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Entomology (Study of Bugs)/beetles in a headboard

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Dead Bugs
Dead Bugs  
Bug on Post
Bug on Post  
QUESTION: Hello,
My husband and I recently found a dime-sized pile of "sawdust" on top of one of the posts of our headboard.  After climbing up to look at it, we noticed 3 holes that were about 1/8th of an inch in diamter with a small bug poking it's head out. After seeing us, it went back down the hole. This hickory headboard was made by an Amish colony in the Eastern US.  We live in Dickinson, ND.  We also noticed that the wood is drying and shrinking to the point that finishing nails are ripping out. We were able to get a quick picture of the whole bug on top of the post with a cell phone, although it is not a great picture.  We have also found some dead beetle-like bugs in our carpeting beneath where the bed was (located in the bag in the attached pictures).  They are very small, maybe 1/8th of an inch long.  Our concern is that the bugs that were in the headboard have infested our newly constructed home.  The Amish colony says there is no way the bugs came in the headboard (due to their drying process) and that they were already present in the house. The only hardwood in the state of ND is cedar and grows in the badlands, which are miles from us.  From the quick research I have done, a potential culprit could be a powderpost beetle.  I'm wondering if the dead beetles we found resemble those at all?  I understand that you probably won't be able to identify the bug on the post since it is so small.  We are trying to determine if we might have a problem based on the bugs we have found in the carpet.  Any insight as to what these dead bugs may be would be most helpful.  Thank you for your time.

ANSWER: Marissa,

These are probably lyctid powderpost beetles (see http://www.livingwithbugs.com/powderpost_beetles.html for pictures and general info). The damage you are seeing is typical for these beetles. The wood was likely infested at the furniture manufacturer rather than your home since wood is normally infested when it is relatively fresh (soon after harvest). Drying does not protect wood from infestation as some manufacturers claim if the dried wood is not properly stored. The fact that the wood is continuing to dry is an indication that it was not stored properly.

Post a follow up if you have questions.

Jack DeAngelis


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you so much for your quick response. My concern is that these will get into our flooring, walls, etc.  Some of the articles I have read say the beetles can infect other wood in the home, while others say that the beetles are most likely to stay in the original source (in our case the hickory headboard).  I'm guessing these are not native bugs to ND due to the lack of hardwoods, so there wouldn't be a way of them being present in the house prior to us receiving our headboard in October?  Would you recommend getting an exterminator?  I'm trying to determine the extent of the problem and what actions need to be taken, if needed.  I again greatly appreciate your help.

Answer
There's little danger of infestation in other woods in the house but it is not impossible. Finished surfaces are protected but unfinished surfaces are not. An exterminator will not be able to treat for the beetles since there's no way to know where to treat. Damage from these beetles typically takes years to develop so most people just opt to do nothing except repair/replace the original source (headboard).

Jack DeAngelis

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Jack DeAngelis

Expertise

I can answer questions in any area of entomology (study of insects, spiders, mites, ticks, and other terrestrial arthropods). Contact me about home and garden insects, insects that bite and sting, and insects that damage homes such as carpenter ants and termites.

Experience

20 years as university extension entomologist, now retired; currently publish a website about home and garden insects.

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see www.livingwithbugs.com/resume.html

Education/Credentials
Ph.D. in Entomology

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