Powderpost beetles are so called because in high numbers they are able to turn the inside of a piece of wood into nothing more than a mass of fine powder. These wood destroying beetles can do significant damage to log homes, furniture, wood floors and structural timbers in your home. Powder post beetles are small (1/8 inch) and the adult beetles are seldom seen. Most of the life cycle is spent in the grub or larvae stage eating wood. Damage is done by the larvae as they create narrow, meandering tunnels in wood as they feed.
This stage can last between 1-10 years, depending upon a number of factors including species of beetle, type of wood infested, age of wood, moisture content of wood and air temperature. People do not realize that the wood is infested until the adult beetles emerge from within the wood. The exit holes are very small, about the size of a pin head.
Newly emerged adults mate and lay eggs on or below the surface of bare (unfinished) wood. The eggs hatch into tiny larvae which bore into the wood, emerging as adults 1-10 years later. Infestations develop slowly, but wood can be reinfested year after year. Homeowners are more likely to see damage than the beetles themselves, because the adults are short-lived and are active mainly at night.
When the wood is tapped with a hammer, dust will fall from these exit holes. Depending on the species, powder post beetles can infest hardwoods such as cherry and oak, or softwoods such as poplar, pine and bamboo. If you find a beetle infestation in a piece of oak furniture, this same species of beetle would not infest your pine floor but might infest other pieces of your oak furniture
Exit holes from the powderpost beetles emerging may not be seen for several years after the log house is constructed. Although it is possible that the beetles entered the logs after the house was built, it is much more likely that the logs were already infested when purchased from the factory. We strongly suggest that all timbers in a log home be treated before assembly. It is much cheaper to treat preventively and of course it is also much less labor intensive