Powder Post Beetle: Signs, Lifecycle and Treatments
28 March 2022
The Powder Post Beetle, which is also known as Lyctus Brunneus, is a beetle that is present between March and September and is light brown in colour. The most common types of Powder Post Beetles are Anobiid, Lyctid and Bostrichid beetles.
This article will describe the signs to look out for, the lifecycle of the Powder Post Beetle as well as treatments for Powder Post Beetles.
How to Identify Powder Post Beetle?
An adult Powder Post Beetle is usually approximately 4-5mm in length and the shape of the beetle is relatively flat. The larvae are cream coloured with a brown head and 3 pairs of legs. They are approximately 0.5mm in length.
There are signs to look out for to see if the property is suffering from an active beetle infestation or if the damage is old and not currently active.
It is unlikely that you will see the actual Powder Post Beetle itself, but more likely that you will see the damage caused by the beetle instead. There are occasions where you may find the beetles on the damaged timber or on windowsills as some are attracted to light at night. Make sure that you check exposed wood surfaces and have them inspected for any damage within the wood as well.
- A current infestation will show signs of frass (a fine powdery substance) around the exit holes which are approximately 1-1.5mm in diameter.
- 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.
Where Would I find Powder Post Beetles?
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. The woodworm beetle will attack the wood when the moisture content is between 6- 30%.
The Lifecycle of a Powder Post Beetle
The Powder Post Beetle can vary in its lifecycle but can be present for anything up to 4 years and they tend to appear in the months between May and September.
The lifecycle of the beetle can vary due to environmental conditions and the type of wood the woodworm is attacking. As we have already stated, the beetles are attracted to the light during the night and during the day, the beetle tends to hideaway.
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 also 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 the furniture and or flooring.
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 the more damage it will have caused.
How Do You Treat Powder Post Beetle?
If the damage from the Powder Post Beetle is minor, then injection of a wood preservative can be injected into the exit holes. Heat treatment is another method that can be used to eradicate a beetle infestation.
This process will involve the house being sealed and heated (similarly to kiln drying logs) which would then reduce the starch levels quickly. Read our guide on how we treat woodworm for useful information and tips of the treatment process.
Do You Suspect You Have a Beetle Infestation?
If you suspect Powder Post Beetles are causing damage to your property and need a qualified surveyor to carry out an inspection, then Timberwise can help.
Having a survey at your property will first involve one of our surveyors correctly diagnosing the type of woodworm beetle that is causing damage to your property. The surveyor will then detail what effective treatment could be applied to the affected timber to get rid of the beetle once and for all.