Common Furniture Beetle: Identification, Removal, and Prevention

Common furniture beetles can cause some serious damage if not treated properly. 

Unfortunately, identifying and getting rid of furniture beetles is challenging. 

Often, infestations go unnoticed until damage is sever. Also getting rid of the larva is difficult since they live inside wood. 

Don’t worry, I’m here to help. 

In this post, I will teach you how to identify furniture beetles and how to effectively get rid of them. 

Let’s get started. 

What Are Common Furniture Beetles?

The common furniture beetle is a type of woodboring beetle. They are also commonly referred to as common house borers.

These beetles are often confused with powderpuff beetles, which are more widely distributed in the U.S.

The common furniture beetles lay their eggs on wood, and the larvae feed and bore tunnels through it to survive.

How To Identify Common Furniture Beetles?

The common furniture look s very similarly to other species of wood-boring beetles. If you don’t know what you are looking for differentiating these beetles is challenging. 

Below is a guide of the common furniture beetle at all different stages of life. 

What do Adult Common Furniture Beetles Look Like?

Adult common furniture beetles look like traditional beetles. 

  • Size: Adult common furniture beetles range from ¼ to ⅝ inch. 
  • Body: Adult furniture beetles rectangular shaped body
  • Color: Adults are dark brown with some reddish hues, nearly resembling mahogany wood. 
  • Head: Adults have oval-shaped heads that are about ⅓ of their total size
  • Antenna: They have two semi-long antennas that are shaped like “L.” 
  • Legs: They have six legs. Their legs start thick and get thinner towards the end.

What Do Furniture Beetles Larvae Look Like?

Furniture beetle larvae are the main producers of damage. The eggs are laid on eggs, and when they hatch, they feed on wood and create tunnels to travel. 

  • Size: Larva hatch and are 1mm. They grow to 7mm before pupating to an adult. 
  • Shape: C-shaped larvae with ridges
  • Head: Small head with a distinct mouth 
  • Color: Larvae are white with dark brown heads 

What Do Furniture Beetle Eggs Look Like?

Eggs are hard to find because adult furniture beetles typically lay them inside small cracks and crevices on wood.

Furniture beetle eggs are small, white, round eggs. These eggs measure less than 1mm, which can make them hard to identify.

Eggs are typically found in clusters of 50-100 eggs.

  • Size: Furniture beetles eggs are small, typically 1mm or smaller 
  • Shape: Eggs are pear-shaped and are typically laid in clusters 
  • Location: Furniture beetles are typically laid in the cracks and crevices of dead timber 

Where Do Common Furniture Beetles Live?

Common furniture beetles hide in different locations depending on what stage of life they are in.

You can find larva on the surface of the timber. They are typically found tucked away in small crevices and cracks.

Common furniture beetle larva lives inside timber. After hatching, it will begin hatching, feeding on the timber, and creating random tunnels. Larvae will remain inside wood for three to four years before they exit as a pupated adult common furniture beetle.

Adult Furniture Beetles are typically found near wood. They prefer moist or damp areas that provide sufficient humidity.

They are also commonly found hiding in dark places, such as baseboards, door frames, window frames, and other common areas around the home.

They prefer to be left undisturbed and tend to hide near things or under items that provide shelter. They also tend to live near their food source, which is typically pollen and nectar.

What Do Common Furniture Beetles Eat?

The larvae of the common furniture beetles feed on decaying, moist timber. The larvae are the primary cause of damage to homes or other wood around homes. 

Larvae will feed on wood for three to four years before they exit the timber as adults. After exiting the wood, adults no longer feed on wood. 

As adults, common furniture beetles feed on pollen and nectar. Like bees and wasps, common furniture beetles will swarm gardens, plants, and flowers to feed on the pollen and nectar they provide. 

Common Furniture Beetle Life Cycle

The life cycle of common furniture beetles is much longer than most other insects.

First, adult common furniture beetles will lay their eggs on the surface of the wood. They typically target areas on wood that has cracks or crevices. If they are no cracks or crevices, they will target wood with a high moisture content or start to decay.

