Floor-ology / Powderpost Beetles – How To Protect Your Hardwood Floors

Powderpost Beetles – How To Protect Your Hardwood Floors

Termites are not the only insect that can wreak havoc on structures or homes. A large number of species can infest wood spaces, causing damage to hardwood floors and homes. A particularly troublesome beetle is known as the Powderpost Beetle, which can burrow and eat away at hardwood flooring much in the same way that drywood termites do.

To protect against potential infestations in your floors and structures, we’ve put together a guide with some key information on how to look out for Powderpost Beetles and what to do once an infestation takes hold to protect your hardwood floors and treat them for beetles.

powder post beetle damage wood floor pinhole
powder post beetles

Powder Post Beetle Damage & Beetles Closeup
Image Copyright: Michael F. Potter, University of Kentucky

What Are Powderpost Beetles?

Powderpost beetles are a way to refer to a few different beetle species that specialize in turning wood into a fine powder with their tunneling, also known as woodboring. Some of them are also commonly known as “boring” beetles for their ability to bore into wood. They mate and live in unfinished wood, which makes older hardwood flooring and homes the perfect environment for the beetles to thrive in. Though they’re mostly active at night, signs of their presence can be seen throughout the day.

They leave entrance and exit holes in the wood they infest, one of the clearest signs to look out for when inspecting for them. These holes are often one of the few signs that wood is infested, as their tunneling and boring take place entirely within the wood itself.

What Are The Signs?

Shot Holes

Holes in bark or wood made by the beetles as exit holes for their tunnels.


Small wood dust residue left behind after beetle woodboring.

Unexplained Stains and Blisters

Beetle larvae underneath wood surfaces will cause imperfections to appear.

What Should be Done with a Beetle Infestation?

Only termites are better at woodboring, so powderpost beetles should be considered a serious infestation. However, if signs are spotted within a home, there’s no need to worry. Beetle damage occurs at a much slower rate than termite damage, giving home and property owners more opportunities to treat the infestation. Also, beetles are reliant on the rich starches that exist within unfinished wood. For wood that has little to no starch or moisture levels, the powderpost beetles will be unable to thrive and will eventually die off.

The first way a homeowner can protect themselves is by ensuring any carpentry, woodworking, or remodeling done in the home uses materials that were inspected for beetles and termites. The use of manufactured materials is the leading cause of infestations, so starting from the very beginning of the construction process is the first line of defense.

If powderpost beetles emerge from the wood, it could mean one of two things have happened. The wood did not contain enough starch or moisture to support the beetles, so they bored out and died. It could also mean that the beetles have lived in the infested wood for some time, laying their eggs and potentially causing significant damage. Still, emergence is a sign that the wood is no longer a suitable location for egg-laying.

For spaces with active or advanced infestations, there are several treatment methods.

Powderpost Beetle Treatment Methods

Bora-Care and Tim-bor

Insecticides that are used to treat the infested wood, exterminating insects currently within the wood and protecting against future infestations.

Wood Replacement

The wood used in your remodel or construction project can be replaced with wood already treated for insects. While in some cases it’s only necessary to remove the wood that already has signs of beetle infestation, it may become necessary to replace all wood adjacent to the infected planks, molding, etc.


For infestations in the advanced or extreme stages, it may be necessary to fumigate the entire structure or home. It’s an expensive process to fumigate for powderpost beetles, as occupants need to leave the home for at least a day to ensure complete eradication.

If your home is showing signs of Powderpost Beetle infestation, act now!

For homeowners looking to repair costly beetle flooring damage, we can help!

If your floors are damaged and need repair, hardwood refinishing, or complete replacement, contact us today or visit our showroom!

Get in Touch

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