The woodworm is a xylophagous insect. xylo = wood, phagous = eater. In the three stages of its lifecycle: egg, larva, adult wood-boring beetle, it is capable of inflicting severe and irreparable damage on wooden objects. Find out how to recognize it!
Woodworm are xylophagous insects, belonging to the family of the Coleopterans, the largest order of living organisms on the planet. There are believed to be more than 350,000 species in existence and perhaps many more still unknown. Their impact on the human economy can be devastating, because they damage crops, foodstuffs, or wooden objects as in the case of woodworm, where the lack of prevention or measures to preserve the structure lead to its deterioration and the resulting damage may have both financial and safety implications for those who live side by side with the structure.
There are various species which live inside wood and are responsible for weakening it, of which the three most widespread, which we will try to become more familiar with, are: ANOBIIDAE, LYCTINAE , CERAMBYCIDAE.
ANOBIUM PUNCTATUM: the so-called common furniture beetle, is one of the most harmful types of woodworm in the home environment, capable of infesting in large numbers beams, furniture, parquets, picture frames, wooden statues and other wooden objects. Infestation of beams causes weakening of the supporting structure.
Woodworm are called xylophagous (xylo = wood, phagous = eater) precisely because they feed on wood pulp, in particular it is the larva of the woodworm which feeds on the cellulose and starch inside the wood and, as it grows, also on the lignin.
HOW TO RECOGNIZE THEM. Dark brown, with a yellowish down on the body and wings, their length varies from 2 to 5mm; the head is concealed by a hood similar to that of a monk, black in colour, their antennae are separated at the base and of variable size and length.
LIFE CYCLE. Feminine specimens lay their eggs (20 to 60) inside the tunnels that they dig. The eggs hatch within a period of two to five weeks. Afterwards the newborn larvae penetrate the wood by digging further tunnels inside the wood, where they remain until metamorphosis. Feeding on cellulose and starch, they produce excrement. The incubation period inside the wood may last up to four years. When the larvae reach adulthood they emerge from the wood as beetles, in the spring and summer months, thus producing the well-known flight holes of a diameter up to 5-6mm in the case of the longhorn beetle, the largest species. Favourable conditions, such as warmth and humidity, allow them to live in a domestic setting. Their presence is most noticeable in the spring and summer months, because the adult beetle emerges from the wood in order to reproduce, laying more eggs, creating further risks for the future.
NB: Their existence is revealed by the presence of the so-called flight holes, frass and powder underneath the object in question. Moreover, the woodworm can be detected by listening to them gnawing the wood during the hours of darkness. If we ignore these signs, we ignore the risks that these insects can create.
A further problem is the danger to human health, because the presence of woodworm may bring with it the woodworm mite, or SCLERODERMUS DOMESTICUS, which settles on furniture, knitted and woven fabrics, and especially mattresses.
Woodworm emergency service. Here’s how to eliminate them definitively!