After adults lay eggs, they hatch in 2-3 weeks. Once the larva hatch, they dig tunnels into the wood. For the next 3-4 years, the larva will remain in the wood, creating tunnels to survive.

Once the larva is ready to pupate, they will create tunnels near the surface wood. After hatching, they will bor themselves out and leave frass or wood dust as they exit.

After they exit the wood, adult furniture beetles will leave the wood and begin their life cycle again. Typically, furniture beetles will mate within the first week after they’ve pupated. Adults live between 2 and 4 years.

During this time, they go through several mating cycles and lay several hundred eggs.

Common Furniture Beetle Lifespan

The common furniture beetles live much longer than most other insects, including other woodboring beetles. Common furniture beetles live between 5 and 8 years from egg phase to adult. 

  • Adults: After pupating, adult common furniture beetles can live between two and four years. 
  • Larva: The larva of furniture beetles remain in the larva stage for 3-4 years, where they remain burrowed inside timber. 
  • Eggs: Furniture beetle eggs don’t hatch for 2-3 weeks. After they hatch, the larva burrows into the timber. 

What Are the Signs of Common Furniture Beetle Infestations?

furniture beetle frass

Common furniture beetle infestations are not easy to detect. Often infestations become very large before we notice them inside or outside your home. 

Some of the most common signs of furniture beetles infestations are: 

  • ⅛ inch holes on wood furniture or other furniture around your home 
  • ⅛ inch thick tunnels inside wood or just below the surface
  • Sawdust or “frass” around wood 
  • Adult furniture beetle infestations 

Do Common Furniture Beetles Bite?

Adult common furniture beetles have the ability to bite, it’s rate that they will. Even when people pick up furniture beetles they are unlikely to bite humans.

They are not aggressive or dangerous to humans.

The larvae of common furniture beetles can bite but they typically don’t come in contact with humans since they live inside wood.

People sometimes experience bites when they have furniture beetle infestations. They are often mistaken for bites by furniture beetles or their larva.

But, theses bites are not left by lava or adult furniture beetles. These bites come from a parasite that is feeds on the larva of furniture beetles.

These parasites can bite humans. They often come into contact with humans after touching furniture beetles infested wood.

Can Furniture Beetles Fly?

Yes, adult furniture beetles can fly, like most other beetles. Adult furniture beetles use their ability to fly to feed on plants, flowers, and trees.

Their wings are crucial to helping them reach areas where they can feed on pollen and nectar.

Common furniture beetles can fly, but their flying ability isn’t very strong.

They tend to fly in short to medium bursts to reach their desired location.

Furniture beetle larvae don’t have wings and can’t fly. Furniture beetles don’t develop wings and their ability to fly until after they pupate.

How To Get Rid of Common Furniture Beetles?

1. Seal The Wood

One of the first things you can do to get rid of furniture beetles is to seal the wood. Sealing the wood will provide a protective layer to the wood.

This will make it harder for common furniture beetles to burrow inside the wood. By sealing the wood, you also reduce the number of places where adults can lay their eggs.

By sealing up the cracks ad crevice, there will be fewer spaces to hide their eggs.

Also, if the wood is harder to penetrate, the larva is more likely to die after they hatch because they can’t burrow into the wood.

2. Replace Moist or Decaying Wood

Replacing or removing any wood that furniture beetles are infesting or likely to infest is also a great option.

Furniture beetles prefer to infest decaying or damaged wood. This wood creates ideal conditions that allow the larvae to feed and survive on the wood easily.

You also want to remove or replace any water-damaged or moist wood. Furniture beetles prefer wood that has a high moisture content.

This wood is ideal for larvae because they can easily consume it and survive with ease.

Depending on the severity of the moisture damage baking a small replacement might be necessary. This typically includes the water-damaged wood and replacing it with new wood.

If the wood is severely damaged, you need to replace the entire piece of wood.

