Identifying Woodworm & Common Wood Boring Insects

The Deathwatch Beetle

The Deathwatch Beetle is one of the most common wood boring insects in the UK. It is the mature form of ‘woodworm’, it’s larvae. Most wood boring insects are classified as wood worm because where there are mature insects there will be offspring. The Deathwatch Beetle often bores into timber to lay its eggs and makes it’s home in the frame of houses; damaging the structural integrity of properties.

The adult deathwatch beetles, Xestobium rufovillosum, are usually around 7 millimetres (0.28 in) long, while their larvae are up to 11 mm (0.43 in) long.

To attract mates, these woodborers create a tapping or ticking sound that can be heard in the rafters of old buildings on quiet summer nights.

The Furniture Beetle

The common furniture beetle or common house borer (Anobium punctatum) is a woodboring beetle. In the larval stage it bores in wood and feeds upon it. Adults measure 2.7–4.5 millimetres (0.11–0.18 in) in length.

Adults do not feed; they just reproduce. The female lays her eggs into cracks in wood or inside old exit holes, if available. The eggs hatch after some three weeks, each producing a 1 millimetre (0.039 in) long, creamy white, C-shaped larva (woodworms).

For three to four years the larvae bore semi-randomly through timber, following and eating the starchy part of the wood grain, and grow up to 7 millimetres (0.28 in).

The Brown Powderpost Beetle

The Lyctus brunneus or Brown Powderpost beetle is an arthropod beetle that lives in various hardwood and softwoods throughout the world. Much like other wood boring beetles they reproduce as adults to lay eggs that hatch into woodworm. They make pinhole size holes in wood called ‘shot holes’ where they lay their young.

Their life cycle is generally the same as all other wood boring beetles. They commonly bore into thw wood in buildings; damaging the structural integrity of the property.

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