Bug Blog

Little-Known, But Common, Wood-Boring Beetle Species That Inflict Damage To Structural Lumber, Furniture And Other Valued Wood Items

The Anobiidae family is comprised of numerous ant species that are known as pests due to their habit of infesting stored foods and/or boring into woodwork, including structural lumber within homes. Many species in this beetle family feed on dry vegetable material, spices, tobacco, and larvae are capable of digesting cellulose in wood. The brown to black adults range in size from 1.5 to 8 mm in length, and most species are covered in fine hairs that are not usually visible to the naked eye. Fully grown larvae are lightly colored, 8 mm in length, and resemble maggots. The most well known Anobiidae pests include furniture beetles, powderpost beetles, cigarette beetles, drugstore beetles, and several species of deathwatch beetles. Several other little-known beetles in this family commonly infest homes and buildings in Arizona.

Priobium sericeum, or the “silky anobiid,” as it is also known, sees adult females lay eggs on oak, cherry and hickory trees where larvae bore into dead branches in order to feed on cellulose. In homes and buildings, larvae tend to infest flooring and furniture, and another closely related species, Priobium (Anobium) punctatum, will infest door casings, flooring and wood paneling made of oak, Monterey pine and maple. Reddish-brown adults are between 4 and 6 mm in length, while mature larvae resemble all other larval species in the Anobiidae family.

Ptilinus pectinicornis, commonly known as Hardwood anobiid, is another common pest of hardwood structural timber, and they favor beach, ash, sycamore and maple wood species. The dark brown and cylindrically shaped adults are between 3 and 6 mm in length. Ptilinus ruficornis, does not have a common name despite its commonality as a pest of structural wood throughout North America. This species is known for infesting a variety of structural wood sources within homes and buildings, particularly lumber made from beech, maple, oak, sycamore, and other hardwoods. Adults are between 3 and 5 mm in length with reddish-brown coloring.

Do you believe that you have encountered one of the above described wood-boring pest species within your home?