Powder Post beetles of the family Lyctidae are several species of small wood-boring insects which damage wood creating a fine, flour-like powder. The sapwood of Oak, Ash and Hickory/Pecan generally constitutes suitable food value for these Beetles. Infestations are usually discovered after noticing small, round holes in the wood surface, and the powder-like dust coming from these holes. These are exit holes where adult beetles have chewed out of the wood after completing their development. Most damage is done by the larvae as they create narrow tunnels in the wood while they feed. Adults mate and lay eggs on or below the surface of bare wood. The eggs hatch into tiny larvae which bore into the wood, emerging as adults 1-5 years later, usually during April – July. Homeowners are more likely to see damage than the beetles themselves, because the adults are short-lived and are active mainly at night. The key to avoiding serious problems from Powder Post beetles is early detection.
General Treatment Recommendation:
- For minor infestations (1 to 10 strips/planks) remedial action is to monitor insect activity and kill emerging adults with an appropriate insecticide and fill exposed galleries or holes.
- For minor problems (10 to 30 or so strips/planks) remedial action is to remove the infected strips/planks and spray an appropriate insecticide around the open space to target possible insects which may have emerged and crawled away. Also check for galleries in surrounding strips and remove as necessary. Reinstall new flooring in the opened spaces and refinish and/or recoat the flooring. Destroy removed flooring by burning.
- For an intermediate infestation (30 to 60 or so strips/planks) remedial action is to sand off the finish, remove any structurally unsound infested strips and then treat with an appropriate “Borate” based insecticide which targets Lyctid Beetles. Some minor adult emergence may follow treatment since the adults do not ingest the wood, however, re-infestation will not occur as the wood remains permanently treated. Destroy removed flooring by burning.Finally, a jobsite inspection and examination of the infested material would have to be done in order to determine a “window” of opportunity for infestation and to make any specific recommendations.