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The lifecycle of woodworm

21st May 2017

Categories  Woodworm

Woodworm is a generic term given to describe the larvae phase of woodworm boring beetles. These larvae typically appear between the months of April and October and can be found in any property that has exposed timber.

Woodworm is a very common problem, many houses are built using timber, sometimes up to 70% of the fabric of a property is timber, making them the perfect home for woodworm. Most woodworm treatments we undertake here at ProTen Sevices are in the summer months as this is when the woodworm larvae are at their most destructive.

There are four stages to a woodworm’s lifecycle, starting from when they burrow into the wood to lay their eggs, through to the journey the larvae take back to the surface.

Stage one – Laying eggs

The woodworm’s lifecycle begins when the female, adult woodworm penetrates the timber through small cracks, holes or crevices (often created by other woodworm) it is here she lays her eggs.  By laying her eggs inside the wood she protects them whilst they develop and eventually hatch.

Stage two – Larvae

After a short incubation period of around two weeks, the eggs will begin to hatch into woodworm larvae. These larvae now begin their 2 to 5-year journey inside the wood before they eventually break through the surface into daylight.

Woodworm larvae are very small, measuring in at roughly 2mm in length, but don’t be fooled by their size, larvae will begin eating their way through your timber immediately and eventually weaken the structure of the wood/ timber in your property. It is at this stage that a dust like substance, known as frass, can be seen. Frass is the waste product the woodworm produce as they bore through the wood.

If you think you can see frass then contact an expert as it’s likely to be a woodworm infestation.

Stage three – Pupate

Between the ages of two and five the woodworm larvae will pupate. This is when the larvae begin to move towards the surface of the wood and create a pupal chamber around themselves, where they develop into adult beetles. Once fully formed the beetle will then eat its way through the final layer of wood creating the classic exit hole we so commonly associate with woodworm. It is only at this stage we notice the presence of the beetles meaning, unfortunately the damage to the timber has already been done.

Stage four – Find a mate

Once the beetle has exited the wood its sole purpose is to mate and lay more eggs, the good news here is that this woodworm will cause no further damage to the timber. The beetle’s lifespan once out in the open is relatively short, 10-14 days for a female and between 3-4 for a male. Once they have successfully mated the cycle starts again.

If you’re concerned about woodworm contact our team today to book in a treatment before more damage can be done to your timber.

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