The Life Cycle of Woodworm

Woodworm insects are known to have between a two and five-year life cycle. Within this time, the larvae will hatch and then eat away the wood under the surface before re-emerging as beetles, mating, laying more eggs and then finally dying. The life cycle of the wood-boring beetle is normally always near completion before most property owners are even aware they have a problem. Through understanding the details of the woodworms life cycle we are able to treat the issue effectively and efficiently.

The life cycle sees woodworm beetles or wormwood as they have sometimes been called) live within the wood and timber and explains the journey to the surface where they can eventually be seen by the naked eye.

Woodworm Life Cycle Stage 1

Stage 1

The woodworm life cycle begins with the adult female woodworm beetle entering small, natural cracks within the timber so that they can lay their eggs. These eggs are laid under the surface of the timber because it not only protects the offspring of the woodworm beetle, but also because the young woodworm hatch into an ideal feeding and breeding environment.

Woodworm Life Cycle Stage 2

Stage 2

Once a few weeks have passed the eggs will hatch, and emerging from them is the woodworm larvae. This larvae will spend between two and five years within the timber feeding, eating their way through the wood. This obviously weakens the timber because of the amount of time all of the combined larvae spend eating through the wood. It’s at this point in the life cycle that the dust like frass is produced, frass being the waste produced by a woodworm as it bores its way through the wood.

Woodworm Life-cycle Stage 3

Stage 3

After two to five years the larvae within the timber will pupate, moving towards the surface of the timber to create a pupal chamber where it will slowly develop into an adult woodworm beetle. Once the larvae has become a fully fledged woodworm beetle it will eat its way through the final layer of wood, emerging into the open. The small holes this process leaves are called emergence holes, and they are one of the most common signs of an active woodworm infestation. At this point, we can identify identify the exact type of woodworm, present in the timber from the shape of the adult beetles body.

Woodworm Mating

Stage 4

After the beetle has emerged from the timber it will cause no more immediate damage. The woodworm beetles will be in their adult form at this stage, with the female beetle lifespan being from 10 to 14 days, and the male lifespan being only between 3 and 4 days. At this stage in their life, the male is focussed only on mating with as many female beetles as possible, who when they are ready burrow back into the timber to lay their eggs and start the cycle once again.