Adults do not feed; they just reproduce. The female lays her eggs into cracks in wood or inside old exit holes, if available. The eggs hatch after some three weeks, each producing a 1 millimetre (0.039 in) long, creamy white, C-shaped larva. For three to four years the larvae bore semi-randomly through timber, following and eating the starchy part of the wood grain, and grow up to 7 millimetres (0.28 in). They come nearer to the wood surface when ready to pupate. They excavate small spaces just under the wood surface and take up to eight weeks to pupate. The adults then break through the surface, making a 1 mm to 1.5 millimetres (0.059 in) exit hole and spilling dust, the first visible signs of an
infestation. When you have a bug or pest infestation it is important that you control or
kill them as soon as possible.
The first step in pest control is prevention, and for
this it is important for the success of the treatment that precautions
and preventative measures are undertaken to minimise the risk of
infection. It is helpful to understand that Anobium punctatum only attacks seasoned sapwood timber, not live or fresh wood. Also, it usually does not attack heartwood timbers. This is readily observed from infested structures, where one piece of timber may be heavily attacked but an adjacent one left virtually untouched according to whether it is made from the heartwood or the sapwood part of a tree trunk. Infestations are
usually a problem of old wooden houses built with untreated timbers, but
regular spraying with household insecticide or fly spray, together with
prudent use of mosquito blinds will greatly reduce to risk of
re-infestation. Some building regulations state that timbers with more than 25% sapwood may not be used, so that wood borer infections can not substantially weaken structures.
Infection, past or present, is diagnosed by small round exit holes of 1 to
2 mm diameter, sometimes associated by a rasping sound at night. Active infections feature the appearance of new exit holes and fine wood dust around the holes.
Because of the 3–4 year life cycle of some beetles, timber or timber products bought containing
a beetle infection may not manifest holes until years after the timber has been acquired. Infestation can be controlled by application of a residual insecticide
to infected areas or by replacing infected timber. Simple aerosol insecticide sprays
are effective for the adults, but will only kill the adult borer on the wing but not the burrowing larvae, which remain relatively protected inside infected