Definitions

woodboring

Woodboring beetle

The term woodboring beetle encompasses many species and families of beetles whose larval or adult forms eat and destroy wood (i.e., are xylophagous). Larval stages of some are commonly known as woodworms.

Invasion and control

Woodboring beetles are commonly detected a few years after new construction. The lumber supply may have contained wood infected with beetle eggs or larvae, and since beetle life cycles can be one or more years, several years may pass before the presence of beetles becomes noticeable. If you have an infestation of woodboring beetles, it is best to consult a professional entomologist before contacting an exterminator. In many cases, the beetles will be of a type that only attacks living wood, and thus incapable of "infesting" any other pieces of wood, or doing any further damage. In other words, only some types of beetles should be of concern to a homeowner (see list below), and exterminators may be unable or unwilling to make this distinction. Consulting an entomologist can therefore potentially save a great deal of worry and expense.

Genuine infestations are far more likely in areas with high humidity, such as poorly-ventilated crawl spaces. Housing with central heating/air-conditioning tends to cut the humidity of wood in the living areas to less than half of natural humidity, thus strongly reducing the likelihood of an infestation. Infested furniture should be removed from the house before the infestation spreads.

Methods of treatment include:

  • Spot application of pesticides; however, most effective insecticides are obtainable only by certified professionals.
  • Freezing. Infested furniture may be wrapped in plastic and placed in walk-in freezers for several weeks.
  • Fumigation.

Home-invading woodboring beetles

Some beetles invade wood used in construction and furniture making; others limit their activity to forests or roots of living trees. The following lists those beetles that are house pests.

See also

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