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Common Furniture Beetles and How to Deal With Them

May 23, 2023

By Daniel Baldwin, BCE, CCFS, CP-FS

If you’re noticing damage to wooden furniture and structures in and around your home, common furniture beetles (Anobium punctatum) may be the culprit. Read on to learn how to spot wood beetles in furniture and wood and what to do about infestations.

What is a furniture beetle?

Common furniture beetles are usually around 3 to 8 millimeters long and have slender, oval-shaped bodies with narrow grooves running down their backs. They make their home in wood, and unlike many other species of beetles, furniture beetles have hooded heads that make it difficult to see their eyes from above. Their antennae have 11 segments extending from the sides of their heads rather than the front. 

The eggs hatch in about 6 to 10 days. The larvae then tunnel into the wood, feeding on cellulose fibers. Furniture beetle larvae resemble grubs with fat, wrinkled bodies. They have three pairs of visible legs, and they’re typically a grayish-white color with a darker band near their mouthparts.

After about one year, the larvae form cells below the surface of the wood and enter the pupa stage. They emerge as adults two to three weeks later and then tunnel through the wood to mate.

Close up of a common furniture beetle on wood

Where do furniture beetles come from?

Furniture beetles originated in northern Europe, but have since traveled beyond the region and are now common in other parts of the world, including the eastern U.S. and New Zealand.

What causes furniture beetles?

Most often, furniture beetles make their way inside indoor spaces by accident. They may get carried in on firewood or within furniture that was left outdoors and then brought inside. They can also crawl inside through gaps and cracks in a building’s structure.

Females look to nest in any kind of compromised wood: dead hardwood and softwood trees, timber, untreated wooden furniture, damaged living softwood trees, and buildings. 

What are the signs of furniture beetles?

The easiest way to identify furniture beetles is the exit holes that the adults produce when they leave the wood where they’ve matured. These holes are usually around one-sixteenth to one-eighth inch in diameter. When the adults emerge, they create packed clumps of sawdust in the surrounding areas. 

Another sign of furniture beetle infestation is if living trees and stored wood show signs of decay that environmental conditions can’t explain. For example, a woodpile may start to rot even though it’s not exposed to the elements due to larvae tunneling and feeding in the wood.

What insects and pests live in furniture?

There are many types of insects that can make their homes in furniture. Other pests of concern can include:

  • Bed bugs: These small parasitic insects can hide away in joints, hinges, drawers, and other areas of tables, dressers, and case goods. They also can infest upholstered goods like sofas and chairs.
  • Carpet beetles: These small black or mottled brown beetles consume fibrous material and may infest furniture with woolen or silk upholstery.
  • Fleas: A large flea infestation can result in pests infiltrating dark corners and cracks in wood furniture and the upholstery and padding of sofas and chairs.

How do I get rid of furniture beetles?

  • Remove dead wood from your property to help reduce the risk of furniture beetle infestations.
  • If you have a wood pile, protect it with a pest-proof cover. Apply protective sealants to decks, patio furniture, and outdoor wooden structures to lower the likelihood of furniture beetle infestations. 
  • Make prompt structural repairs to your home to limit furniture beetles’ ability to get inside. 
  • Inspect pieces carefully before bringing them into your home after thrifting or antiquing. If you notice any small holes in the wood, don’t bring the furniture inside until you’ve had it treated for furniture beetles.

Once a furniture beetle infestation occurs indoors or outdoors, it’s generally best to leave treatment to a professional pest control company. Licensed pest control technicians will select the best furniture beetle treatment based on the location and size of the infestation.

Pest control services 

If you notice signs of common furniture beetle activity, taking quick action can reduce the risk of severe damage to furniture and structures. Hawx Pest Control’s team of experienced pest control technicians can assess the extent of the infestation and use high-quality products and advanced tools to address it. In addition, our technicians can share tips on preventing reinfestations and recommend a maintenance schedule to keep pests at bay. Don’t let your infestation worsen—call Hawx Pest Control today to schedule an inspection.

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