Many experts claim that powderpost beetles are the most destructive wood-infesting insects behind termites, and several species belonging to three families, lyctids, anobiids, and bostrichids, are abundant in the northeast where they inflict costly damage to homes and buildings in the region. Powderpost beetles are not as destructive as termites, but infestations are difficult to notice. Luckily, pest control professionals are on the lookout for powderpost beetles when conducting home inspections, which are customary when houses are put on the market. Before purchasing a home, most buyers insist on an inspection since eastern subterranean termites are common in the northeast. Many potential buyers are surprised upon learning that a home is infested with wood-boring beetles rather than termites, as beetles are not well known for their wood-infesting habits.

Not long ago, a Rhode Island resident, Brenda Greene, was eager to buy her dream home, which had been built in 1842. Luckily, just before signing the purchase agreement, a pest control professional located extensive powderpost beetle damage within the home. Although the house did not contain an active powderpost beetle infestation, the inspector claimed that massive amounts of powdery sawdust and extensive exit-holes within the home’s structural wood clearly indicated that the home had been infested with the beetles at one time or another, which is certainly not surprising, as powderpost beetle damage is a common problem within older homes in the northeast. However, Greene still wanted to buy the home, but her mortgage would not go through unless the seller could prove that she had the home treated for a powderpost beetle infestation in the past, but the seller did not provide the necessary pest control paperwork. This is not a good sign, as a refusal to provide such evidence usually indicates that a seller is trying to hide an active infestation that they know had compromised the structural integrity of a home that he/she is trying to sell. Unsurprisingly, Greene moved on and felt relieved that she had barely managed to avoid purchasing a damaged and potentially infested home.

Were you aware that some beetle species often infest and weaken structural wood within homes and buildings?