Several insect pests are notable for their habit of infesting structural and ornamental woods that are associated with homes and buildings. In the northeast US, some wood-infesting insect pests, like powderpost beetles and subterranean termites, both nest within, and feed on, woodwork. Other wood-infesting insect pests in the region, like carpenter ants and carpenter bees, excavate cavities within woodwork for nesting purposes only, as they are not capable of digesting the fibrous cellulose material that makes up wood and other forms of plant-matter. However, all of the above mentioned insects are economically significant pests in the northeast due to their tendency to damage structural lumber and other items made from finished wood, particularly furniture and cosmetic wood on the exterior walls of homes.
Several beetle species from the Annabidae family infest and damage woodwork within homes throughout the United States. One of these species, Platybregmus canadensis, also known as the “broadheaded anobiid,” is common in the northeastern states where it often infests hardwood flooring and structural wood within wall voids. While larvae of this species infest virtually all hardwood and softwood species, they have a particular taste for maple, baswood and elm. Naturally, active broadheaded anobiid beetle infestations are difficult, if not impossible, to detect without the advanced tools used by pest control professionals, but in some cases, the winged adults may appear within homes.
Many adult Anobiidae beetle species are attracted to outside and indoor lights, which often brings them indoors where females may lay tiny eggs within cracks and crevices on the surface of finished wood. Within a few days, these eggs hatch before the emerging larvae bore into wood, but finding dead or live adults within a home can indicate that an infestation has become established. Broadheaded anobiid adults can be recognized for their relatively small .15 to .25 inch long bodies and their reddish to dark brown-colored exterior. Their antennae are each divided into 11 segments, the top three of which are larger than the bottom eight. A magnifying lense can be used to gain a clear view of insect antennae.
Have you ever found a collection of dead insects within an obscured area in your home?