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South Portland Homeowners Guide To Powderpost Beetles & Their Wood-Destroying Larvae

a powderpost beetle crawling along the wooden structure of a south portland home during fall

Even if you haven’t heard their name before, you most likely have seen these slim-bodied beetles scrambling across your fence or lying in wait under warm mulch.

Powderpost beetles are made up of 70 species. They are 1/16th to 3/16th of an inch long reddish-brown insects. Their tough exoskeletons are long, narrow, and flat compared to many other species of beetle. Their white-colored and wood-destroying larvae are no more than a quarter-inch long, characteristically shaped like the letter “C”. The unusual name of the powderpost beetle comes from the capability of larvae to reduce wood to nothing more than a pile of powder.

Only powderpost beetle larvae feed on wood, not adults. Female powderpost beetles lay their eggs on unfinished wood surfaces, perhaps even the wood she fed on as a larva herself. Larvae take up to a year before transitioning into adulthood, continuing the cycle for yet another generation.

Powderpost Protection

Powderpost larvae may not be easy to spot without a trained eye, but understanding the common signs of infestation can help you make informed decisions regarding pest control. 

Some signs of a powderpost beetle infestation include:

  • Exit holes in fences, walls, floors, or other flat wood surfaces. These usually measure between 1/32 to 1/16 of an inch in diameter.
  • Powdery dust (also called frass) is expelled by the larvae as they eat. This is normally found underneath or inside the exit holes.

Preventing powderpost beetle damage starts with keeping them out of your lawn in the first place. There are several techniques to try, including:

  • Checking all the wood before you bring it inside. This includes 2X4s, firewood, and even Christmas trees. 
  • Paint and seal any unfinished wood around the house. Powderpost beetles won’t bother laying their eggs on finished wood surfaces.

Even if you feel as though you’ve done everything right, powderpost beetles can still become active around your lawn or in your home. Should this happen, schedule a comprehensive home inspection immediately.

Prevent the Powderpost beetles with Big Blue Bug

Once a swarm of powderpost beetles has settled down, it becomes nearly impossible to get rid of them on your own. For more information about powderpost beetle prevention and to speak with a certified pest control technician, contact the office at Big Blue Bug Solutions today.

Our award-winning efforts have proven that Big Blue Bug’s pest control methods are some of the best available on the market today. In business since 1935, our founders have instilled in us the drive for skill, speed, and service in every job that we complete.

To learn more about our unique pest control methods and how they can be scaled to match your needs, reach out to us at our famous Rhode Island office.