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The WoodWorm

The WoodWorm

Woodworms are insects that feed on wood and, more specifically, cellulose and belong to the order of Coleoptera. The woodworm’s mouthparts can chew through most types of wood used by humans both in construction, and for artistic purposes.

For this reason, the woodworm is also known as the common furniture beetle. The most common woodworm families are Anobiidae, Lyctinae, and Cerambycidae. Among these, the most common species in Italy are:

  • Anobiidae family: “Anobium Puntactum” (furniture beetle), and the “Xestobium Rufovillosum” (death watch beetle),
  • Lyctinae family: “Lyctus brunneus” (powder post beetle)
  • Cerambycidae: “Hylotrupes bajulus” (European house borer).

The WoodWorm Lifecycle

The complete metamorphosis of woodworm involves three stages: the egg laid by the adult on the wood to be infested; the larva that uses its mouthparts to eat the wood, sometimes causing substantial structural / aesthetic damage, and the adult, that does not cause any damage directly, but completes the work of the larva, leaving the infested site by exit holes.

The most common signs of infestation by woodworm are the presence of holes in the wood, the presence sawdust that has an appearance dependent on the type of insect, and, usually, the appearance of adult exit holes.


Commonly fought with chemical control methods, these insects are very difficult to remove because they live in the wood and therefore achieving direct contact is a very complicated operation.

For liquid insecticides, penetrative power is reduced considerably due to the fact that wood is a material that is hydrophobic and does not absorb water.

This considerably limits the power of water-based insecticides, not to mention the powders and other solid forms in which the active ingredients are usually conveyed.

To definitively resolve the problem of woodworm, be it in wood beams or furniture, our company is pleased to introduce a new, innovative, and ecological system: “heat extermination”.

Using sophisticated electrically-powered heaters, we can apply the heat to specific points. This ensures the temperature of the areas under treatment reach between 50° and 60° (approx.) and remains constant for the time necessary to ensure total death of any pest regardless of its lifecycle stage (egg, larva, pupa, or adult).

The time required for the various treatments varies from 24 to about 48 hours. The insects are killed due to the denaturing of proteins.

Fully-grown females and males of the woodworm come out of the tunnels for mating and the female comes to the woody surface for laying the eggs into some little hole or at the entrance to the tunnels and, while the newborn larvae penetrate into the tunnels, the fully-grown woodworms are short-lived.

Between the various breeds the widespread are:

  • Anobidi: anobium punctatum, xestobium rufovillosum
  • Cerambycidae: hylotrupes bajulus, callidium violaceum
  • Lictidi: lyctus brunneus, lyctus linearis

Between these, four are the more Common breeds

Anobium puntactum, or domestic Woodworm. It is the most widespread in Italy, the fully-grown measures 5 mm and it is very little, difficult to identify; the period of emerging from the pupal case ranges from June to August.

The female of the woodworm lays into little holes or imperfections of the wood 20-60 eggs, and this stadium persists 15-60 days, depending on the temperature more or less right.

The larval stadium, for the domestic woodworm, persists about 3 years, the pupal stadium 20-30 days and at the end of the during of the life of a fully-grown Woodworm is about of 20-30 days.

This Woodworm attach both soft and hard woods; the larva can feed of any material thanks to particular enzymes present in its bowels, but they prefer nut-wood, oak and beechwood, seasoned woods and also with the presence of Mildews.

Hylotrupes bajulus – Capricorn or “Woodworm of the houses”. The fully-grown Woodworm is 1,5-2cm long with two probes of about 1cm, it is endowed of wings that allow of doing long flies and, shifting it attaches and infests other sites but without attaching the surface of the wood and unlikeness other breeds of Woodworms, the holes are seen after the first generation, but it can be localized from the noises of its strong jaws.

The emerging from the pupal case period happens from June to August and he female of this Woodworm lays 100-200 eggs and, according to the temperature, the eggs remain at this stadium 6-48 days.

The larva of this breed of Woodworm is white, increase to 4cm, with the front larger, two dark jaws with which it shapes some holes of 6-8mm. altogether the stadium of larva-pupa is very long: of 3-11 years, the transformation from larva to pupa happens to the external of the hole, and when it becomes a fully-grown Woodworm comes out opening the last remaining thin membrane; the life of a fully-grown Woodworm is of only 2-3 weeks and it happens in the wood just like the mating.

The woodworm of the houses, prefers soft woods, dry and resinous and in fact it is a great risk because it attaches the wood that is used for the framework of the roofs of our house, it attaches the roof timbers and the garrets just like the one of the woodworks and the last also the furniture.

Lycteus brunneus. This breed of Woodworm has a flatted body, brown-red colour with probes oriented forward. The fully-grown Woodworm reaches a length of 4mm and it is a Woodworm that flies, so we can see it frequently tied on the walls of our house.

The period of emerging from the pupal case starts between April and May and July and August, and in agreeable climatic conditions, the reproductive cycle lasts about 1 year: the female lays 50-60 eggs with the particularly lengthened shape, they are laid good hidden into the wood, inside the flowerpots that rise to the surface of the wood, and with a temperature of 20-23°C, they break open after 8 days.

The larva stadium lasts 6-12 months, the Woodworm that has become fully-grown opens a circular hole of 1-1,5mm and its life of fully-grown Woodworm changes of 3-6 weeks.

This Woodworm can be considered a complete professional in its job: it ever starts from the bottom, from the wooden floor or Parquet, it lasts on the shutters and frames, doors, furniture, to the beams. An element that facilitates the attach of this breed of Woodworm are the sticks where is present the starch that today is used a lot, just for example the nut-wood, the chestnut, cherry-tree, maple-wood, olive wood, hazel, oak and above all the endosperm of this last one, but also in the tropical thicks that are began of large use.

The infestation of this Woodworm Lycteus brunneus in Italy is one of the more damaging because we can recognize the infestation when at this point the wood is infected and reduced to nothing, pure flour. Therefore the most effective system is the prevention against the attach of this Woodworm.

Xestobium rufovillosum. Woodworm of the family of Anobidi, the fully-grown has got a length of 3-4mm. The female lays 40-60 eggs that breaks open according to the temperature after 15-50 days.

While the larval life can endure from 1 to 10 years,, the stadium of pupa is short as the life of the fully-grown, only 20-25 days.

The months of emerging from the pupal case of the fully-grown Woodworm are April and May, besides this Woodworm has a preference for the hard thick as shutters and frames, woody frameworks etc. with the presence of modifications caused by Mildews.

The infestation of Woodworms in our houses is carried by the constant temperatures during all the year of 18-20°C that permits the birth of many generations for all the year.

When the infestation of Woodworms is just started we can intervene closing every hole and injecting some particular liquid.

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  • Company name: DW FORCE SOLUTION Ltd.
  • Address: Kemp House, 160 City Road, London EC1V 2NX
  • Phone: 0333 3355430
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