If the damage is inside your home, such as a floorboard or post, these repairs can be expensive.

If the damage is to a piece of wood furniture such as a dresser or table, it’s typically recommended that you dispose of the furniture.

Furniture can only be salvaged if extensive water damage is localized.

If other parts of the furniture have water damage, then you should throw it away.

You typically want any wood to have less than 6% moisture.

Typically wood with moisture content as high as 8% is safe.

At any moisture levels above 8%, you should repair or replace the wood to prevent furniture beetle infestations.

3. Vacuum

Vacuuming is a great method to get rid of adult common furniture beetles. This method is not effective against larva, but it can help remove eggs.

To begin eliminating common furniture beetles, you need to start by removing adults. By removing the adults, you can eliminate the possibility that they will continue breeding and growing their infestation.

Inspect the interior and exterior of your home with a vacuum. Furniture beetles are not great at hiding. They tend to hide slightly hidden away to avoid being distrubed.

Cleaning, decluttering, and moving things around will make it much easier to find any furniture beetles inside or outside your home.

Typically a normal vacuum will suffice. But to ensure that the beetles die, you can use a vet-dry vacuum and add water and dish soap to make sure that they drown once you vacuum them.

4. Reduce Humidity

Reducing humidity is crucial to getting rid of furniture beetles. If you don’t eliminate your high humidity issues, then wood around your house will continue to get damaged. 

This means that furniture beetles will continue to have places to lay their eggs, and the larva will have wood to consume and survive off of. 

One way to deuce humidity inside your house is to use dehumidifiers. This will help keep the moisture levels down. 

Likewise, you want to inspect and make sure that there are not any drainage issues inside or outside your home. 

This includes any potential leaks or puddles that form inside or outside your home. 

Key areas you want to inspect include: 

  • Bathrooms 
  • Kitchens 
  • Attics 
  • Basements 
  • Boilers romance 
  • Laundry rooms 

These rooms are the most likely to experience water damage or high humidity. 

5. Treat Your Wood

One of the most common options of treating your wood is using borate-based solutions. These solutions allow you to apply borates to the surface and inject it into your wood.

Borate is a natural substance that is a highly effective insecticide once consumed. This insecticide is commonly used on termites.

When wood is treated with borates, any insects that eat or chew on the wood inside your home will eventually die.

Borates are an effective method of killing eggs or larva currently infesting wood. It also prevents future infestations by killing new larvae before they can grow into adults.

To use BORA-CARE, dilute five gallons of water for every one gallon BORA-CARE.

Next, transfer the solution to a pressurized spray bottle and spray it to any exposed wood.

Bora-care can only be applied to unfinished wood. Wood finished with paint, primer, or sealant won’t absorb bora-care, and it will be ineffective.

Wood that is finished can still be treated with borates. To treat wood that is finished with paint or other sealants, you will need to inject the wood with bora care.

This method is more complicated and should be done with care.

6. Apply Insecticides Indoors and Outdoors

Common furniture beetles are hard to get rid of once they’ve infested your home. 

The best option is to use insecticide sprays indoors and outdoors. 


Outdoor Application

Outdoor residual insecticides are effective because they help you get rid of adult furniture beetles that are feeding outdoors. 

In particular, you want to spray around your home’s surface, including your foundation, and around entry points such as windows and doors. 

You also want to apply residual insecticides to the surface of your gardens. This will eliminate any furniture beetles that are feeding on your garden. 


Indoor Application

Indoor application is more typically more difficult than outdoor application. This is typical because insecticide application indoors can be dangerous. 

Residual insecticides can be dangerous because they can leave a lingering odor. Likewise, some insecticides are not safe or healthy for humans, children, or pets. 

The best approach is to apply insecticide indoors to localized areas that are experiencing infestations. 

For example, applying insecticide to baseboards in a single room or dressers can help you target the infested areas with furniture beetles. 

Applying insecticides to the surface can help you eliminate eggs and kill any furniture beetles that exit the wood that has insecticide. 

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