Know your woodworm!

22 June 2015

As we head into the warmer months, property owners may now start to notice some creepy critters emerging from the wood in their home! The months between May and September are generally accepted as “woodworm season”.  It is during this time that the Woodworm beetles begin to emerge from the infected timber where they have been feeding during the winter months.

 Acknowledging that your property is at risk of woodworm is the difficult part, as woodworm infestations often occur in non visible places in your property. Knowing what to look out for and being able to judge the severity of the issue will allow you, the home-owner, to make the right decisions in rectifying the problem.

 The term ‘woodworm’ is generally used to describe an attack from a wood boring insect. In the United Kingdom there are several species of wood boring insects which can cause timber infestations. Here we will be discussing the details of the most commonly encountered wood boring insects found in seasoned timber in buildings and properties.

In this blog post we look at some of the more common types of woodworm beetles and how to identify them.

Common Furniture Beetle (Anobium Punctatum)

Common Furniture Beetle

What does it look like?

· Small, dark, reddish.

· 3mm – 5mm in length.

· Regular lines running down  its wings.  


This common furniture beetle is by far the most common cause of damage encountered. It’s specialty is sapwood of softwood and European hardwoods.

Signs of Infestation

· Round holes approximately 1.5 – 2mm in diameter.

· Small piles of frass seen within tunnels or on surfaces.

· Frass will have a gritty texture.

Deathwatch Beetle (Xestobium rufovillosum)

Deathwatch Beetle

What does it look like?

· Chocolate brown in colour.

· 8mm in length.

· Patches of yellowish hairs.


The Deathwatch beetle usually attacks oak, however it will attack Softwood if well-rotted and in contact with infested hardwood.

Signs of Infestation

· Round holes about 3mm diameter.

· Extensive tunnelling.

· Lots of frass usually present; frass is ‘bun’ shaped, readily visible to the naked eye.

Wood-boring Weevils (Euophryum confine and Pentarthrum huttoni)

Wood-boring Weevils

What does it look like?

· Small, brown and black.

· Up to 5mm in length.

· Distinctive long snout.

· Antennae one third distance along snout.


Wood-boring Weevils attack both softwoods and hardwoods which have previously been subject to decay. Destruction is most commonly seen in damp skirting boards and embedded joist ends.

 Signs of Infestation

· Tunnelling in sapwood tends to run along the grain.

· Tunnels are narrow, around 1mm diameter.

· Frass is likely to be ‘sticky’ due to the dampness.

Powder Post Beetle (Lyctus brunneus)

Powder Post Beetle

What does it look like?

 · A mid reddish brown.  

· 8 -9mm in length.

· Flattened in shape.


The powder post beetle unlike other beetles infest timber prior to its arrival in your home. Its arrival in the timber usually occurs when it’s being stored and cured and will later emerge from the finished product. The powder post beetle only attacks sapwood of wide ported hardwood’s such as oak and obeche. The timber must be of recent origin, less than 15 years old and therefore is most likely to be seen in newly introduced hardwood’s such as oak flooring or oak kitchen units.

Signs of Infestation

· Round holes 1.5 – 2mm.

· Usually lots of flour-like frass – smooth when rubbed.

· Live insects may be found around break-out holes.


House Longhorn Beetle (Hylotrupes bajulus)

House Longhorn Beetle

What does it look like?

· Larger than most woodworm beetles at 15 – 20mm in length.

· Black to dark brown.

· Long antennae.

· Grey hairs prominent on wing covers.


This insect is specifically localised to the south-east of England, centred around Camberley. The House Longhorn beetle attacks the sapwood of softwood and can potentially cause severe structural damage to properties.

 Signs of Infestation 

· Oval emergence holes, 6-8mm across.

· Severe internal damage, often filled with loose frass.

· The surface of wood often remains thin and brittle when subject to a severe attack.

Should you be in any uncertainty with regards to the existence of Woodworm in your home it is recommended to let specialists oversee the problem.  This is where Timberwise come in. Timberwise will be able to identify the nature and severity of the infestation and propose a remedial solution, removing any concern you may have.  We hope this guide has helped you, if you have any enquiries regarding how to treat woodworm do not hesitate to give us a call on 0800 288 8660 and we will arrange for one of our specialists to look into the matter further.