The powderpost beetle extermination and prevention

If you’ve noticed little round holes in your wooden furniture, door posts or baseboards, it’s time to get serious about the possibility of a wood-boring beetle infestation. Let Elite’s pest-control experts give you some solid tips on powderpost beetle extermination and prevention.

What exactly are powderpost beetles?

Several species of wood bugs can be found in Canada; however, the powderpost beetle is especially notorious for its ability to destroy furniture and hardwood-based manufactured goods from the inside out. You may have already seen the “shot holes,” or the small, perfectly round exit holes, the larvae leave behind as they munch on the wood. If you have, please don’t delay in having the problem looked at; these holes can indicate widespread destruction inside the material.

Unlike other “woodworm” pests, the powderpost beetle belongs to the family Lyctidae—they are sometimes referred to as lyctids. The proper identification of the beetle or larvae is essential to any kind of extermination and prevention program. They are:

  • Reddish-brown
  • Tube-shaped
  • Usually between 2 and 8 mm long
  • Larvae are creamy white and can measure up to 5 mm in length

Habitat and behaviour

In their natural environment, lyctids look for deciduous trees such as walnut, ash, oak and hickory. These kinds of wood feature pores large enough for adult females to lay their eggs in. They also have a high-enough starch content to nourish the larvae.

When such wood is harvested, cured and stored, it can continue to harbour dormant powderpost larvae for up to five years. It is these specimens that will later eat their way through the wood and emerge as mature beetles in your cozy home. The adults don’t live for long and might not find other beetles with whom they can reproduce. If they do, they will quickly lay eggs in their own exit holes.

Their capacity for dormancy means that several generations of these insects can be infesting your home at the same time. And as the larvae bore through the wood, they cause severe structural damage. That is why you must quickly locate the signs of an infestation and take measures to reduce further chances of destruction.

What kind of damage do they cause?

Because these beetles are most often imported into your home in wood that was infested before it was transformed, you might also find shot holes in exotic species such as mahogany or bamboo. More specifically, you might find shot holes or frass (piles of sawdust pushed out from the holes by the boring larvae) in:

  • Solid furniture
  • Joists, rafters, mouldings
  • Decking
  • Wood panelling and siding
  • Hardwood and subflooring
  • Window and door frames

Powderpost beetles earned their name because of the damage they cause to wooden furniture and finishings. A large infestation of larvae can burrow so extensively that a piece of furniture may crumble upon being touched.

How to get rid of them

Without question, the key to powderpost beetle control is prevention:


  1. Before bringing any wood planks, unfinished flooring or untreated wooden furniture into the house, check it thoroughly to make sure no shot holes are present.
  2. Paint, wax or varnish any exposed raw surfaces on wood trims or objects, as these layers can be impenetrable for larvae.
  1. Do not use any lumber for indoor projects if you suspect that it hasn’t been properly handled or stored. Kiln-dried wood is best.
  2. If there are any existing shot holes in exposed wood surfaces, fill them immediately with a finishing product.
  3. If you’ve found damage, remove and replace the wood immediately and adopt a wait-and-see approach. If new shot holes appear, you may need to have a professional extermination treatment.

Pale-coloured shot holes and new piles of beetle frass near the openings are signs of an active powderpost beetle infestation. You may need to remove the affected wood fixture and have it replaced.

A professional pest control service

If you want to preserve the look of your wood furniture, planks or trims without using paint or varnish, our professional pest control technicians may suggest one or more of the following treatments:

A surface treatment

A pest-control expert can apply a non-toxic borate-based chemical solution to unfinished wood surfaces to impede further egg-laying. These products can maintain their effectiveness for several years.


As a last resort, fumigation can eradicate a wood-boring beetle infestation that has advanced beyond simple management methods. This may be necessary in instances where the beetles have entered wall and floor voids, where changing out the wood isn’t feasible.

Call Elite Pest Control today for a free assessment of your powderpost beetle infestation.
We are ready to serve you in Montreal, Laval, Repentigny, Terrebonne, Saint-Jérôme, Trois-Rivières, Gatineau, Longueuil and elsewhere throughout Quebec.