Woodworm & Wood-boring beetles

Woodworm is a description commonly and loosely applied to all wood-boring beetles, but there are many species of beetle common to this country Wood boring beetles, like fungal decay, can if in the right conditions, cause considerable damage resulting in the weakening of structural and joinery timbers.

Common furniture beetle activity in a joist

Common furniture beetle activity in a joist

Woodworm is a description commonly and loosely applied to all wood-boring beetles, but there are many species of beetle common to this country; Common Furniture, Death Watch and Weevil to name just a few. The life cycle of the wood boring beetle is normally always near completion before most home owners are even aware that they have a problem. After mating the female beetle will lay her eggs into cracks and rough surfaces of the timbers, which will then hatch and begin tunnelling into the timber. The number of eggs and larval stage of the beetle will vary according to the species of beetle. The larvae will pupate after several weeks (depending on the species) and the adult beetles develop and commence boring their way out of the affected timber.

Death watch beetle activity

Death watch beetle activity

Activity by wood borers would always normally be confirmed by the presence of fresh bore dust (frass) on the timber and a clean exit (flight) hole. The extent of beetle infestation and the damage caused will always be dependent on the particular beetle and the type of timber being attacked. Some beetles such as the death watch & weevil prefer damp or decayed timber for its survival and in some cases chemical treatments are not always required to eradicate the infestation, as controlling moisture levels and drying the timbers may be all that is necessary. It is therefore extremely important that the correct identification of the beetle species is made (particularly when dealing with period or buildings of historic interest), as the wrong identification can lead to the unnecessary and expensive use of chemical treatment.

Where chemical treatments are considered essential these should always be targeted to the areas of concern and continued ongoing monitoring should always be considered.

 

Common Furniture Beetle

Common Furniture Beetle

Common Wood Boring Beetles;

Common Furniture Beetle – (Anobium punctatum)
Commonly referred to as woodworm and is the most common wood boring insect found in buildings throughout Britain. This beetle will attack softwoods and European hardwoods and is often found in old furniture from where it gets its name.

Death Watch Beetle – (Xestobium rufovillosum)
Death watch beetle is more common in the Southern half of the United Kingdom than in the North and infestation is commonly found in Oak and Elm which were the traditional timbers used for constructing timber framed and old buildings, churches etc. It is generally stated that death watch beetle is only found where timbers have been subjected to moisture ingress and decay, which are the conditions favouring the rapid development of the beetle.

Weevil – (Euophryum confine / pentarthrum huttoni)
Wood Weevil is another insect that favours extreme damp conditions and decay. Chemical treatment is therefore not always necessary as dry timbers will not be affected by Weevil. However, in well established attacks structural damage is likely to have occurred in areas of poor ventilation such as basements, sub floors etc.

House Longhorn – (Hylotrupes bajulus)
This beetle infests mainly softwoods and causes serious structural damage to roof timbers in particular. Mainly confined to the Surrey area (nicknamed the Camberley beetle) although has more recently been found in packing cases in the Bristol area. Details of suspected outbreaks should be reported to the Building Research Establishment, who maintains records of infestations in the UK.

