Second in damage only to termites, powderpost beetles can do a number on your home’s wooden structure, its furniture, fencing, and more. Hard, soft, old, new—powderpost beetles aren’t picky and will eat nearly any type of wood. They’re known to damage books and other valuables like paintings, too.

It goes like this: the adults of these wood-boring beetles lay eggs in the pores of wood items. These develop into larvae which feed on the wood from the inside out, eventually exiting via small pinholes after maturing into adults. Their life cycle is remarkably slow, often taking years to go from egg to adult. The adults live only a few days, long enough to lay eggs, and then the whole destructive cycle starts over again. The good news: it usually takes a significant amount of time for powderpost beetles to do serious damage. The bad news: because they eat and grow slowly, you likely won’t notice them until it’s too late.

Think you have powderpost beetles? Just looking for prevention? We have you covered. Here’s how to spot, prevent, and get rid of powderpost beetles naturally.


Because they grow slowly and their damage happens over longer periods of time, powderpost beetles aren’t always easy to spot. In fact, it can take years before you notice they’re around. Here’s what to look for:

  • Small round holes about ⅛ inch or smaller. This is where the beetles exit the wood once they mature.
  • The most obvious sign of a powderpost post beetle problem is the appearance of frass, which is essentially sawdust mixed with the beetle’s waste. In fact, this powdery debris is where the beetles get their name. This is usually found near the wood where the beetles are hiding.
  • Grooves or small tunnels carved into the side of wooden items. You’ll likely notice frass nearby, too.


Preventing a powderpost beetle issue is rather straightforward. Here are some simple steps you can take to keep them away from your home and out of your wooden items.

  • Before bringing home rough-cut or raw lumber, inspect it for signs of pest activity, including damage like holes and carved tunnels.
  • Request that rough-cut and raw lumber be kiln dried before bringing it home.
  • Treat fencing, decks, furniture, garden boxes, and other wooden structures with a long-lasting wood protectant like Cedarshield. Powderpost beetles will almost never inhabit treated wood.
  • Avoid storing wooden items outdoors, such as in an outbuilding or barn.
  • Sanding and varnishing tends to make most wood unappetizing to powderpost beetles and other wood-boring insects.


If it looks like you have powderpost beetles after reading the info above, don’t worry. It’s not ideal, but these pests are not that difficult to manage and are slow-working when it comes to damaging your wood. The below natural approaches will help you solve your powderpost problem without resorting to poisonous pesticides that could harm your family and pets.

In addition to helping prevent powderpost beetle problems, kiln drying can also be used after the fact to get rid of an ongoing issue. All you’ll need to do is take infested items to a local sawmill and have them kiln dried.

Powderpost beetles will not inhabit wood that’s been thoroughly treated to remove and protect against moisture, which is why it’s a great way to prevent them. Thankfully, this same approach can be used to kill or seal up beetles hidden deep inside.

Using a wood treatment like Cedarshield, which removes all moisture from the wood and strengthens it against rot, decay, and warping, thoroughly treat all wooden items housing powderpost beetles. It’s that easy.



It might not work for furniture or structural wood, but freezing is an easy, free way to rid smaller items of powderpost beetles. Simply place them in a freezer for 72 hours, ideally at about 0°F. In rare cases, some eggs could survive the freezing so make sure to monitor the wood for damage and other signs of beetles over the next few months.

There’s no need for the toxic stuff. Using a family and pet-safe insecticide like Cedarcide All-Purpose Bug Spray, spray any beetles you see directly for immediate results. For smaller items you fear may have powderpost beetles, spray them every few weeks with Cedarcide All-Purpose Bug Spray to limit damage and prevent future issues.


Corinna Henderson