Pest Control News

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Death Watch Beetles

Death Watch Beetles

The Death Watch Beetle is not as scary as it sounds. It is believed that the name originated from these beetles commonly being found in churches and hospitals years ago. Although superstitious people believed it was because they were an ‘ill omen’ it was more likely due to the construction of buildings years ago. More specifically the wood used in these buildings. The Death Watch Beetle is a wood boring beetle and can be placed under the umbrella term ‘woodworm’. This is due to their boring tunnels in wooden structures as they eat. 

Death Watch Beetles are native to the United Kingdom and are most likely to be found in hardwood- building timbers or furniture. They are not partial to softwood furnishings which is lucky really as most newly built houses use softwood in the structure. The adult beetles are around 7mm in size and a mottled brownish grey in colour. They are able to fly but do not tend to.

These seasonal pests will start to make an appearance between the months of April and September as the weather begins to warm up. They make their appearance for one reason only, to mate. In order to attract a mate, they will bang their heads against the wooden structure to make a tapping or clicking sound. Once they have found a mate, they will search for a suitable location to lay their eggs. This location must have a decent level of moisture to ensure their eggs survive as well as somewhere where their eggs will not be disturbed. The female can lay up to 70 eggs at a time. When the eggs hatch, the grubs tunnel down in to the wood structure to feed. Interestingly, grubs can live up to 10 years inside the timber, it is after this they will emerge as grown beetles in search for a mate. 

Any signs of the Death Beetle are similar to those of the woodworm. The tunnels created by the grubs will create holes visible in the surface of the wood and the production of frass (digested wood sawdust) will be a tell-tale sign that you have an active infestation. Don’t forget to listen out for the tapping too, another sure sign that you have an active infestation. 

If you think you may have a Death Beetle infestation, we strongly recommend that you give a professional pest controller a call. We will be able to offer you advice and best course of treatment to rid you of these pests and make sure that they do not come back!