General Insect Identification

Gallery of Insects, Spiders, and Other Pests

See descriptions below the gallery for more information on specific pests.

Wood-Infesting Beetles

Old House Borers

An infestation of old house borers is evidenced by the presence of the adults their emergence holes, or by the larvae and larval tunnels in the wood. The black to gray beetles are 5/8 to 1 inch in length and possess long antennae. Fine, gray hairs are present on the thorax with two shiny raised areas on each side. Patches of gray hairs are visible on the wing covers in irregular lateral bands. The pointed abdomen of the females will typically extend beyond the ends of the wing covers. Emergence holes made by the adult beetles are somewhat oval and 1/4 inch in diameter. The cream-colored larvae are up to 1-1/4 inch in length. On each side of the head are three distinct, dark eyes (ocelli) arranged vertically behind the mouthparts. The larval body tapers towards the posterior end. Tunnels made by the larvae contain a sawdust-like material known as frass. The tunnel walls are sculptured (showing where the mandibles scraped away the wood), and the frass is barrel-shaped. The larva, while chewing with its hard jaws, emits a rasping or clicking sound (very similar to the sound produced by clicking fingernails), are often audible to the householder.

Powder Post Beetles

Powder Post beetles breed in dead and dried hardwoods such as the dead branches and limbs of trees. Their presence is overlooked until they are discovered in stored lumber, rafters, joists, finished wood, and furniture products. As a rule, they enter lumber while it is being stored and cured, then later, emerge from the finished product. Old items of furniture and wood antiques are especially vulnerable to attack by the beetles.