Lifecycle of woodworm from larvea to beetle

Call Peter Cox on 0800 633 5712  or Message Us Online

One of UK's leading property care specialists since 1951, with 65+ years experience

Peter Cox is a founder member of the PCA promoting high standards of professionalism and expertise

Customers rate us 'Excellent' on TrustPilot giving you reassurance of the quality of our service

Woodworm life cycle

The woodworm life cycle can last up to five years and encapsulates four distinct stages of development as the insect undergoes its transformation from an egg to its emergence as an adult beetle. It is important to note that almost all of the damage caused by woodworm actually occurs during the larva stage before the pests have developed into full grown beetles.

Over the course of the life cycle the signs of woodworm also vary and differ, while the most obvious signs of a woodworm infestation don’t appear until the life cycle is almost complete and most of the damage has already been done.

This page will explain the full woodworm life cycle and highlight the key signs of each stage.

Contact Us

Stages of the woodworm life cycle

The process begins when a gravid (egg carrying) female beetle lands on a piece of timber...

  • Stage 1: laying the eggs - The beetle will then lay its eggs directly into the timber through small crevices, cracks or pre existing exit holes from a prior woodworm infestation.The eggs are laid deep in the timber to protect the eggs from surface predators.

  • Stage 2: larva or worm stage - After about five weeks , the eggs then begin to hatch and the newborn larva burrow downwards into the timber. This is the “woodworm” stage of an infestation.

    This stage of the cycle is where the damage is done as larvae can live from anywhere between two to five years, feeding their way up and down through the timber (which can lead to structural damage).


    During this phase woodworm can be often be detected through the bore-dust or frass being produced. The frass can help us identify the species of woodworm and confirm whether the woodworm infestation is active or not.

  • Stage 3: transformation into an adult beetle - The woodworm lifecycle is almost at an end now. The larvae now ‘pupates’ and changes into an adult beetle just below the surface of the wood.

  • Stage 4: adult woodworm beetle emerges - The adult beetles will eat their way through the timber to create exit holes that can be seen on the surface of the timber. From here the beetles will immediately begin to seek a mate to begin the process all over again.

Peter Cox: woodworm specialists

If you feel that you require further help and advice to deal with your woodworm problem, then do not hesitate to contact your local Peter Cox branch on 0800 633 5712 or contact us online by completing the contact form below.

Peter Cox have a network of local branches all over the UK and each one has a team of woodworm experts waiting for you to get in touch.

Contact the woodworm experts

Contact Us