Woodworm is the generic term used to commonly describe the larvae stage of wood boring beetles. With timber accounting for up to 70% of the fabric of a house, woodworm can become a common problem.
Common furniture beetle (anobium punctatum) can affect timber anywhere – but it usually attacks soft wood and likes a small amount of moisture in the timber. The adult beetle lays its eggs in crevices and between timber joints the larvae hatch out and are too small to see the entry hole. The larvae bore up and down the grain of the timber creating frass in the tunnels they bore. They digest the starch in the timber converting this to sugars. The period of larvae development prior to metamorphosis into the adult beetle can be from 2 - 4 years.
As the temperature in the environment warms towards summer the larvae bore their way to just below the surface of the timber and create a chamber into which the larvae then change into the adult winged beetle. The beetle then gnaws its way out of the timber leaving a round to ovoid shape hole 2 - 3 mm wide with sharp cleanly cut edges and the frass created from the boring of the hole and tunnel leading to it will have spilled especially if the hole is on the underside of the timber.
The adult beetles crawl or fly towards the light or white surface seek a mate lay eggs and repeat the life cycle. Successive life cycles can if not interrupted by appropriate treatment can cause considerable damage and eventual collapse of timbers.
Other types of woodworm common to the UK include the Deathwatch Beetle (Xestobium rufuvillosum), the House Longhorn Beetle (Hylotrupes bajulus), and the Powderpost beetle (Lyctus brunneus). Whilst the Powderpost Beetle can be treated in much the same way as the Common Furniture Beetle, House Longhorn and Deathwatch beetle infestations require more extensive treatment
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