Cowderoy Antiques

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What is Woodworm?

September 15, 2015 << Back

Woodworm is the name given to a number of wood boring beetles but especially the common furniture beetle.
The adult beetles make the typical round holes, but that’s not them going in. Those are exit holes.
Woodworm prefer softwoods so are seldom found in the  antiques we sell as they are of harder woods and if by any chance woodworm presence has been found it is soon eradicated.
The life cycle is similar to that of the butterfly, in that a grub (caterpillar) hatches from the egg, eats and grows, pupates, metamorphoses into an adult. Adult males mate with adult females, the females lay their eggs, and round we go again.
In the case of the common furniture beetle, the entire cycle takes between 2 and 5 years depending on conditions, particularly food source, and temperature.
Most of the damage is done by the grub which is creamy white in colour and blind. It spends its life eating wood, and leaves a network of meandering tunnels within the wood source. When it reaches full size it excavates a chamber close to the surface of the wood. It then pupates. Metamorphosis takes place and then in the summer (temperature rise) the adult chews a hole to the outside world, opens its wing casing, spreads its wings and flies off to find a mate. The adults do not eat, and live for only a few days before they die.
Because the holes we see are exit holes, that is where the beetle was, not where it is. It is also probably not where other grubs are, so treating the holes has limited effectiveness. Woodworm solutions are insecticides and to be of any use, the entire food source (piece of furniture) will need treating. If the furniture is French polished or lacquered, this will need to be stripped off in order for the insecticide to soak in.
Properly treated, furniture with worm holes does not pose any danger to other furniture or to the fabric of your house. Beetles can still fly into your house, but the grubs from any eggs laid will be quickly killed by the insecticide.
All our antique furniture and other wood based antiques such as antique clocks and barometers are of course throughly inspected and free from active woodworm.
We hope you can visit us here in Eastbourne and browse our wonderful selection of antiques, clocks, barometers, musical boxes and much more.