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With the exception of eastern subterranean termites, wood-boring beetle species inflict the greatest amount of damage to structural wood within homes than any other group of pests in the United States. A number of wood-boring beetle species infest and damage homes in the northeast, and while these insects generally do not cause as much damage as subterranean termites, infestations can be devastating and costly without regular wood-boring insect inspections conducted on properties.

One group of wood-boring insect pests are commonly known as “false powderpost beetles,” and these pests will attack both hardwoods and softwoods with moisture levels as low as 12 percent. These pests are often found infesting wood joists and sill plates in crawl spaces, and they can be recognized for their cylindrical body shape and reddish-brown to black exterior. The two most common false powderpost beetle species are the “deathwatch beetle,” and the “furniture beetle,” the latter of which infests pine flooring as well as furniture. Another lesser known species, Xyletinus pelatus, infests floorboards and crawl spaces within particularly damp homes and buildings.

Regular powderpost beetles are small insects with elongated bodies, and they almost always infest structural hardwoods within homes. Powderpost beetles infest a variety of finished woods, such as lumber, furniture, tool handles and gun stocks, just to name a few. Several powderpost beetle species have come to inhabit the northeastern states. For example, the wester powderpost beetle has become common in most US states, and they are known for infesting oak, hickory, orange and eucalyptus wood. The most common powderpost beetle in the northeastern states, the European powderpost beetle, infests  hickory, oak, ash, walnut and wild cherry wood. The southern powderpost beetle inflicts the greatest amount of structural wood damage in the southern states, but they can be found in the northeast as well. The only native powderpost beetle species, the white-marked powderpost beetle, has a taste for seasoned woods, including oak, ash and hickory.

Have you ever spotted powderpost beetles in or around your home?