Our neighbors have found that their house has a serious powderpost beetle problem. Our house is about 75 feet away from theirs with a detached garage in between. Is there a possibility of the beetles spreading to our house?
There is always a threat that neighboring populations of any insect can spread. This is especially true when the population is located outside. PINE BEETLES would be a good example of an insect that can easily move from one lot to another. That being said, POWDERPOST BEETLES are in general not likely to do so unless there are certain conditions in place which would allow for successful migrations. Here is the short list:
First, the species of beetle active in your neighbors house is most likely wood specific. That means it will probably need the same kind of wood in your home in order to succeed after migration. This can be a big part of why it’s so hard for powderpost beetles to migrate.
Second, it will need access to getting outside in significant numbers. Many times the infestation is confined and emerging adults are not able to leave the structure where they’re active. Emerging adults will have little time to find suitable wood and a mate. If they’re not able to escape the originating house in a timely fashion, there is a high chance they’ll just die out and not be able to propagate elsewhere.
Third, just what kind of “problem” do they have? For example, old damage from powderpost beetles can be a “serious problem”. But it does not have to be “live” for it to be serious. You didn’t mention if there are active beetles being seen in the home and this is the first way to identify if an immediate threat is present. If your neighbors are finding “piles of beetles” accumulating around exterior windows, the risk would be higher than normal. But if they’ve only spotted old exit holes and it’s been labeled as powderpost beetles without actually seeing anything alive, the risk is nominal.
Lastly, the kind of wood involved has a lot to do with the odds of migrating beetles being successful at relocation. For example, if your neighbors purchased a wood cabinet or other piece of furniture that was made abroad and it’s got the beetles, the odds are this species of wood isn’t native or found locally let alone in your home. This would keep the risks minimized. But if the wood involved is cedar, oak, walnut or pine – just to name a few local species which I would classify as common here in the states – the odds increase that migrating beetles could move from one house to another.
In summary, these are some important variables you can weight when attempting to gauge whether or not there is a chance of any beetle migrating from their house to yours. In general I’d say the odds are low but I have seen this happen so it is most definitely a possibility.
Here is a direct link to our powderpost beetle article: