The Common Furniture Beetle: Signs, Lifecycle, and Treatments

17 May 2022

Woodworm is a common problem in England, Scotland, and Wales, and there is no more common type of woodworm than the common furniture beetle. The common furniture beetle (Anobium punctatum) is, as its name suggests, the most commonly found woodworm beetle in the UK – however, that’s where the accuracy of this beetle’s name ends.

Despite being labelled a ‘furniture’ beetle, this pest is most commonly found in the timber that makes up the joinery of a property, or the structural timber of a building. If you do find woodworm within your furniture, you can always learn how to treat it yourself by reading our blog here.

How to Identify the Common Furniture Beetle

The common furniture beetle does possess a few attributes that make It easy to identify when compared with other woodworm beetles.

The very first thing you might notice when it comes to the common furniture beetle is the pronotum.  If you aren’t too familiar with the terminology, you might know it better as the area directly behind the furniture beetle’s head. The reason that you might notice the pronotum is because, on a common furniture beetle, it resembles a monks cowl.

The common furniture beetle’s body is mostly brown, about 2.5mm in length, with what look like grooves running down their backs lengthways. They have legs that are shorter than their antennae, and notably they can fly – don’t be fooled by the myth that the woodworm beetle cannot fly.

However, it’s more than likely that you might not even see the common furniture beetle. Instead, you might only recognise the signs of them in your home. Tiny holes in your timber that they emerge out of combined with the frass left behind (the dust left after boring the holes) are sure signs that you have woodworm in your property.

If you are unsure about whether you might have woodworm in your home, just give our team a call and we can arrange for a woodworm survey to find out for you.

Where Would I Find the Common Furniture Beetle?

The common furniture beetle, despite what you might guess from the name, is most regularly found within structural timber, or timber that comprises the joinery of a property.

Whilst the common furniture beetle will infest both European softwood and hardwoods, you will find that they generally prefer damp wood. This means that the common furniture beetle might settle in structural timber, decorative timber, or even furniture.

Moist wood is preferred by the common furniture beetle because the dryer the wood is, the harder it becomes for the woodworm to feed. They can be found in wood with a moisture content down to about 12%, but they generally prefer wood with a moisture content over around 30%.

The Lifecycle of a Common Furniture Beetle

The common furniture beetle’s life cycle is an easy one to predict, and follows a pattern.

It starts when the common furniture beetle hatches from its egg. These eggs are usually laid by the adult furniture beetle within the timber, usually in crevices or other sheltered bits of the timber that might give the eggs protection from potential predators.

The eggs hatch, and the common furniture beetle exits in its larvae stage. This is the stage in which the woodworm is at its most destructive, with the larvae boring downwards in your timber, eating their way further into your wood.

Once the beetles reach their adult stage they pupate, meaning that they now have the form of the common furniture beetle we described before. The larvae usually pupate just below the surface of the timber, which they then emerge out of in beetle form.

When they emerge out of the timber, they leave behind distinct emergence holes. These holes, and the frass (or dust) that I left behind when they are made are some of the clearest and most obvious signs of a common furniture beetle infestation.

Once the beetles are free of the timber, they start the process again. They find themselves a mate, and then find an area within some timber in which they can lay their eggs.

What Damage Can a Common Furniture Beetle Do?

The common furniture beetle poses a real threat to the timber that it bores through. Whilst one of the larvae alone might not be enough to cause real or lasting damage in a piece of timber, a number of them together can cause real structural issues.

 

The way that the larvae eat, and travel through the timber is essentially a hollowing process. Slowly removing the interior of the timber as the larvae eat and grow. Combine that knowledge with the fact that every single larvae will pupate, and grow into an adult furniture beetle who strive to lay as many eggs in nearby timber as possible, and you have an exponentially growing threat to the timber in your property if you leave a woodworm problem untreated.

If it is left untreated, you could see catastrophic failure in your timber. This is mostly significant to properties that rely on structural timber. Floorboards, roof beams, lintels – all can be compromised and potentially ruined if the common furniture beetle is left alone and allowed to eat and spread without treatment.

So, how might a common furniture beetle infestation be treated?

How Do We Treat the Common Furniture Beetle?

Man treating timbers for woodworm

Timberwise have years of treating the common furniture beetle behind us – after all, it’s the most common type of woodworm beetle found in the UK.

When treating the common furniture beetle, the first step is establishing the extent, location, and type of infestation you have. Our surveyors will be able to discover what type of woodworm is in your property, and recommend a course of action based off of what they find.

Treatment for the common furniture beetle does vary depending on the level of infestation – but a typical course of action would go like this. First, an insecticidal spray is applied to the affected timber. This water based spray kills the woodworm on contact, so when they emerge from your timber they die before they can lay any more eggs. If a more in depth treatment is needed, a penetrating insecticidal gel could also be applied.

Once the treatment has been applied we can get to work on removing or repairing timber that requires attention. Seriously affected timber is cut away, and renewed with new timber so that the structural integrity remains strong.

We might also use a resin repair method to make sure that any remaining timber is patched up and healthy, rather than splicing in new timber entirely.

Get in Touch to Solve your Woodworm Problem

If you are concerned that your property is suffering from a woodworm infestation then book a survey with our CSRT qualified team today. Just fill out one of our contact forms, or call us on 0800 288 8660, and we can help you eradicate woodworm in your home.