Along with eastern subterranean termites and carpenter ants, powderpost beetles bore into structural wood, weakening a home or building’s timber frame. While powderpost beetles are the most destructive beetles to structural lumber, there also exists numerous other wood-boring beetle species within Massachusetts. However, unlike powderpost beetles, other wood-boring beetle species in Massachusetts rarely inflict damage to structural lumber within a home or building; instead, other wood-boring beetle pests in the state mostly limit their destruction to living and dead tree species. Powderpost beetles also cause significant damage to certain tree species located on residential, urban and forested regions in New England, but they are primarily known as indoor pests.

It is not uncommon for residents to hear powderpost beetles feeding on the structural wood within their home, which sometimes alerts homeowners to an infestation before serious structural damage results. In many cases, an infestation only becomes known after homeowners find exit holes in plaster walls. These holes are created by adult powderpost beetles before leaving their eggs within the crevices of structural wood. The remaining larvae are responsible for infesting wood, which is often indicated by the sawdust-looking mixture of beetle feces and wood fragments that become visible around infested wood. Powderpost larvae are hard to notice, as they are white in color and around one fifth of an inch in body length, but adults are brown or black and one quarter of an in body length.

The red-oak borer in another abundant beetle species that sees larvae infesting many species of weak, but living oak trees in Massachusetts. Red-oak borer larvae often infest trees before they are cut down and processed as ready-to-use lumber, but the larvae survive, leading to serious and frequent infestations in lumber yards. In some cases, infested oak that is used to construct furniture can bring these destructive pests indoors where they continue to feed on their oak wood source, but these pests are not thought to be pests to a home’s structural wood. These insects are small and brown with red stripes, and like powderpost beetles, they leave behind discolored wood, exit holes, and frass piles around the wood they infest.

Do you worry about bringing firewood that is infested with wood-boring beetles into your home?