Facts, Identification & Control
The common furniture beetle goes through complete metamorphosis, meaning this insect has an egg, larval (worm-like) pupal and adult stage. Its life cycle is completed in about one to three years, depending on environmental conditions. Adult beetles are about ¼ inch long, oval in shape, reddish-brown or darker in color. The furniture beetle’s head is not visible when viewed from above, and adults do not consume wood. The larval stage of this beetle looks like a small grub. It is about ¼ inch long when mature and is whitish colored. The larval stage does the damage to the wood. In many parts of the U.S. and international locations, the common furniture beetle is called the woodworm.
Behavior, Diet & Habits
The furniture beetle infests both seasoned hardwoods and softwoods that are generally 10 years or older. The presence of the common furniture beetle is recognized by small, 1/8-inch diameter holes that are surrounded by fine powder-like “sawdust” called frass. The larvae feeding on the interior of the wood create the frass; the holes are caused by the adults chewing through the wood’s surface to emerge from inside the wood and mate. While the common furniture beetle frequently infests wood furniture, it may also infest damp wood in crawl spaces, flooring, wood siding and other moist areas of the home.
Properly resolving a wood damaging insect problem is challenging and involves recognizing the many factors that must be considered when putting together the control program. One of the first challenges is to correctly identify the insects causing the damage. Identification rarely is simple and will depend on recognizing the appearance of the insect, plus knowing the age, species and moisture content of the infested wood. Knowing the species of insect provides insight into the insect’s habits and behaviors that are crucial in developing control techniques that will work. Therefore, it is always wise to seek the advice and recommendations of an experienced pest management professional rather than employ “self-help” measures.