PHVsPjxsaT48c3Ryb25nPndvb19hZHNfcm90YXRlPC9zdHJvbmc+IC0gdHJ1ZTwvbGk+PGxpPjxzdHJvbmc+d29vX2FkX2ltYWdlXzE8L3N0cm9uZz4gLSBodHRwOi8vd3d3Lndvb3RoZW1lcy5jb20vYWRzL3dvb3RoZW1lcy0xMjV4MTI1LTEuZ2lmPC9saT48bGk+PHN0cm9uZz53b29fYWRfaW1hZ2VfMjwvc3Ryb25nPiAtIGh0dHA6Ly93d3cud29vdGhlbWVzLmNvbS9hZHMvd29vdGhlbWVzLTEyNXgxMjUtMi5naWY8L2xpPjxsaT48c3Ryb25nPndvb19hZF9pbWFnZV8zPC9zdHJvbmc+IC0gaHR0cDovL3d3dy53b290aGVtZXMuY29tL2Fkcy93b290aGVtZXMtMTI1eDEyNS0zLmdpZjwvbGk+PGxpPjxzdHJvbmc+d29vX2FkX2ltYWdlXzQ8L3N0cm9uZz4gLSBodHRwOi8vd3d3Lndvb3RoZW1lcy5jb20vYWRzL3dvb3RoZW1lcy0xMjV4MTI1LTQuZ2lmPC9saT48bGk+PHN0cm9uZz53b29fYWRfdXJsXzE8L3N0cm9uZz4gLSBodHRwOi8vd3d3Lndvb3RoZW1lcy5jb208L2xpPjxsaT48c3Ryb25nPndvb19hZF91cmxfMjwvc3Ryb25nPiAtIGh0dHA6Ly93d3cud29vdGhlbWVzLmNvbTwvbGk+PGxpPjxzdHJvbmc+d29vX2FkX3VybF8zPC9zdHJvbmc+IC0gaHR0cDovL3d3dy53b290aGVtZXMuY29tPC9saT48bGk+PHN0cm9uZz53b29fYWRfdXJsXzQ8L3N0cm9uZz4gLSBodHRwOi8vd3d3Lndvb3RoZW1lcy5jb208L2xpPjxsaT48c3Ryb25nPndvb19hbHRfc3R5bGVzaGVldDwvc3Ryb25nPiAtIGdyYXkuY3NzPC9saT48bGk+PHN0cm9uZz53b29fYXV0b21hdGVfc2xpZGVyPC9zdHJvbmc+IC0gdHJ1ZTwvbGk+PGxpPjxzdHJvbmc+d29vX2F1dG9faW1nPC9zdHJvbmc+IC0gZmFsc2U8L2xpPjxsaT48c3Ryb25nPndvb19ibG9nX2NhdF9pZDwvc3Ryb25nPiAtIDE8L2xpPjxsaT48c3Ryb25nPndvb19ibG9nX25hdmlnYXRpb248L3N0cm9uZz4gLSB0cnVlPC9saT48bGk+PHN0cm9uZz53b29fYmxvZ19wZXJtYWxpbms8L3N0cm9uZz4gLSAvP2NhdD0xPC9saT48bGk+PHN0cm9uZz53b29fYmxvZ19zaWRlYmFyPC9zdHJvbmc+IC0gQmxvZyBQYWdlczwvbGk+PGxpPjxzdHJvbmc+d29vX2N1c3RvbV9jc3M8L3N0cm9uZz4gLSA8L2xpPjxsaT48c3Ryb25nPndvb19jdXN0b21fZmF2aWNvbjwvc3Ryb25nPiAtIDwvbGk+PGxpPjxzdHJvbmc+d29vX2V4Y2x1ZGVfcGFnZXNfbWFpbjwvc3Ryb25nPiAtIDE3OCwyNTQsODc0LDg3NjwvbGk+PGxpPjxzdHJvbmc+d29vX2ZlZWRidXJuZXJfdXJsPC9zdHJvbmc+IC0gPC9saT48bGk+PHN0cm9uZz53b29fZ29vZ2xlX2FuYWx5dGljczwvc3Ryb25nPiAtIDxzY3JpcHQgdHlwZT1cInRleHQvamF2YXNjcmlwdFwiPg0KdmFyIGdhSnNIb3N0ID0gKChcImh0dHBzOlwiID09IGRvY3VtZW50LmxvY2F0