Wordworm is also known as the common furniture beetle or common house borer.
The wood-boring beetle family includes many varieties and their larvae can be difficult to distinguish from each other. They are all pale and curved, with very small legs. The adult common furniture beetle is brownish, its body shape is oblong and almost cylindrical, and its prothorax is often arched, often almost concealing the head.
The adult common furniture beetle primarily appears during the summer, when it gnaws through any wood it meets, producing round holes. You can see it on the wood as a dusty covering. The adult common furniture beetle only lives for 2 weeks, but it can fly, which is why it is often mistaken for a small fly. After hatching, the beetle mates and the female can then lay up to 50 eggs.
5 quick questions about common furniture beetles
The common furniture beetle is 2.5 to 4.5 mm in length. The common furniture beetle larvae can reach lengths of to 5 mm.
Frost kills a number of pests, including the common furniture beetle and its larvae. If you find them in furniture, these can be treated with remedies from your local DIY store, or you can stand the furniture outside in freezing temperatures. If you find them in buildings that are just being constructed, you will need to bring in professionals to take care of the problem.
Petroleum is highly flammable, especially after it has been applied to the wood. The evaporation process makes it extremely flammable and it ignites very easily. For these reasons alone, we do not recommend that you use this method.
A normal household insurance policy does not cover common furniture beetle infestations.
An infestation of common furniture beetles is not uncommon. It is larvae of the common furniture beetle that gnaw and eat the wood dust. They then pupate and grow into adult beetles that can breed.
Eggs from common furniture beetles
Eggs from common furniture beetles are often laid in cracks, flooring planks or in the rafters, but never on smooth surfaces. They are often laid in their old holes and after about 4 weeks, the eggs hatch and the small larvae then begin to gnaw their way into the wood.
Survival of the common furniture beetle
Common furniture beetles cannot wander from home to home, because as the larvae grow larger, they cannot exit the wood. Common furniture beetles thrive in temperatures around 22-23 degrees Celsius, but can also live in lower temperatures and can, therefore, also be found in outdoor woodwork. Common furniture beetles thrive in 30% humidity, but if it drops below 11-12%, they stop evolving.
Prevention and common furniture beetle control
In order to prevent common furniture beetle infestations, wood preservatives approved for the purpose can be used, and even sprayed into already existing holes from the beetles.
Since the common furniture beetle larvae thrive in moderately high humidity, they do not thrive in dry, well-ventilated homes.
Common furniture beetles are sensitive to temperatures and are almost inactive in temperatures below 14 degrees and above 28 degrees Celsius. They cannot survive temperatures below -18 degrees or above 55 degrees Celsius.
If woodwork in a cellar has been infested by common furniture beetles, this can be a more serious problem, because common furniture beetles spread. If you start treating it using insecticides, you need to ensure that you treat all visible parts of the woodwork to prevent the beetles from searching for new places to hide. Very effective means do exist, but it is important that they are used correctly.