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Latin name: Xestobium rufovillosum

Description :

Two species are found mainly inside buildings. The furniture beetle and the deathwatch beetle.

Adults of the common furniture beetle (2.5 to 5 mm) and deathwatch beetle (5-7 mm) have a
massive and globular body, and their head is hidden under the thorax.
The furniture beetle has an elongated shape and is chocolate brown with
punctuations on the wing covers (back), while the deathwatch beetle is stockier,
dark brown in color and  has yellowish tufts on the wing covers.
Its thorax has three pairs of legs.
The adults have wings and are attracted by the light

The larvae (5-7 mm for the furniture beetle and up to 11 mm for deathwatch beetle)
is curved, creamy white in  color and covered with hair.


The adults leave their burrows only for a short period during summer.
When the leave, they mate and they go back to their wood tunnels to lay eggs.
(20-40 eggs). The eggs are milky white and are 0.5 mm only.

The hatching of the larvae occurs four to five weeks after spawning. Once they hatch,
they drill disorderly corridors and pierce the timber everywhere. The larval stage of
the furniture beetle lasts for two to four years, and the deathwatch beetle’s lasts for three
to five years, depending on temperature and other factors. High humidity favors
a rapid development of the larvae. If environmental conditions
are not favorable, the larval stage can last up to 10 years.
It was established that the number of insects of the first generation is multiplied
tenfold in ten years.

Larvae prefer to dig in sapwood or tender spring wood because it gives them more nourishment.

The presence of larvae commonly called wood worms is recognized by the
appearance of sawdust coming out of small holes in wooden objects.
It should be noted that the damage in wood is caused mainly by the larvae.

This species is nicknamed Clock beetle or deathwatch beetle because of

the regular “tic-toc” sounds the female makes by hitting its head and chest

against the walls of the tunnels.
Damage to furniture, beams or antique wood can be considerable.
In case of massive infestation, wood can completely turn to dust.


Furniture beetles live in nature, but they really appreciate human buildings.
They specifically attack the timber (carpentry and flooring)
They also dig through furniture, works of art and libraries.
The furniture beetle shows a preference for wet wood but will dig in
hardwoods or softwoods just the same.
The deathwatch beetle can also develop in hardwood and softwood,
but unlike the furniture beetle, wet wood is essential to its
Moisture leads to the development of wood fungi in the wood, and nitrogen
produced by fungi as well as water provide the nutrients necessary to their
development. A minimum humidity of 22% is essential for the development
of fungi and, consequently, the development of the larvae. The temperature should
stay between 20 and 25 ° C.

Of course excessive moisture is very often related to water infiltration in buildings
(leaking roofs, piping leaks, masonry cracks, contact between cement and wood structure,
rising damp wood caused by bad or absent foundation drainage,
poor insulation from the ground, etc …).

The beetles seem to ignore tropical wood.


Since the beetles are attracted to damp wood, eliminate excess moisture
in the problematic parts. This moisture is often linked to water leaking
from the roof, pipes, cracks or water damage (storms, floods, etc).
To prevent infestations, you must check the condition of the wood, monitor
the appearance of the presence of signs (exit holes, feces, presence of adults
near windows)

Adults of furniture and deathwatch beetles bore circular exit holes in wood

Those of the furniture beetle are 1 to 3 mm wide, and those of the
deathwatch beetle are 2 to 4 mm. These holes are more or less localized and numerous.

It is also possible to confirm the presence of furniture beetle by observing (with a microscope)
characteristics feces. The excrement of the furniture beetle are very small,
cylindrical and elongated, while those of the deathwatch beetle are rounder,
bigger and resemble tiny lenses.

These infestations are severe and can seriously damage homes
and furniture. Treatments can be applied in the house but should
be administered by specialists to ensure that all sources of
infestation are treated properly.

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