The original division of wood-destroying beetles included three families: Lyctida, Anobiiddae, and Bostrichidae. The Lyctid beetles were called the true powderpost beetles. Anobiid beetles included furniture and death-watch beetles. The Bostrichid beetles were called the false powderpost beetles. Differentiation was based on morphological (form and shape) and physiological (function) differences. A recent change by insect taxonomists has become accepted, however. Despite these morphological and physiological differences, the family Lyctidae has been reorganizes, and classified as a subfamily, Lyctinae, and placed in the family Bostrichidae.
Small "shot holes" exit openings in wood surfaces are an indication of powderpost beetle infestation. Slight jarring of the wood causes a fine powder to sift from these holes. When the wood is cut or broken, interior galleries can be seen filled with a finely packed power produced by the feeding of the grub-like larvae. Joists, sub flooring, hardwood flooring, sills, plates, and interior trim are the parts of buildings most frequently attacked. Furniture and other wood products also may be damaged.