Close up of a powder post beetle - Beetle control services with Kona Coast Pest Control in Kailua Kona

Powderpost Beetle

Actual Size: ⅛ to ¼” in length

Characteristics: Narrow, reddish-brown to black.

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Wings: Yes, and they are strong fliers.

Habitat: Infest and feed on various types of hardwoods and softwoods. They are commonly found in wooden structures, furniture, flooring, paneling, and other wooden items.


  • The larvae of powderpost beetles tunnel into the wood, feeding on the cellulose within.
  • Unable to lay eggs in wood treated with varying wood finishes.
  • Following termites, powderpost beetles are the next most proficient wood destroyers.
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Powderpost Beetles in Kailua Kona

Powderpost beetles, a diverse group of insects, reside in and consume hardwoods, turning timber into fine sawdust resembling powder. Their infestation in dry seasoned wood causes significant financial losses annually. In the United States, they rank second only to termites in their ability to damage wood and related products. These beetles favor dwelling deep inside hardwoods, leaving behind sawdust and small “shot” holes, indicating their presence when adults emerge in spring. Their peak activity typically coincides with the warm season.

Powderpost  Beetle Habitat

Powderpost beetles inhabit and reproduce within hardwoods, typically in dead branches and tree limbs. They avoid softwoods and do not attempt to bore into varnished woods. Eggs and larvae are often sealed within hardwoods, leading to the emergence of adults later on. A female powderpost beetle can lay around 50 eggs in the pores of the wood. Upon hatching, the larvae feed on various hardwoods commonly used in furniture, baskets, trim, and flooring. Larvae typically emerge as adults one to five years later during the spring season. Adult powderpost beetles generally have a lifespan of less than a year.

Powderpost Beetle Behaviors, Threats, or Dangers

While not posing a direct threat to humans, powderpost beetles cause significant financial losses annually. Adult powderpost beetles typically target and lay eggs in hardwoods such as oak, ash, hickory, mahogany, and walnut. Common infestation sites include wood paneling, molding, flooring, window and door frames, plywood, and furniture. These beetles are adept fliers and are attracted to light, often congregating near windows or on windowsills during indoor infestations. Infestations in homes typically originate from wood infestation prior to construction. If a powderpost beetle infestation is suspected, contact a local beetle control professional.