Currently viewing the category: "Powder Post Beetles"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: beetle
Location: Hesperia, California
August 13, 2014 1:03 pm
what kinda of beetle is this.
i have alot of mealworm beatles
running wild from my own breeding.
could it have bred with a wild beetle
Signature: Brian

Stout's Hardwood Borer

Stout’s Hardwood Borer

Dear Brian,
Your image is not terribly clear, but this sure looks like a Stout’s Hardwood Borer,
Polycaon stoutii, to us.  We got that common name from Charles Hogue’s Insects of the Los Angeles Basin, but BugGuide refers to it as the Black Polycaon and has very little information about it.  Hogue on the other hand writes extensively about the Stout’s Hardwood Borer.  Hogue writes that they “appear in the fall (September) in unlikely places, such as in the hallways and rooms of new buildings, in warehouses, and in homes.  Their occurrence is explained by their breeding habits.  The larvae are wood borers that feed within various hardwoods such as oak, California Laurel, alder, maple, and eucalyptus — construction woods that are often used in building boxes, shipping crates, storage racks, and the slats used behind scoustic ceiling tiles;  the larvae will also infest finished wood products such as cupboards, cabinets, and furniture.  The adult Stout’s beetles may emerge from these products after the construction is completed and even after the product has been finished. … There is no evidence that the species reinfests lumber or manufactured wood products once the adults have emerged from them.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Tiny black bugs under bed
Location: Sydney, Australia
February 22, 2014 11:59 pm
We have found lots of tiny black bugs under our bed, they crawl around the floor and sometimes crawl into the crack between the floor and skirting board. They are about as big as ants. They sometimes crawl into the chipboard at the back of our bedside tables. They do not jump or bite us, only crawl. They look black but when you look closer they are dark brown.
Signature: Sarah

Powder Post Beetles

Powder Post Beetles

Dear Sarah,
We believe you have Powder Post Beetles in the subfamily Lyctinae.  According to BugGuide:  “powder-post beetles refer to the propensity of the larvae to reduce sapwood into a powdery frass.”
  BugGuide also notes several other items of interest, including the range of Powder Post Beetles being “worldwide (easily spread with commerce), more diverse in the tropics” and regarding food, that the “larva feeds mainly on the sapwood of hardwoods; species are polyphagous.”  Perhaps the most significant bit of information for you is that “The destructiveness of lyctid beetles to wood and wood products is second only to that of termites.”  If this is a new bed, it is possible that the wood was infested with Powder Post Beetle larvae which emerged in the new location.  Catseye Pest Control provides this information:  “Adult Powder Post Beetles range from a 1/8th of an inch to 1/4th of an inch in size and larvae are usually less than a 1/4th of an inch long. When fully matured, Powder Post Beetles slender and flattened in shape with short antennae and are reddish brown to black in color. The larvae, which are left behind in the cracks of the wood by the adults, are cream colored and slightly C-shaped.  The long, narrow, flat bodies of the mature adults allow them to easily bore into wood surfaces, the first place to look during powder post beetle control procedures. They prefer the sapwood of hardwoods, especially oak, hickory and ash and creates small, round holes. Common household places to find these holes are in hardwood floors, furniture, molding and fixtures. These pinhole openings are a tell tale sign of an infestation. Powder Post Beetles lay their eggs in cracks of wood and the larvae tunnel into the surface filling it with a very fine powder-like dust, hence the name Powder Post Beetles.”

Powder Post Beetles

Powder Post Beetles

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Pin Prick of a Hole
location:  Great Smoky Mountains
July 14, 2013
Hi Daniel,
It’s been a while, I know.  I hope you and Lisa have been happy, healthy, and busy.
For years now, I’ve noticed itsy-bitsy, extremely tiny holes in the pine boards from which we built our home surrounded by a relatively huge pile of sawdust.  You wouldn’t have any clue as to what tiny,”bug” is up to this task, would you?  ‘Preciate your time.
Thank you.
R.G. Marion
Great Smoky Mountains

Powderpost Beetle Damage, we believe

Powderpost Beetle Damage, we believe

Dear R.G.,
Our best guess on this is Powderpost Beetle Damage.  These are often small beetles with larvae that bore in the wood.  The holes are produced when the adult bores to the surface and emerges.  You can read about Powderpost Beetles on BugGuide.  There are also many fact sheets online, like the University of Kentucky Entomology site and the Penn State Entomology site.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Stout’s Hardwood Borer
Location: Central Hollywood
May 22, 2013 7:56 pm
This is an insect I understand is under represented on your site. I have seen tow of them in and around my apartment. I think it is kinda cute, but it’s jaws scare me a little. I put him outside by the big OLD tree. I hope he is happy there.
Signature: Jessica Brecker

Stout's Hardwood Borer

Stout’s Hardwood Borer

Dear Jessica,
We felt obligated to lighten and crop your image.  We are very impressed with your graphic composition.  You have good sense to be cautious about the mandibles of the Stout’s Hardwood Borer.  It chews its way out of dead wood including, we suspect, telephone poles when it ecloses into an adult.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Stout’s Hardwood Borer
Location: Redwood City, CA
September 28, 2012 6:23 pm
We seem to have had an ’infestation’ of sorts for the past month. I don’t know how they are entering the office, but we are on the 2nd floor and there are quite a few trees outside. These guys fly around, are up on the carpeted walls, or in boxes. They bite each other’s legs off if kept in the same container.
Signature: -D

Stout’s Hardwood Borer

Hi D,
Perhaps you have some new construction or new furniture at your office and wood that was infested with Stout’s Hardwood Borer larvae was used as a raw material.  Your observation that they bite each others’ legs off might explain why this Stout’s Hardwood Borer from our archive and this individual that our editorial staff photographed are also missing legs.  It is possible that males battle with one another for dominance.

Stout’s Hardwood Borers

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Bug to Human Detente
Location: Los Angeles, CA (Venice)
August 17, 2012 6:12 pm
hello experts. so clearly I know who I am, but the idiotic human who scooped me off his floor last night has nary a clue. after eyeballing me for what felt like ever (i have my pride) he placed me carefully in a glass with a bit of dirt, some blades of grass and a small drop of water (moron)… as if I am some common insect!! I tried to communicate with him but his telepathic abilities are far from advanced. I have included a few self-portraits along with his email in hopes that you can tell the misguided man who I am, a bit about me and where I should be released…. thank you in advance, Mystery.
Signature: Mystery, the Matte Black Wonder Bug

Stout’s Hardwood Borer

Dear Mystery, the Matte Black Wonder Bug,
Tell the “idiotic human” you are a Stout’s Hardwood Borer and (s)he may read about you in our archive.  You are only the second representative of your species on our website and the first example of a Stout’s Hardwood Borer was discovered by our staff on Temple Street downtown and brought back to the What’s That Bug? offices to be photographed.  Though the Stout’s Hardwood Borer,
Polycaon stoutii, is well represented on BugGuide, there is not much information except “Named after Dr. A.B. Stout, a friend of John LeConte who provided him with the first specimen.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination