Insect Attack of Timber

Timber which is maintained in dry condition is at low risk of insect attack.

The adult beetle form of wood boring insects lay eggs on timber surfaces usually in rough crevices, especially in hidden areas. The eggs hatch out and the larvae are very small at this stage so entry boreholes that the larvae make are not readily visible.

The larvae are attracted to the starches and sugars contained within the timber. Depending upon the species of wood boring insect the larvae can spend up to 14 years within the timber boring tunnels inside up and down the grain. The longest life cycle is Death Watch Beetle and this will favour almost exclusively hardwood timbers such as oak. Donkiopora Expansa a fungus often accompanies the spread of Death Watch Beetle.

Common Furniture beetle

In appearance, the Common Furniture Beetle is a small dark reddish brown beetle. Damage caused by the Common Furniture Beetle is by far the most common woodworm damage encountered. The beetles attack sapwood of softwood and European hardwoods. The attack is most severe in damp and fast grown timbers.

Deathwatch beetle

This beetle is a chocolate brown coloured insect with a variegated appearance due to the presence of patches of yellowish hairs. You are very likely to find the beetles during the emergence period – mid-March to end of June. Attacked wood is virtually always hardwood with some degree of decay, often by the white rot, Donkioporia expansa. Wood is usually oak. However, Deathwatch beetle will attack softwood if well rotted and in contact with infested hardwood. Deathwatch beetle is not usually found in Scotland or Northern Ireland.

Wood-boring Weevils The beetles are small and black in appearance. Wood-boring weevil damage is very common in damp skirting boards and embedded joist ends. Wood-boring weevils are effectively a secondary pest in that the real problem is the dampness/decay.

Powder Post beetle

A mid reddish brown beetle the damage it makes looks similar to Common Furniture Beetle damage, the holes being of similar size

House Longhorn beetle

A large beetle black to dark brown in colour with long antennae. This insect is VERY localised to the south-east of England, centred around the Camberley area. House Longhorn beetle can cause severe structural damage.