Woodworm Beetle

Getting to know the individuals

identify woodworm beetles

It might surprise you to learn that woodworm is not caused by just one type of woodworm beetle. There are actually several different types of woodworm beetles that can be found within the UK.  

Below is a short summary of the typical woodworm beetles and areas where you can typically find them. Alternatively, if you suspect you might have a woodworm issue you can also visit our woodworm tell tale signs web page to help you determine if the beetles are present in your property.

Woodworm tell tale signs

Woodworm beetle 1 – Common Furniture beetle

The most common form of woodworm beetle is the common furniture beetle. The common furniture woodworm beetle (Anobium punctatum) is a wood boring beetle measuring 2.7-4.5mm in length and has a brown ellipsodial body with a pronotum resembling a monk's cowl.

This woodworm beetle attacks softwood species of timber leaving 1-2mm exit holes. It generally prefers damp, rather than dry wood and the grub will head for, and stays in, plywood for longer than any other timber.

What the common furniture beetle looks like

(click on images above  for hi-res version)

Areas where the Common Furniture beetle is found

Damp floorboards, damp loft timbers and old furniture where the polished finish has worn off, are good areas where the common furniture woodworm beetle can be found. The common furniture beetle lays its eggs on the timber and the grubs do the damage.

Woodworm beetle 2 – Death Watch beetle

The Death Watch woodworm beetle is a wood boring beetle approximately 7 mm long with larvae growing up to 11mm long.

To attract mates, these woodborers create a tapping or ticking sound that can be heard in old building rafters during quiet summer nights. They are therefore associated with quiet, sleepless nights and are named for the vigil (watch) keeping beside the dying or dead with the superstitious therefore naming it the Death Watch beetle.

The Death Watch woodworm beetle much prefers very damp conditions which are improved when there is some kind of fungal decay such as wet rot in the timbers. The beetle needs these conditions to develop rapidly.

What the Death Watch Beetle looks like

(click on images above for hi-res version)

Areas where the Death Watch beetle is found

Virtually absent in this country, the Death Watch beetle prefers European hardwoods, especially oak, ash and chestnut; that have been "softened" with dry rot or wet rot. The larvae tend to tunnel towards the centre of the timber resulting in damage that may be more extensive than is apparent from the exterior. In the UK, this species is concentrated mainly in southern/central England.

Woodworm beetle 3 – House Longhorn beetle

Originating in Europe, the House Longhorn woodworm beetle is now found around the world. Unlike other woodworm beetles, only the larvae of the House Longhorn beetle feeds on wood. The woodworm larvae usually matures in the spring and the mature adults then cut holes 6-10mm in diameter to exit the wood. They have shiny spots that resemble eyes and are typically black or brown with grayish hair on their upper bodies and wing cases.

What the House Longhorn beetle looks like

 (click on images above for hi-res version)

Areas where the House longhorn beetle is found

Not common in this country, the Longhorn woodworm beetle is generally found outwith the UK however, they have been found within areas in Surrey, England.

It is principally found in roof timbers where it attacks the sapwood of exclusively softwood species often resulting in severe structural weakness. The holes and tunnels of the House Longhorn woodworm beetle are significantly larger than the Common Furniture beetle.

Woodworm beetle 4 – Powderpost beetle

The Powderpost woodworm beetle is typically only found in timber containing adequate starch with pores large enough for the female beetle to lay her eggs in.

The Powderpost woodworm beetle is very small (approx 1 to 7mm) and ranges in colour from reddish brown to black and in size from 1 to 7 mm (up to 0.3 inch). The larvae bore through seasoned wood such as ash, elm and oak.

What the Powderpost beetle looks like

(click on images above for hi-res version)

Areas where the Powderpost beetle is found

Damage almost always originates in timber yards, stockyards or storerooms however, the Powderpost woodworm beetle can also cause considerable damage to furniture, sports equipment, wood block floors and joinery made of wide pored hardwoods. They do not enter varnished, painted, or treated wood.

Contact us for woodworm advice

If you want to speak to someone regarding woodworm treatment, call us today on: 08006522678 or, alternatively, use our online contact form and we will organise one of our specialist to call and speak to you at a time convenient for yourself.

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