles, including Lyctid Powderpost beetles, Anobiid Powderpost beetles, Bostrichid Powderpost beetles, and Old House borers, also known as longhorn beetles. Unlike other common beetle varieties, which lay their larvae on stems, damp leaves, or near lakes or pounds, wood-boring beetles prefer to take refuge in wooden cracks or holes. 

After termites, wood-boring beetles are the most important pest that damages wooden structures. In the natural world, these beetles’ pesky habits actually serve a purpose. They break down wood which transforms it into food for plants. But most humans would not call them samaritans. Wood-boring beetles pose a significant risk to the structure of our homes, sheds, furniture, fencing posts, and any structures made of wood. They break down wood by laying their eggs inside of holes or crevices. Then, once born, the larvae eat through the wood. Which is fine — unless it’s your house they are eating through. 

Identifying wood-boring beetles

Generally, wood-boring beetles are most easily identified by the holes they bore in wood. Winged beetles form round exit holes as they emerge in their adult form. They create exit holes by eating through the wooden surface. Once they emerge, adult beetles tend to find other nooks and crannies, like small cracks or holes, to lay their eggs and keep the life cycle going. Wood-boring beetles are usually quite small in size, though size varies by type of beetle. They can range between ⅛ of an inch to over 2 inches in length but are usually under an inch long. Powderpost beetles tend to come in shades of brown to red. Their dark coloring helps them to blend in unnoticed with wooden surfaces and their camouflaging skills make them hard to visually identify. 

Often, the first sign of wood-boring beetles will be the eggs they lay or the holes and tunnels they chew after. While some people are able to spot them scurrying around the house, it’s the little traces they leave behind that are easiest to identify. Homeowners may notice small holes or burrows emerge on their walls, hardwood floors, fencing, or wooden furniture. Holes usually indicate that the beetles have already left their larvae in that area. Exit holes typically range between ⅛ to ½ an inch in diameter. 

Sawdust, or wood powder, is often a first sign of an infestation. Some woodworms, like powderpost beetles, turn wooden shavings into powder over time. Droppings, also known as “frass” are another common indicator. Some homeowners with infestations even report hearing a “chewing” sound that older larvae make in the wood. It is also possible to identify the larvae adult females lay, which are usually under 2 inches in size.

What damage do they cause? 

Wood-boring beetles can cause significant damage to wooden structures, including your home and furniture. They invade wooden furniture and boreholes in walls and ceilings. 

By the time they reach maturity, adult wood-boring beetles emerge through round exit holes, which they create by chewing through the wood. This can leave lasting damage to wooden structures. 

They are more likely to reside and lay larvae in damp, humid areas. Infestations most often occur in neglected or damp spaces like basements, attics, crawlspaces, and wooden sheds. Infested wooden floorboards may feel weak and spongy. With housing structures and wooden furniture, homeowners may notice visible damage such as the wood crumbling around the corners or edges of a chair or table leg.

While typically drawn toward wooden environments, some species of beetles may even chew through plaster, plastic, and soft metal materials. 

DIY Prevention measures 

There are some preventative measures that can be taken to lower the risk of infestation in your home. These include: covering or filling holes and crevices with varnish or paint, keeping all wooden structures dry and free of excess moisture, and 

Some people may choose to tackle infestations on their own, without the support of expert exterminators. Once an infestation has begun, it’s very difficult to tame it. Once adult females lay their larvae, the life cycle has the momentum to keep on going. Soon, new eggs will hatch and more and more beetles will be around to mature, boreholes in wood, and lay their larvae. Unfortunately, DIY preventative and extermination measures are often not sufficient to eliminate the bigger issue and will cause more stress in the long run.

How to get rid of wood-boring beetles 

The good news is, wood-boring beetles do not destroy homes overnight. It takes them some time to cause significant damage, which means if you identify an infestation early enough, you may still have time to save wooden structures from further damage! Unfortunately, their maturation process is long and slow, so you may not notice them right away. They are also slow eaters, meaning you may not notice tiny exit holes in their early stages.

The best way to treat an infestation is to seek help from experts. Short-term, DIY treatments might only extend the problem and cause more stress later on. While DIY treatment may stave off the problem temporarily, professional treatment is the only way to guarantee the problem is dealt with holistically and long-term. Professional treatment is the quickest and most effective way to eliminate wood-boring beetles from your home.

Why TermiGuard? 

TermiGuard’s trained professionals know all the ins and outs of bug infestations. Our experts provide a free consultation and a thorough home inspection. Together, we will come up with a solution to specifically address your individual needs. 

TermiGuard proudly offers pest control services for every situation. No matter the extent or size of the damage nor the type of structure will deter us from getting your home back up and running.