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Powder Post Beetle

Lyctinae (one specific subfamily of the powder-post beetle) are referred to as true powder post beetles because they produce very fine, powdery, talc-like frass that contains no grains or pellets. It has been reported that in the US, the Lyctinae are second only to termites in their destructiveness to wood and wood products.

These beetles are strong fliers and are attracted to light. Thus, adults are often found near windows or on windowsills when infestation occurs indoors. Adults mate and begin laying eggs soon after they emerge. The greatest period of activity occurs during warm season. During the day, adults may conceal themselves in cracks and crevices in the wood. They are active on the surface of the wood for several hours after dusk. During spring, females usually lay eggs in pores of selected woods as well as old adult emergence holes. They cannot lay eggs in wood where pores are sealed by various types of wood finishes (i.e., varnish).



The prime host of the Boxelder bug is the boxelder tree. This is a species of maple tree. The Boxelder bug feeds on not only the boxelder tree but also other maples, fruit of the almond, apples and other fruit. They also enjoy dead honey bees. The presence of boxelder bugs on the ground is related to the presence of fallen boxelder seeds, a primary food source. Mating takes place usually during April and early May. The eggs of the boxelder bug are straw-yellow when first deposited and soon take on a dark reddish brown color. The eggs may be deposited in clutches of about six on the leaves and at other sites on the host. Eggs hatch after 11 to 19 days.

In the fall, the adult bugs become gregarious and assemble on the south sides of trees, rocks, and buildings to warm themselves in the sun. After large masses of bugs accumulate, they tend to fly to nearby buildings or other protected sites where they hibernate for the winter, usually within the walls, if a structure is involved. Adults are capable of flying up to two miles from their initial congregation site.

During the winter months, individuals or small parties of boxelder bugs foray inside houses and fly into windows, bathtubs, sinks, and congregate on the floor adjacent to their overwintering harborage. Normally, this occurs on the south and west side of the house, during sunny weather. Outbreaks are typically associated with long, hot, dry summers.

Leaf and seed diagrams of the Boxelder tree. The favorite food of the Boxelder bug (Above). A beautiful picture of the Boxelder tree, not only the favorite food of the Boxelder bug, but also the favorite home (Below).