Powder Post Beetles in Australia

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

3 thoughts on “Powder Post Beetles in Australia”

  1. I was extremely agitated they would crawl on my stove and counter. But they are so tiny I thought they were ants. Then I found a full grown one. Took a picture of one of the babies and quickly realized I wasn’t dealing with ants. I pulled my stove all the way out and cleaned underneath and sides quite intensely. Found the exposed wood they were coming from and sprayed some (A LOT) of cleaner in the holes. Knock on wood i haven’t seen any in a few days.


Leave a Comment