Identifying a Powder Post Beetle

16 September 2014

At Timberwise we receive many enquiries regarding woodworm beetles and the damage that they cause to the property. One recent enquiry our specialist team received was in regards to the Powder Post Beetle (Lyctus Brunneus).

Where would I find Powder Post Beetle?

The beetle infests hardwoods such as Oak, Elm, Ash, Walnut, Sycamore and African Mahogany. This is because these types of timber have wide-pores, which enable the female beetle to lay her eggs into the pores with ease whilst also providing enough space for the larvae to develop. As can be seen in the image below that we received from a client, the beetle emerges from pin-hole sized openings of approx. 1-2 mm.

Pin Hole Woodworm Hole

What damage can Powder Post Beetle cause? 

Superficially the beetle appears to cause the same damage to timber as the Common Furniture Beetle, as it attacks oak. The Powder Post Beetle though only attacks timbers of recent origin i.e. less than 15 years old and is most likely to be found active in furniture/flooring.

Powder Post Beetle

The Powder Post beetle lives on the starch in the timber; once the starch has gone it will die off, however; this could be as long as a 10-year lifecycle, the older the infestation in the timber to more damage will have been caused.

How do I identify an infestation?

There are many signs that your property may have a woodworm infestation, present or historical. A current infestation would show signs of frass (a fine powdery substance) around the exit holes. If the infestation is more historical and has had time to progress, tunnels will be present in the timber and the timber will start to crumble.

How did you treat the infestation?

Our specialists recommended on this occasion that heat treatment would be the best way to eradicate the beetle infestation; effectively the house is sealed and heated (similarly to kiln drying logs) which would reduce the starch levels quickly.

Woodworm treatment for a luxury mill conversion in Yorkshire

An active infestation of common furniture beetle was discovered by our timber specialist in a Grade II listed flax mill. The mill was undergoing refurbishment and Timberwise were called upon to inspect the structural integrity of the timbers. Discover how Timberwise eradicated woodworm within phase 1 of the redevelopment here.  

New timbers in a mill conversion

Do you suspect you may have a woodworm problem?

Speak to one of our experts for advice on 0800 288 8660 or complete our on-line Woodworm Survey Request form. For further information on woodworm check out our woodworm information page on this website.