Damp and Timber Specialists for 50 years

Woodworm – every homeowner’s nightmare. These tiny pests survive by slowly tunnelling through the timber in your home, leaving holes that cause the wood to chip, crumble, or even collapse entirely. The result? Major, time-consuming repairs that can burn a serious hole in your pocket.

The sooner you get rid of woodworm, the less damage they’ll do and the heavier your wallet will stay. Knowing which type of woodworm you’re dealing with is a big part of this – different types of woodworm can cause more or less trouble than others, and some might need different treatments to get rid of them for good.

The specialists at Prokil have been battling woodworm for over 50 years, making us experts at identifying all the different types out there. Read on for our visual guide to the most common woodworm species to watch out for!

What is woodworm?

Despite the name, woodworm has nothing to do with worms – it’s a general term for the larvae of various wood-boring beetles. These beetles infest wooden items, like furniture and structural timbers, by laying eggs on or just under the surface of the wood. The larvae then hatch and burrow through the wood, feeding on the cellulose.

Woodworm infestations can cause major damage to wooden furniture, floors, and other structural timbers. If you suspect that you have a woodworm problem in your home, you should have the infestation treated as soon as possible.

What are the most common woodworm species in the UK?

While there’s no single species classification for woodworm, it’s estimated that around 300 different species are known to infest indoor woodwork.

In the UK, the vast majority of cases are caused by one of seven common species. You can find detailed information about each of these seven species, along with pictures, below.

1. Common furniture beetle (Anobium punctatum)

Anobium punctatum (Geer, 1774)

Anobium punctatum (Geer, 1774)” by Udo Schmidt, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Size: 3-5mm long
Colour: Dark brown
Targets: Hardwood furniture, flooring, and beams (particularly those made of oak, beech, and birch)
Signs of infestation: Tiny round flight holes, and fine, powdery dust

2. Powderpost beetle (Lyctus brunneus)

Lyctus brunneus

Lyctus brunneus” by Sarefo, licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Size: 3-5mm long
Colour: Reddish-brown
Targets: Softwood (particularly sapwood of pine, spruce, and fir) in lofts, roof timbers, and skirting boards
Signs of infestation: Small, round exit holes, and coarse, wood dust

3. House longhorn beetle (Trichoferus holosericeus)

Trichoferus holosericeus

Trichoferus holosericeus” by Joan Carles Hinojosa Galisteo, licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Size: 10-25mm long
Colour: Dark brown or black, with long antennae
Targets: Damp or decaying softwood (particularly pine and spruce) in lofts, roof timbers, and floorboards
Signs of infestation: Large, oval-shaped exit holes, and coarse sawdust around the holes

4. Deathwatch beetle (Xestobium rufovillosum)

Xestobium rufovillosum (Geer, 1774)

Xestobium rufovillosum (Geer, 1774)” by Udo Schmidt, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Size: 7-10mm long
Colour: Dark brown with a reddish tinge
Targets: Hardwood (particularly oak) in structural timbers, furniture, and flooring
Signs of infestation: Regularly tapped drumming sounds, and large, oval-shaped exit holes with distinctive, pellet-like droppings

5. Ship-timber beetle (Lymexylonidae)

Lymexylon navale (Linné, 1758) Female

Lymexylon navale (Linné, 1758) Female” by Udo Schmidt, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Size: Varies depending on species
Colour: Varies depending on species
Targets: Hardwood (particularly oak, ash, and elm) in furniture, flooring, and beams
Signs of infestation: Tiny round exit holes, and fine, powdery dust

6. Wharf borer beetle (Nacerdes melanura)

Nacerdes melanura (Linné, 1758)

Nacerdes melanura (Linné, 1758)” by Udo Schmidt, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Size: 3-5mm long
Colour: Dark brown
Targets: Damp or decaying softwood in basements, cellars, and outbuildings (particularly those that have been flooded)
Signs of infestation: Tiny round flight holes, and fine, powdery dust

7. Pinhole borer beetle (Platypus cylindrus)

Platypus cylindrus (Fabricius, 1792)

Platypus cylindrus (Fabricius, 1792)” by Udo Schmidt, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Size: 1-2mm long
Colour: Black or brown
Targets: Seasoned hardwoods (beech, oak, and ash) used in furniture making and wood crafts
Signs of infestation: Small, pin-sized exit holes and bore dust

Protect your home with Prokil’s expert woodworm treatments

Worried about those tiny holes in your wood? This guide might have helped you narrow down the culprit, but don’t worry if you’re still not sure – Prokil’s experts are here to help!

We can visit your home to perform a full survey of your timber, using our tools and expertise to identify the exact type of woodworm and how widespread it is. We’ll then eliminate every trace of the infestation to stop them from causing more damage, replace any affected wood, and take steps to prevent them from coming back. No matter the type of infestation you’re dealing with, you can trust us to provide long-lasting peace of mind.

Our services cover most of the South, including London, Surrey, Dorset, and further afield. If you’re ready to get started, book a survey online or give us a call on 0800 048 9488 today!

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