Wood Borer

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Wood Borer

The term 'woodworm' is used for the larval or "worm" stage of the insect's' life, during which they bore into and eat wood, and it describes a number of species of wood-boring beetles that attack wood.

The threat from wood borers is most severe when they attack timber in buildings. Over time, timber is weakened and can lead to the collapse of the building. Wood boring insects are also found in wooden furniture and décor items.

The lifecycle of wood borers

There are four stages of wood borer development:

  • Egg - adult beetles will lay their eggs in cracks in wooden objects, floorboards and timbers.

  • Larvae - when larvae hatch they immediately burrow through the timber, making it very unlikely they would be seen. They’ll be hungry and your woodwork will be their only food source. Here is where they will continue to tunnel and feed for several years.

  • Pupa - as the larvae mature and increase in size, they bore towards the wood surface to pupate and emerge as adult beetles.

  • Adult beetle - their lifecycle is around 3 to 4 years.


Professional pest fumigation treatments to keep your environment pest-free and compliant with health and safety regulations.

How to identify the signs of wood borer

Many wood borer infestations go undetected for years, by which time the damage can be widespread and severe. It is important to act swiftly if you are concerned that you may have a wood borer problem.

  • Eggs: these vary in size depending on the beetle, but all are difficult to spot with the naked eye.
  • Wood borer larvae: usually a creamy-white colour and curved in shape. Fresh exit holes in timber: round or oval shaped with sharp edges. The holes will appear clean and fresh.
  • Adult beetles: emerge from timbers between May and October.
  • Tunnels in the wood: also known as 'galleries' which are often hard to see.
  • Bore dust (also known as frass): caused by emerging adult beetles, and are usually visible below the infested timber.
  • Floorboards that are weak and damaged: in serious instances, a foot or chair leg going through the floor can indicate a more serious problem.
  • Crumbling wood: around corners or edges to roof joists or floorboards.
  • Dead beetles: usually found near the infested timber or around nearby window sills.

Did you know?

Different woodworm insects prefer different woods, which will help you to identify what type of insect is causing your problems. Some prefer softwoods like pine, spruce and cedar while others like hardwoods such as eucalypt, oak, ash, and mahogany. All wood borer species leave behind some signs if you have an active wood borer infestation.

Professional wood borer treatment

If left untreated, wood borers can severely deteriorate timber which may lead to the structural failure of timber.

You can rely on Rentokil to implement an expert wood borer control solution to get rid of wood borers and the damage they cause:

  • 1 - Our professional surveyors will conduct a thorough inspection to assess the extent of any woodworm problem and the type of wood borer involved.

  • 2 - Based on this evaluation they will then recommend an appropriate wood borer control treatment.

  • 3 - Fumigation will be performed to get rid of wood borers. All wood borer treatments are designed to disrupt at least one of the lifecycle stages of the beetles. Ours target the young larvae buried in the timber.

  • 4 - With a lifecycle of between 3 to 4 years, there may still be some beetles that reach adulthood and emerge from the timber after treatment. This is known as 'post treatment emergence'. Any eggs that these ‘post treatment emergence’ beetles leave in cracks, crevices or old flight holes of the treated timbers will not survive, which means that the wood borer life cycle will have been broken.

If you have noticed the above signs of wood borer infestation, contact the Rentokil experts for an expert solution to get rid of wood borers on your premises.

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