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Powderpost Beetle

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Actual Size: ⅛ to ¼” in length

Characteristics: Narrow, reddish-brown to black in color.

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Wings: Yes, and they are strong fliers.

Habitat: Lives in dead branches and limbs of trees, barns, and sheds. Will infest hardwoods in used furniture, trim, and flooring.


  • Live and breed in dead and dried hardwoods.
  • Cannot lay eggs in wood sealed by various wood finishes.
  • Second only to termites in their ability to destroy wood products.

Powderpost Beetles in Salina

Powderpost beetles live within and eat hardwoods, reducing timber to fine powder-like sawdust. These beetles cause millions of dollars in damage each year as they infest dry seasoned wood. In the United States, they are the second most damaging wood-destroying insect behind termites. Powderpost beetles prefer living deep within hardwoods, and the only indication of their presence is the sawdust they leave behind, along with pencil-sized “shot” holes that remain after adults emerge. They are most active during warm months. Adult powderpost beetles are strong flyers.

Powderpost  Beetle Habitat

Powderpost beetles live and breed in hardwoods. Some common examples are dead branches and tree limbs. They avoid softwoods and do not attempt to tunnel into varnished woods. Often, eggs and larvae are sealed within hardwoods, and adults emerge later on. A female powderpost beetle lays 50 eggs at a time in the pores of the wood. Larvae will emerge one to five years later in spring and feed on as much hardwood as they can find. The average powderpost beetle lifespan is one year or less.

Powderpost Beetle Behaviors, Threats, or Dangers

Powderpost beetles aren’t a direct threat to humans, but they do cause millions of dollars in damage each year. Adult powderpost beetles most often select and lay eggs in wood such as oak, ash, hickory, mahogany, and walnut, and infestations are most likely to occur in wood paneling, molding, flooring, window and door frames, plywood, and furniture. Powderpost beetles are attracted to light. Adults are often found near windows or on windowsills. Infestations in homes are almost always due to the infestation of the wood prior to construction. If a powderpost beetle infestation is suspected, contact a local beetle control professional.

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