Bug Blog

Do Wood-Boring Insect Species Damage All Types Of Wood Within Homes?

Termites are the first invasive insect pest people think of when they worry about the wooden structure of home being damaged. However, termites aren’t the only insects you need to watch out for when it comes to wood-boring pest. Wood-boring beetles can be just as destructive and costly for a homeowner. There are three groups of wood-boring beetles that will invade your home and damage structural wood as well as wooden furniture. Powderpost, deathwatch, and false powderpost beetles can cause as much damage to your home as termites and will happily chew through your entire home if allowed. But not all wood-boring beetles have the same preference when it comes to the type of wood they will target. The three different groups of wood-boring beetles are each partial to different types of wood used to construct homes and furniture. You may be able to entirely avoid an infestation just by making sure you choose the right type of wood.

Powderpost beetles are probably the most common wood-boring beetles that people find infesting their home. They can be difficult to detect until they’ve already destroyed your home as the only sign of their presence is often the tiny, round exit holes the adult beetles create when they emerge from the wood. Powderpost beetles only go after hardwoods such as oak, ash, walnut, and mahogany due to their large pores, in which they can lay their eggs. Softer woods don’t have the large pore size needed for this task. These beetles also prefer wood that has a high starch content, which is also low in softerwood.

On the other end of the spectrum is the deathwatch beetle, which prefers softwoods, Douglas-fir in particular. They tend to be found most often in older or decayed wood, and higher in moisture content ( over 14 percent). For this reason they are often less of a problem in homes that have central heating and air conditioning. It is the more damp areas of a house such as the basement or other damp sub areas. They also tend to go after structures located outdoors from wild population sources, making city-dwellers safer from infestations in this case.

False powderpost beetles fall somewhere in the middle of the previous two when it comes to their taste in wood. They will attack a variety of hardwoods, but will also sometimes go after softwoods. Unlike powderpost beetles, they lay their eggs inside pores and cracks within tunnels they bore through the infested wood, giving themselves more options when it comes to what type of wood they will target. Unfortunately, they will also bore through more than just wood, with some species boring through soft metals, plastic, and other nonwood materials in order to find shelter for their eggs. Oddly enough, they are also known to prefer infesting wine-soaked oak barrels, earning them the nickname “cask borer”.

Have you ever seen an infestation of wood-boring beetles in your home or one of someone you know?