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.
Managing Surveyor and Waterproofing Design Specialist CSRT CSSW ACABE
The beginning of the woodworm lifecycle sees the worm entering the small natural cracks in the wood or timber ends. Once penetrated, the female woodworm will lay its eggs in cracks, crevices and pre-existing holes created by previous woodworm. By doing this, the eggs remain safe and protected allowing them to develop and eventually hatch.
After a few weeks the eggs will hatch downwards and become, what we call, ‘Larvae’. Larvae is the term used for the woodworm of which now has between a two and five year journey inside the wood / timber before it will ever see the light of day. The Larvae are usually around 2mm in size. The Larvae will begin eating its way through the timber, eventually creating a weakened structure ¬ when combined with all the other worms that are doing the exact same. It is at this stage that the dust like frass, that is associated with woodworm is produced. Frass is essentially the waste product produced by the woodworm as it bores through the wood.
When anywhere between two to five years have passed, the larvae will pupate. This is when the worm / larvae moves towards the surface of the wood and creates what is known as a pupal chamber. Here the Larvae will expand the tunnel around itself and develop into an adult beetle before eating away at the final layer of wood / timber - producing the round exit holes that you normally see. It is only at this stage of the life cycle that we can identifying woodworm and by this stage, the internal damage has already been done.
From here on in the beetle causes very little further damage to the timber. It is the round exit holes that normally identify timber that has been subjected to beetle infestation. The females live for between 10 and 14 days whereas their male counterparts only live between 3 and 4 days. Once the adult male beetles have emerged from the chamber there sole purpose is to mate with as many female partners in their short lifespan and the lifecycle continues.