Powderpost Beetles

Biology & Reproduction

Lyctid, most commonly known as powderpost beetles, are considered a wood destroying insect. There are about 11 species of powderpost beetles throughout the United States, but they’re usually a reddish brown color with a hard outer shell to cover its wings. Females lay 15-50 eggs in exposed wood pores, cracks or crevices. Once they hatch, the larvae will tunnel only within sapwood and wood grain if that’s where they were laid. As they tunnel, a fine, powder-like frass is pushed out of the hole. When the larvae are halfway through the growth cycle, it’ll tunnel to the surface and construct a chamber. There, it’ll become an adult and leave the wood between late winter and early spring. If under favorable conditions, growth will take 9-12 months, but it can last for 2-4 years or more. Then it’ll live out its adult life in 1-3 months.


Powderpost beetles will attack sapwood, hardwood, lumber, and sometimes manufactured wood. Oak, hickory, ash, and bamboo are most prone to an attack.  If the wood has a finish on it, it’ll prevent any egg laying. Adults are active at night, are able to fly, and are attracted to light.


There is no effective do-it-yourself method for control and elimination of powderpost beetles. Since they are considered a wood destroying insect, any infestation left untreated can cause serious damage and result in costly repairs.  Professional maintenance is highly recommended.

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