aW9uLnByb3RvY29sKSA/IFwiaHR0cHM6Ly9zc2wuXCIgOiBcImh0dHA6Ly93d3cuXCIpOw0KZG9jdW1lbnQud3JpdGUodW5lc2NhcGUoXCIlM0NzY3JpcHQgc3JjPVwnXCIgKyBnYUpzSG9zdCArIFwiZ29vZ2xlLWFuYWx5dGljcy5jb20vZ2EuanNcJyB0eXBlPVwndGV4dC9qYXZhc2NyaXB0XCclM0UlM0Mvc2NyaXB0JTNFXCIpKTsNCjwvc2NyaXB0Pg0KPHNjcmlwdCB0eXBlPVwidGV4dC9qYXZhc2NyaXB0XCI+DQp0cnkgew0KdmFyIHBhZ2VUcmFja2VyID0gX2dhdC5fZ2V0VHJhY2tlcihcIlVBLTE1MjgzODUtMTBcIik7DQpwYWdlVHJhY2tlci5fdHJhY2tQYWdldmlldygpOw0KfSBjYXRjaChlcnIpIHt9PC9zY3JpcHQ+PC9saT48bGk+PHN0cm9uZz53b29faG9tZV9zaWRlYmFyPC9zdHJvbmc+IC0gSG9tZXBhZ2U8L2xpPjxsaT48c3Ryb25nPndvb19pbmNfaW50cm9fcGFnZTwvc3Ryb25nPiAtIGZhbHNlPC9saT48bGk+PHN0cm9uZz53b29faW5jX3NsaWRlcl9wYWdlczwvc3Ryb25nPiAtIGZhbHNlPC9saT48bGk+PHN0cm9uZz53b29faW50cm9fcGFnZTwvc3Ryb25nPiAtIDM8L2xpPjxsaT48c3Ryb25nPndvb19sb2dvPC9zdHJvbmc+IC0gaHR0cDovL3d3dy5wcmVtaWVyLWhlcml0YWdlLmNvLnVrL3dwLWNvbnRlbnQvd29vX3VwbG9hZHMvNC1wci5qcGc8L2xpPjxsaT48c3Ryb25nPndvb19tYW51YWw8L3N0cm9uZz4gLSBodHRwOi8vd3d3Lndvb3RoZW1lcy5jb20vc3VwcG9ydC90aGVtZS1kb2N1bWVudGF0aW9uL3N1aXRhbmR0aWUvPC9saT48bGk+PHN0cm9uZz53b29fcGFnZV9zaWRlYmFyPC9zdHJvbmc+IC0gSW5uZXIgUGFnZXM8L2xpPjxsaT48c3Ryb25nPndvb19yZXNpemU8L3N0cm9uZz4gLSB0cnVlPC9saT48bGk+PHN0cm9uZz53b29fc2hvcnRuYW1lPC9zdHJvbmc+IC0gd29vPC9saT48bGk+PHN0cm9uZz53b29fc2xpZGVyX3BhZ2VzPC9zdHJvbmc+IC0gMTcsMjk8L2xpPjxsaT48c3Ryb25nPndvb190aGVtZW5hbWU8L3N0cm9uZz4gLSBTdWl0ICZhbXA7IFRpZTwvbGk+PGxpPjxzdHJvbmc+d29vX3RoZV9jb250ZW50PC9zdHJvbmc+IC0gdHJ1ZTwvbGk+PGxpPjxzdHJvbmc+d29vX3RodW1iX2hlaWdodDwvc3Ryb25nPiAtIDc1PC9saT48bGk+PHN0cm9uZz53b29fdGh1bWJfd2lkdGg8L3N0cm9uZz4gLSA3NTwvbGk+PGxpPjxzdHJvbmc+d29vX3VwbG9hZHM8L3N0cm9uZz4gLSBhOjI6e2k6MDtzOjcyOiJodHRwOi8vZG9tYWluMjI5Mjc0MS5zaXRlcy5mYXN0aG9zdHMuY29tL3dwLWNvbnRlbnQvd29vX3VwbG9hZHMvNC1wci5qcGciO2k6MTtzOjcyOiJodHRwOi8vZG9tYWluMjI5Mjc0MS5zaXRlcy5mYXN0aG9zdHMuY29tL3dwLWNvbnRlbnQvd29vX3VwbG9hZHMvMy1wci5qcGciO308L2xpPjwvdWw+