Lyctic Beetle

(True Powderpost Beetles)

SCIENTIFIC NAME

Lyctidae

Lyctus planicollis

CHARACTERISTICS

  • Adult is small (1/8 to 1/4 inch long), slender, flattened and reddish brown to black in color.
  • Head is visible from above.
  • Antennal club has two segments.
  • Female lays eggs in pores of hardwoods.
  • Sapwood of hardwoods is eaten by larvae, and beetles can re-infest.
  • Larvae are unable to digest cellulose; starch in the wood is digested.
  • Frass resembles flour or talc, and readily falls out of exit holes.

These beetles are second only to termite in their destruction of structural wood. They infest many hardwood species, including oak, ash, hickory, maple and mahogany. They usually infest dry, seasoned wood that is less than five years old. The warm, humid climate in the south is very favorable to beetle infestation and development. There are several species of powderpost beetles; Lyctus planicollis is the most common and destructive species in the South. These beetles are capable of re-infesting wood, and can spread throughout hardwoods in lumberyards.