Borer (Anobium punctatum)

Where Usually Found

Most new timber today purchased for use in buildings, with the exception of interior finishing lines of shelving and mouldings, has already been treated with chemical preservatives. The problem of borer attack is usually greater in older type buildings, where untreated timber haveBorer in timber been installed. The timber is usually the sapwood of native species like rimu, matai and pinus radiata.

What they do

The grubs (larvae or caterpillars) and the adults destroy timber by eating and chewing tunnels up and down the grain of the timber.

How to control

Carefully inspect any piece of furniture, including wooden picture frames, over five years old before buying. If it has borer holes or tunnels, with dust spilling from them, the chances are that it contains live borer which will spread to other household timbers. The main treatment to control borer in timber is the use of insecticides. Suitable insecticides include Permethrin, Cypermethrin, Deltamethrin and Timbor. The carrier used to apply these chemicals to timber should be water. The chemical is applied to the timber as a wet spray soaking into the timber and killing the insect. Most borer control treatment is done in the under floor areas of buildings. Timbers such as weatherboards, skirting boards, doors and window frames can be treated if all paint and varnish has Borer treatmentbeen removed, to allow the insecticide to penetrate the timber. This treatment kills live insects and gives protection against further attack. Smoke bombs are available from hardware shops. Although they kill insects that are crawling on exposed surfaces or in flight at the time, they are ineffective against insects still inside the wood.

Life history and other comments

Furniture beetles take a long time to grow to adulthood, up to six years depending on the conditions of temperature and moisture. The life cycle is the butterfly type, with the body changing from egg to caterpillar (or larva) to chrysalis (or pupa) to adult. The eggs are laid in old holes or joints in the woodwork. The white larvae eat their way into the wood, forming a tunnel and leaving behind dusty faeces. After some years the larvae pupate near the surface of the wood, so that when the adults emerge, they only have to tunnel a short distance to escape. The adult beetle has wings but does not fly very well, so these pests spread quite slowly by themselves. Man greatly accelerates their rate of distribution by carrying furniture from place to place. The adult beetle usually emerges in a dark, inconspicuous place so that attack by furniture beetle remains unnoticed for several generations unless a careful check is made periodically when spring cleaning.

Where to obtain professional advice


Melvyn or Kevin Gilbert. Phone. 03 3841636 (NEW ZEALAND)

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For inquires and free advice you can contact us via email or on 03 384 1636 from 8.30am - 5pm Monday to Friday.

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03 3841636