“Deathwatch Beetle (xestobium rufovillosum)”


The largest and most vigorous of UK wood-boring insects, they are usually found in hardwoods such as certain types of oak.

  • We offer specialist skills to deal with your woodworm problems
  • We ensure minimal disruption using Abate specialist equipment
  • We cost the work by the amount of area requiring treatment
  • Accurate pricing by qualified surveyors
  • Abate can offer extensive insurance backed guarantees
  • We insure residential and commercial properties
  • Full support services and systems to secure your guarantee

When seeking a mate, they communicate with each other by clicking their legs at intermittent intervals whilst emerging out of their flight holes. This often alerts someone to their presence. The emergence holes can be as large as 3-4mm in size.

Deathwatch beetle need moisture and humidity within timbers and structures to survive and depending on what levels these are at will depend on levels of activity.

They are a very difficult insect to completely eradicate due to their long life cycles within timbers and there are recordings of over 7 years from larvae to adult. This length of time is down to the various timbers and structures in which they harbour and the ambient temperatures and moisture contents.

The beetle usually starts to emerge in very early springtime. They have a dark grey appearance as adults whom you will generally find lying around the base of window ledges, floors and doors where a light source is emitted to which they are attracted. In extreme cases they can emerge in their thousands over a period of several weeks.

At Abate we highly recommend a thorough free site survey by one of our skilled surveyors to first establish the pest and the level of the problem before recommending and proceeding with the correct application methods.

Our extensive experience tells us that pastes, gels, water based sprays and fogging work more effectively on these beetles due to the types of timbers they are within. There are occasions however where water based sprays and fogging can only be used due to limited access points in a property to give an equal surface cover of the timbers. Drilling and plugging exposed timbers has been carried out in the past but is not usually recommended by us as it can spoil the look of the exposed natural timbers.

Whichever type of beetle maybe involved, the principles in treating woodworm are very much the same. Once the beetle has been identified and if the Abate surveyor has established that the infestation is active, the extent of the problem can be assessed. We then decide on the best plan of action and course of insecticidal treatment necessary. All woodworm treatments are designed to disrupt one of the beetles life cycle stages.

The most popular properties that encounter such pests are old barn conversions; listed buildings, churches and other historic architecture of all ages and sizes.

Should you need a typed report which is an in depth document for insurance reasons, purchasing a property for a mortgage or any other reasons, then there is a cost involved with a price on application. This is deducted from the costs should Abate be awarded the work to carry out the timber treatments.

Abate can also offer extensive underwritten guarantees backed by the FSA.