What is the SCLERODERMUS DOMESTICUS?
The SCLERODERMUS DOMESTICUS is a woodworm parasite, also known as woodworm ant, because of its appearance. It belongs to the order of the HYMENOPTERA. As adults, they grow to a modest size (2 to 4mm). Dark in colour, they have a narrow, elongated form, just visible to the naked eye. The SCLERODERMUS is the adversary of xylophagous insects, since the female tries to reach the interior of wooden objects through the flight holes, searching for the woodworm larvae which it paralyzes and poisons with the stinger on the upper part of its body. In this way the mite feeds on the hemolymph which emerges from the larva and lays its eggs on it. When the eggs hatch, the newborn larvae are also fed at the expense of the woodworm. While searching for the flight holes where they can reproduce, the SCLERODERMUS roam everywhere, infesting walls, fabrics, etc. and this can pose a hazard for human beings. Humans may be stung, especially at night, in the spring and summer months. The stings produce a painful burning sensation in various parts of the body. In these cases, after carrying out a technical survey, we can take direct action against these parasites with natural methods such as freeze disinfestation, i.e. a procedure using liquid nitrogen.
What does this system involve?
Freeze disinfestation is an ECOLOGICAL disinfestation technique based on the use of nitrogen, a naturally occurring gas which constitutes 79% of the Earth’s atmosphere. Nitrogen is brought from a gaseous to a liquid state so that it can be pressurized. In its liquid state, nitrogen reaches a temperature approaching -200°C, thus generating a thermal shock sufficient to kill these parasites, both larvae and eggs. Nitrogen, as an element present in the Earth’s atmosphere, has absolutely no harmful or detrimental effects on human beings.
CERAMBYCIDAE: the most well-known insect of this family is hylotrupes, more commonly called the ‘longhorn beetle’. It is the most dangerous woodworm found in domestic settings, since it favours a warm environment. Its longevity depends very much on the temperature, the humidity and the air; in certain rare instances it has been known to live for 17 years. The larvae dig deep tunnels and holes which may reach a diameter of 10mm in rare cases and they are capable of living inside the wood for up to 10 years, while the average size of the visible holes on wooden objects varies from 4 to 9mm. This is a voracious insect which attacks all types of wood, from the softest to the most resilient, including older wood. The danger should not be underestimated because when large tunnels are dug inside beams, the resulting structural weakness poses a risk of collapse. For this reason we advise thorough preventive measures, to avoid proliferation.
HOW TO RECOGNIZE IT.
Its length varies from 17 to 25mm, it is brown to black in colour, with long antennae of the same colour as the body, curved backwards. Its entire body is covered with a rich silvery down.
NB: they make distinctive sounds especially during the night and attack predominantly in very humid conditions. The attack takes place from outside to inside, where the beams meet the walls, at the dampest point.
LYCTINAE: wood-boring beetles of the LYCTINAE family have a preference for various types of wood, but mainly those that are soft, damp and rich in starch.
HOW TO RECOGNIZE THEM: There are two species in particular, LYCTUS LINEARIS and LYCTUS BRUNNEUS.
LYCTUS LINEARIS are yellowish brown to reddish brown, while LYCTUS BRUNNEUS are more uniform in colour, dark brown tending to reddish.
These LYCTINAE are smaller in size (3 to 8mm), thin and elongated, with a well-defined head and fairly long antennae. The life span of the male LYCTUS is about 2 months, and that of the female about 4 months.
LYCTINAE mainly infest parquets, door jambs, furniture and decorative wooden objects of every kind, while not sparing other objects.
LIFE CYCLE: Female LYCTINAE lay their eggs (20 to 60) in the cracks and fissures in wood, and when the eggs hatch the larvae begin to develop by eating into the wooden product, digging internal tunnels which, in the worst cases, may severely damage the structure. After 1-2 years the larvae approach the surface of the wood and turn into pupa; then after about 2-3 weeks they become adult wood-boring beetles ready to emerge by digging a hole of about 1-2mm, producing a very fine frass, similar to flour. The danger posed by these insects lies in the fact that their presence goes unnoticed until they produce external flight holes, by which time the damage has already been done.