Old House Wood Borer Beetle
The larvae of the old house borer sometimes infest softwoods in Florida. The adult beetle is grayish-black and 1/2 to 3/4 inch in length, with several white markings on the wing covers and have long antennae. The female lays eggs in crevices of logs or timbers. The larvae hatch and require three to five years or more to mature. The larvae are 1/2 to 1 1/2 inches long and are white, segmented, and have an enlarged, brownish head. They bore through the wood, making irregular galleries. During quiet times, their feeding may be heard as a clicking or rasping sound. The beetles emerge through an oval hole about 1/4 to 3/8 inch in diameter. The key to avoiding serious problems with old house borers is early detection and control. Usually, homeowners see the damage rather than the beetles. The larval damage occurs entirely below the surface of the wood where larvae eat tunnels. However, their frass occupies more space than the volume of wood that is consumed. Therefore, they fill the tunnels in the wood completely, causing a blistering or rippled effect. The frass is a fine, powder like dust that is found loosely packed in tunnels and in small piles outside of the hole. The frass feels like talc but usually has small pellets of frass mixed with it. Adult emergence holes are oval and 1/4 to 3/8 inch in diameter.