How to Get Rid of Powder Post Beetles in Hardwood Floors

The powder post beetle is one of the most irritating pests, and it can destroy your hardwood floors. If you notice them, you need to take steps to remove them right away before they do so much damage that you need to replace the entire floor.

The first sign of powder post beetles is small round holes with fine, powdery sawdust around them. If you have found powder post beetles in your hardwood floors, you need to try one of these methods to eliminate them.

Use Borate

You can use a pesticide that contains borate to get rid of the beetles. The borate will work its way into the wood floors to kill the pests that are in there. In addition, it will kill the beetles as they enter or exit through their little holes. Another benefit to this treatment is that it will also attack the larvae that the beetles leave inside the wood. This type of treatment will also kill any termites and other pests.

You need to start by mixing up the pesticide. Then, you will spray it or brush it onto the wood floors. This allows it to create a poisonous barrier. You can apply this treatment directly to the wood floors, as well as any other wood areas where they are causing trouble. You may need to sand the floors if they are finished. You can apply this and then do a second treatment four weeks later to make sure you eliminate all of them.


Another way to eliminate powder post beetles is with fumigation. This may be necessary if the infestation is large and has extended into the walls and the crevices of the room. When you use fumigation, you will need to hire a certified pest control company. They will isolate the area to be fumigated, and then they will fill the area with pesticides in a gas form. This is an expensive option, but with major infestations, it is the only option left.

What Do Powder Post Beetles Look Like?

Powder post beetles infest wood, and they have an elongated, cylindrical body with a head that appears to be hooded. They are usually reddish brown or black, and they have wings. Their bodies look rigid, and they are usually between 1/16 and 3/8 of an inch with six legs. Their larvae are shaped like a C, and they can be the same length as the adults.

What Do Powder Post Beetles Look Like

Most of the damage to wood is actually done by the larvae. The adults actually only live long enough to lay eggs, and when the larvae hatch, it takes them as long as five years to become an adult. They will feed on your wood floors this entire time if you don’t get rid of them. They don’t actually emerge from the wood until they are adults. The holes you see are where the beetles get out of the wood.

When the adults emerge from the wood, they mate, and the female returns inside the wood to lay her eggs. The adults survive anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, and they are nocturnal, so they are hard to find.

Different Types of Powder Post Beetles

There are three types of powder post beetles, and all three are found in North America. They are called powder post beetles because of the fine sawdust they leave behind after they emerge from the wood.

One type is the Anobiid powder post beetle. They mostly dwell in the Pacific northwest, and they are found in moist environments. They infest soft and hard woods, and their powder is grit fecal pellets.

Another type of powder post beetle is the lyctid powder post beetle. These mostly dwell in ash, hickory, mahogany, bamboo, myrtle, and oak woods. They are also common in the Pacific northwest, as well as the gulf states. Their powder looks similar to flour, and the holes are all the same size, which is that of a pencil lead tip.

The least common is the bostrichidae powder post beetle. They are usually found in the tropics, and they infest both soft and hard woods. Their powder looks similar to coffee grounds.

Can You Prevent Powder Post Beetles From Infesting Hardwood Floors?

There are certain factors to keep in mind to prevent an infestation of powder post beetles. First of all, if you are using a builder, make sure that you get a warranty against an infestation of powder post beetles. You should also be careful not to use lumber that comes from another location where it may have been infested.

Prevent Powder Post Beetles Hardwood Floors

You should also make sure that any wood flooring has been stored properly and is acclimated before it is installed. Make sure that the moisture levels are below 13%, and check for any exit holes made by the beetles. The powder post beatles need at least 20% moisture to survive, so you can prevent them by making sure that the moisture levels are low enough.

Can Powder Post Beetles Damage My Furniture?

Powder post beetles will damage your wood furniture. They will also infest your wood window sills, and even your walls. If the infestation goes unnoticed for too long, they can do a significant amount of damage. They can live inside of furniture for decades if you don’t know they are there.

The signs of these pests are the same for furniture. You will see their tiny holes where they exit the furniture. You can apply the same treatments as you would if they are in your wood floors.

Final Words

Powder post beetles are wood boring pests that can damage your hardwood floors. They can also get into other wood surfaces such as furniture, windowsills, trim, and walls. Once you discover an infestation, you will need to treat your home. You can use borax or have the house fumigated. You will notice these pests by identifying their exit holes. Once you see them, you need to take action quickly to minimize the damage.