Everything you need to know about woodworm
Types of woodworm
Common furniture beetle
Brown with a head that resembles a monk’s cowl. Around three to four millimetres long.
These beetles have the ability to fly in warm weather and consume both hardwoods and softwoods.
Dark brown with patches of yellow hair. Between six and nine millimetres long.
Mainly concentrated in southern England, the male makes a ticking or tapping noise when trying to attract a mate.
House longhorn beetle
Dark brown or black with grey hairs. Eight to 25 millimetres long.
House longhorns are prevalent in Surrey and tend to infest roof timbers.
Reddish-brown in colour with a cylinder-shaped body. Around four to seven millimetres long.
Powderposts primarily infest timber yards, creating tiny holes in the wood that are difficult to see with the naked eye.
Signs of woodworm
There are a number of signs that can indicate the presence of woodworm (either in the larvae or beetle stage) which homeowners can look out for. If you suspect that you have a woodworm infestation, contact professionals immediately to minimise further damage.
- Woodworm holes in timber – Round or oval shaped with sharp edges, the holes will appear clean and fresh. They are created when adult beetles exit the timber.
- Crumbling wood around corners or edges to roof joists or floorboards.
- Bore dust (frass) – Created by adult beetles exiting the timber and usually visible below the infested area.
- Visible larvae – Usually curved and cream or white in colour.
- Visible beetles – Dead or alive, they tend to leave timber between May and October.
Woodworm lifecycle and behaviour
The woodworm lifecycle is surprisingly lengthy while they are in the timber, which gives them a lot of time to damage it beyond repair. It’s important to be vigilant.
The female beetle lays her eggs directly into the timber through minute cracks and crevices in order to protect them.
After a few weeks, the eggs hatch downwards into the timber and produce larvae.
The worm stage lasts for between two and five years while the larvae eat around the timbers and cause structural damage. It is at this stage in the life cycle that dust that is associated with woodworm is produced.
Towards the end of its lifecycle, the larvae tunnels to near the surface of the timber and forms a pupal chamber. It then pupates into an adult beetle before eating through the last veneer of timber, producing tell-tale round exit holes.
What’s at risk?