A woodworm is one of the most dangerous pests for a house. It is not dangerous for human beings, but the harm that they do is massive when it comes to furniture and things. It is straightforward to spot them, when they are beetles, however, by this time they would have already done a lot of harm to the structure, so you need to know how to identify them and recognize their life cycle as this can help you fight them.
Although their life expectancy is very short, during their life, they go through different stages that really take a while. It is divided into four stages, first is the hatching of the egg, then feeding on their favourite food: wood with that emerging as a beetle, mating with others, and then laying more eggs.
The first stage in their development is eggs. Before laying the eggs, the female goes on a quest looking for where to lay her eggs. They are always looking for places that prove to be the safest and have favourable conditions for them to develop. Generally, they will be left in a piece of wood, timber with lots of cracks or just holes that have been previously dug up. If the normal conditions are met, then the eggs will hatch in around ten days.
This is the most difficult stage to achieve during their life cycle. Getting to the point where it can last up to 5 years when the conditions are not as favourable as they can be. When the eggs are laid in their natural environment, they can only take 1 year to grow. They are not going to see the light of day until they have reached their second stage. They usually measure up to 2 mm.
Meanwhile, in an occupied building or space, there are not enough conditions for them to grow. They aren’t as exposed to high-temperature levels, and humidity, so that is why they take longer. The worse conditions, the longer for them to transform into an adult beetle, so it is not so easy to spot them until they have fed on wood for a long time, leaving several little holes in the structure which can cause trouble in the future, and that is why they are so dangerous for homes and furniture.
In this stage, the woodworm will leave its original form and move on from larva to adult beetle. As they transform, they start digging bigger tunnels for them to have enough room for their future growth. These little tunnels are called “pupal chambers”.
Once they have transformed into a beetle, they start to push and move up to the surface of the timber, leaving it completely and continuing with their life cycle. Generally, when they do this, there is a bit of dust left behind, which can help you know if you have an infestation going on in your house, as the appearance of this is associated only to these bugs. This is called frass, which is basically the waste produced by the woodworm as it feeds through the wood.
The catch is that this is the only stage where you can identify the woodworm. After all the damage has already taken place, so sometimes it isn’t your fault, these bugs are difficult to find before they enter this stage.
After they have gone through all of this, they will start looking for a partner to mate. Male beetles’ only purpose is to mate, and they only have 3 or 4 days to do it, so they constantly move around to find their partner, but not only one, but with as many as they can. Conversely, the female beetles have another role, that is to lay their eggs and leave them in the best place possible to continue their life cycle.