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Timber Pests - Borers


There are many types of borers (common and uncommon, quarantine or exotic pests) and proper identification by expert Timber Pest Managers is imperative for achieving control if required. Austrapest manages borer in structural timbers only.

Austrapest do not fumigate individual pieces of imported furniture for exotic borers. Contact customs for more information. 

Help - I think I have borers in my floorboards!

Don't worry - the first step is call Austrapest for expert advice. We will recommend an Austrapest Visual Timber Pest Inspection. For the untrained eye, its almost impossible to tell the type of damage to your timber. There are many different species of borers that can damage timbers in buildings. For example,  the larvae or adult of various wood moths, longicorn beetles, jewel beetles, pinhole borers (larvae or adult), Anobium borers, Queensland pine beetles, Lyctus borers and many more. Not to mention other timber pests including termites. The damage caused by borers can range from minimal through to major collapse of floorboards or structural timber in roofs and subfloors.

Because of this, it is very important to have our experts identify your pest problem and advise on the best possible borer treatment. Austrapest skilled technicians are trained to identify the different timbers and the different borers attacking them.

There are two types of borers most commonly encountered by Austrapest technicians- Anobium punctatum (Furniture beetle) and Lyctus brunneus (Powder post beetle).



Furniture Beetle – Anobium punctatum:
Furniture beetles infest softwood timbers and occasionally the sapwood of some of the hardwoods. The most common encounter in urban pest control is in floorings and furniture. They are usually noticed in timbers of some age, at least 7 years old, but commonly over 20 years in service.
There are no effective ways to determine present or past activity during inspections. Test samples would only give findings on those particular samples, not the entire floor. They should always be considered active. It can not be said that borers are "inactive" or that there is "old borer damage" even after a treatment.
The Life cycle of the borer is 1-6 years, adult size is 2.5–4.5 mm. They lay 50-100 eggs in open joints, cuts, rough edges, or old flight holes. Their holes are around 1.5–2 mm in diameter. Damaged timbers have a honey comb appearance, with gritty frass being present. In moist conditions, the life cycle can be as short as 1 year and in drier conditions can extend to 6 years (in Sydney usually 3 years). The beetle usually emerges in October to November, but this may vary with weather conditions.

Timbers and Furniture attacked:
Many softwoods including Baltic pine, Hoop pine, Radiate pine, Oregon and Balsam Fir.
Hardwoods such as English oak and also plywood.
Control Choices:
1. Replace infested timber with a resistant wood such as White cypress pine or resistant hardwoods.
2. Full fumigation for small items and furniture.
3. Alternatively if timbers are still sound and moderately infested, Austrapest qualified technicians can apply a surface treatment. The safest formulation available in Australia at present is Deltamethrin.
Yearly application combined with regular inspections for the period of the life cycle of the beetle is recommended.
Deltamethrin is a Pyrethroid insecticide and has a relatively low toxicity to humans compared to previously used chemicals.
Powderpost Beetles - Lyctus brunneus & Lyctus discedens:
Powderpost beetles vary in size from 3-6mm and are dark brown with short antennae. Larvae are curled with 3 pair of well defined thoracic legs and two enlarged spiracles on the second last abdomen segment. This borer is considered to be native.
The Powderpost beetle lays its eggs in exposed end pores in the sapwood of susceptible timbers (some hardwood timbers only). The eggs hatch and larvae feed in the sapwood. When fully fed they bore close to the surface of the wood and later emerge as beetles.
Timber Pest Inspectors make their identification of this borer based on the type of wood attacked, on the emergence holes (around 1.5-2.0mm in diameter), and the frass (a fine powdery dust) from their workings.

Anobium borer

Lyctus borer

Timbers attacked:
Lyctus brunneus and Lyctus discedens only attack the sapwood section of hardwood timbers and usually during the first few years of the service life of the timber.
By law, timbers in service are only permitted a small percentage of sapwood and no more than 25%. In most cases the damage therefore caused by this beetle will not affect the structural soundness of the timber.
Control Choices:
No chemical treatment is recommended for the control of Lyctus borer. Just replace timbers if it ever becomes necessary.
Queensland pine beetle Calymmaderus incises:
Queensland pine beetles are also encountered in Sydney and the damage they make is similar to that made by Furniture beetles. They usually attack Hoop pine, Bunya pine and New Zealand white pine. Treatment/timber replacement is similar to that used for the control of Furniture beetles.

Austrapest and Kevmac together have been established in the Sydney Metropolitan since 1949, providing excellence in pest services.

Call us now on 1300 030 040 or email us

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Postal Address: PO Box 186, Concord Rd Concord West, NSW 2138, Australia

Phone: 1300 030 040

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