Get Rid of Deathwatch Beetles - Western Fumigation

Facts About Deathwatch Beetles

All the information about deathwatch beetles you need.

Adult deathwatch beetles, Xestobium rufovillosum (Coleoptera: Anobiidae) are brown, hairy, and cylindrical as adults, with an odd shape to the plate covering the head (called the pronotum or prothorax). It is a small beetle, measuring around 5-9 mm in length. Deathwatch beetle larvae are small, pinkish-white grubs measuring up to 11mm in length. The male deathwatch beetle attracts its mate by bumping its head or jaws against wood, making a tapping noise. The noise, which attracts the females, is often only heard when the house is quiet since activity can scarethe beetles back into hiding. But once quiet, you just might hear that tapping sound. They derived their name from this behavior during olden times. People that were assigned to watch over the sick would hear the tapping since they kept the house quiet for the sick person under their care.

Female deathwatch beetles lay their eggs in holes and crevices in wood which the hatched larvae then feed on. The larval stage may last for between one and 13 years depending on the temperatures in the house. During every year of larval development, the larvae are actively tunnelling and boring through the wood. It’s only the larvae that live within the wood, and they emerge as adults leaving a 3-4 mm hole in the wood behind them.

How Did I get deathwatch beetles

Deathwatch beetles favor dead wood habitats in buildings and old trees. They also prefer oakwood. So, if you have any of that as part of your building’s construction, you have what deathwatch beetles are attracted to. The best time to see the deathwatch beetle is between March and June when the adults are active. They have wings but are not great flyers so look out for them walking on or around dead wood instead. Listen for the signature tapping noise that adult males make. They often stay hidden under the floorboards or in the rafters, so you may hear the distinct sound there.

What Problems Do deathwatch beetles Cause

Deathwatch beetles are considered an economic pest due to their penchant for chewing up wood. They have been known to tunnel and bore through the wood in buildings, causing damage to floors, beams, and furniture. Since the larvae can chew for upwards of 10-13 years, the inside of your nice furniture or oak beam construction can become like Swiss cheese. That weakens the wood’s structural integrity and can ruin it.

HOW do i get rid of deathwatch beetles

Because the larvae live inside wood, traditional pest control methods won’t work well. Only fumigants can seep inside wood, killing the deathwatch beetles no matter what stage of life they’re currently at. Having a professional inspect any furniture you’re bringing in or any lumber you’re looking to use for construction is highly recommended. An expert can look for the signs of deathwatch beetles and help make sure you’re not inadvertently bringing these pests inside your home or business. But if you hear a tapping, then fumigation is usually your best – if not only – solution.
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