The Woodworm Lifecycle
To correctly identify a potential woodworm issue it is wise to fully understand the lifecycle of the Common Furniture beetle. As we’ve learned, woodworm are actually, more often than not, the larvae of a wood boring beetle – the Common Furniture beetle. This means that the majority of the damage to wood is caused by the juvenile beetles happily eating away on the inside of timbers away from prying eyes.
Woodworm have a life cycle between 2 to 5 years in which the larvae will have hatched, eaten enough to emerge as beetles, mated, laid more eggs and then died. Only part of this lifecycle is evident to the human eye, so knowing this cycle will help to diagnose a problem.
The female woodworm enters the timber through natural cracks, crevices or previous woodworm holes in the surface. In which, she will lay her eggs where they will be protected.
A few weeks later the eggs will hatch into larvae where it will begin its life of eating and weakening the wood for up to 5 years. At this stage you may be able to see the waste product of this larvae, called “frass” underneath any infected wood.
Once the larvae has consumed enough of the nutrients in the wood it will make its way to the surface and create a pupal chamber. This is where it develops into an adult beetle and bore its way out of the surface. This is the only stage where we can identify the presence of woodworm – unfortunately after the damage has been done.
Closing The Cycle
The male beetles live for 3 to 4 days with the sole purpose of mating, whereas the female beetles live for 10-14 days ready to begin the cycle again. Although the infected timber will not be damaged any further from this point.