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What Does Woodworm Look Like


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The unfortunate thing about woodworm is that the signs of the infestation, the exit holes and the wood dust, are only visible after the damage has been done.

In a lifecycle of the woodworm, beetles lay eggs in the surface on the damp wood. Then larvae of the woodworm beetle emerge and start digesting the timber; growing, feeding and damaging the structure. Finally, they turn into an adult beetle and exit the timber leaving behind multiple 1-3mm holes and wood dust mixed with excrements called ‘frass’. By that time the wooden core of your house is already burrowed through and through, and adult beetles are laying new eggs to repeat the cycle.

So what can you do to identify the woodworm before it’s too late?

It’s good to know that the standard construction timber is too dry for the woodworm to infest. Wood-burrowing insects thrive in damp and humid conditions often coinciding with a developing Rot. Therefore, if your house is damp and you sense heightening levels of moisture; if you have not repaired leaks and problem with your gutters, it is important that you get your house checked for the presence of woodworm. You can request a free survey on your property. Our specialists will identify the presence of any wood-burrowing insects, advise the best Woodworm Treatment and fix the underlying causes of dampness.

Spotting Woodworm, Larvae and Beetles

We have over 15 years of experience identifying and treating woodworm infestations in the region of Dumfries and Galloway. We provide our services in area of Moffat, Lockerbie, Dumfries, Annan, Castle Douglas, Thornhil, Gretna and Langholm, and even as far as Carlisle and Glasgow

01Spotting Woodworm, Larvae and Beetles

Spotting a woodworm is rather difficult as they spent a large part of their life burrowing through wood in their larval form. It is much easier to spot the multiple exit holes and the wood-dust-like excrements (frass) which they leave behind. In fact, the size of the holes and the structure of frass are helpful to discern between various species of woodworm and apply the appropriate treatment. Adult woodworms emerge from wood for their mating season so you are most likely to spot them between March and September. Most of them won’t feed on the wood anymore but rather fly to the sources of light and crawl on the window sills, preoccupied with their new main objective, to find a mate.

What Does Woodworm Look Like

Not sure if you have a woodworm infestation? Check the Types of Woodworm below to see if you recognise any insects you might have spotted! But remember, most of the times the woodworm will not be visible until it’s too late. When in doubt, ask professional help. Our team of Specialists will happily survey your home for all signs of woodworm and any potential damage they might have caused.  

(Anobium Punctatum) Common Furniture Beetle

What does it look like?
  • Small, dark, reddish.
  • 3mm – 5mm in length.fg
  • Regular lines running down its wings.
  • This common furniture beetle is by far the most common cause of damage encountered. Its specialty is sapwood of softwood and European hardwoods.
Signs of infection
  • Round holes approximately 1.5 ­ 2mm in diameter.
  • Small piles of frass seen within tunnels or on surfaces.
  • Frass will have a gritty texture.

(Xestobium rufovillosum) Deathwatch Beetle

What does it look like?
  • Chocolate brown in colour.
  • 8mm in length.
  • Patches of yellowish hairs.
  • The Deathwatch beetle usually attacks oak, however it will attack Softwood if well­rotted and in contact with infested hardwood.
Signs of infection
  • Round holes about 3mm diameter.
  • Extensive tunnelling.
  • Lots of frass usually present; frass is ‘bun’ shaped, readily visible to the naked eye.

(Euophryum confine and Pentarthrum huttoni) Wood­boring Weevils

What does it look like?
  • Small, brown and black.
  • Up to 5mm in length.
  • Distinctive long snout.
  • Antennae one third distance along
  • Wood­boring Weevils attack both softwoods and hardwoods which have previously been subject to decay.
  • Destruction is most commonly seen in damp skirting boards and embedded joist ends.
Signs of infection
  • Tunnelling in sapwood tends to run along the grain.
  • Tunnels are narrow, around 1mm diameter.
  • Frass is likely to be ‘sticky’ due to the dampness.

(Lyctus brunneus) Powder Post beetle

What does it look like?
  • A mid reddish brown.
  • 8 – 9mm in length.
  • Flattened in shape.
  • The powder post beetle unlike other beetles infest timber prior to its arrival in your home. Its arrival in the timber usually occurs when it’s being stored and cured and will later emerge from the finished product. The powder post beetle only attacks sapwood of wide ported hardwoods such as oak and obeche. The timber must be of recent origin, less than 15 years old and therefore is most likely to be seen in newly introduced hardwoods such as oak flooring or oak kitchen units.
Signs of infection
  • Round holes 1.5 – 2mm.
  • Usually lots of flour­like frass – smooth when rubbed.
  • Live insects may be found around break­out holes.

(Hylotrupes bajulus) House Longhorn Beetle

What does it look like?
  • Larger than most woodworm beetles at
  • 15 – 20mm in length.
  • Black to dark brown.
  • Long antennae.
  • Grey hairs prominent on wing covers.
  • This insect is specifically localised to the south­east of England, centred around Camberley. The House Longhorn beetle attacks the sapwood of softwood and can potentially cause severe structural damage to properties..
Signs of infection
  • Oval emergence holes, 6­8mm across.
  • Severe internal damage, often filled with loose frass.
  • The surface of wood often remains thin and brittle when subject to a severe attack.