Furniture beetle (Anobium punctatum)

Also known as: Woodworm
SizeLength: 2.5 – 5 mm (2)

The furniture beetle is not threatened in Britain (2).

The furniture beetle (Anobium punctatum), also known as ‘woodworm’, is a notorious pest of timber in buildings and old furniture (3). Very few people, however, have actually seen the small brown adult beetles responsible for making the characteristic round holes in timber when they emerge (4).

This very common species is found throughout Britain, but is most common in the south and east (5). The furniture beetle also occurs throughout Europe (4) and other parts of the world including New Zealand and Australia (5).

This species originally inhabited dry, dead wood of both deciduous and coniferous trees (2). Although it is still found in this wild habitat in small numbers, the furniture beetle has adapted very successfully to exploit human-created habitats such as old timber in buildings and furniture (4).

The adult beetles are usually active in late spring and early summer. They mate, and the females lay their eggs in crevices in wood, occasionally using existing furniture beetle exit holes (4). The larvae develop inside the timber, burrowing in and feeding upon the wood. The time taken for development depends on the type of wood and the temperature, but it usually takes more than two years for the adult to emerge (4). The fully grown larva creates a chamber just below the surface of the wood in which pupation takes place. It is the emergence of the adult beetle that creates the familiar round exit holes that indicate an infestation of furniture beetles (2).

The furniture beetle is not currently threatened in Britain.

Conservation action is not required for this pest species.

This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:

  1. Harde, K.W.(2000) A field guide in colour to beetles Silverdale Books, Leicester.
  2. Buczaki, S. (2002) Fauna Britannica. Hamlyn, London.
  3. Furniture beetle (October 2003):
  4. Common furniture beetle Rentokil Initial research (October 2003):