Powder Post Beetle Hardwood Floor Damage


Recently we had some “fun” on a job in Orland Park, Illinois.

As we were prepping the beautiful 3 inch red oak floor and getting it ready to start the first sand, we noticed some unusual dust on the floor in one of the rooms. This area of Chicago has a bit of a termite problem so we automatically assumed that was the issue.

Powder Post Beetles on Wood Floors

We knew we couldn’t continue on with the job so we made the decision to pull up one or two of the boards to see what we were dealing with.

You can see what we found in the video below…

What a mess!

As you can see in the video, this floor had been someone’s dinner for quite some time.

Pretty quickly we realized it wasn’t a termite problem. From the size of the holes in the wood we knew we were dealing with some kind of wood boring beetle. We just hoped the wood munching invaders hadn’t eaten up the whole floor.

Powder Post Beetle Damage

We called a specialist inspector to come out and investigate the problem for us and it turned out they were Powder Post Beetles. These little critters are around 1/8” in size. As the larvae grow into adults they tunnel through the wood and leave 1/16” holes filled with fine powdery dust.

Powder Post Beetle

Apparently one of their favorite woods is red oak which explains why we had a family of them feasting on our client’s floor. Unfortunately they are known to re-infest so the client hired a specialized pest control company to treat the floors to make sure they were gone for good.

After a few weeks, when the floors were found to be completely beetle-free, we came back and started working on the floors again. We had to remove about 40 infested, chewed up boards from the hardwood floor and replace them with matching “bug free” red oak planks.

After the repairs were completed, we sanded and refinished the floors and you would never know there was ever a problem.

Here’s some more detailed information about these nasty little Powder Post Beetle guys:

A great website dedicated to these bugs with detailed information on prevention and control for your hardwood floors:

Here’s a report from the University of Kentucky:

Updated June 2021

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Interesing article, I have this exact same problem and was searching for some information. Thank You very Much!!!

Glad we could be of some help to you Bill. Good luck getting rid of them.

Do you know who the flooring manufacturer was. I had a horrific problem at the same time. Thank you!

Hi Gerri,

I don’t have that information sorry. The floor had been installed for quite some time (many years) before we were hired to refinish them. I hope you were able to get your problem sorted out.


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