How far can woodworm travel inside and outside?

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It’s fair to say that woodworm can spread. But how far can they travel? They spend most of their lives living in wood as larvae. Then once they emerge as an adult beetle, they only live for a short period of time.

But can they travel over large areas to lay their eggs? Do they stay local and rarely stray further afield? There are many questions that need answering, so we are going to help you understand how far woodworm can travel.

Once woodworm burrow into timber, they spend long periods of time eating away at the wood. During this time, they can move large distances within timber, causing a lot of damage. The distance is only really limited by the size of the timber.

As an adult, they emerge with legs, which means they can walk a certain distance. The adult beetles also have wings and can fly a reasonable distance when needed. However, they rarely do fly. You’re more likely to see woodworm beetles crawling on wood, as their main goal is to mate and lay eggs.

Due to their wings, woodworm can easily fly outside through windows. Likewise, they can also travel indoors from outside. Whether they are entering or leaving a property their goal will remain the same.

They have a matter of weeks to mate, so they don’t focus on flying, instead their goal is finding another partner to mate with.

How Far Can Woodworm Spread in Your Timber?

how far can woodworm travel

There is no clear answer to this question, but we know that woodworm can spread. Once a beetle has laid eggs, they will hatch into larvae and begin to burrow into timber. This will become their new home and it is where they will remain until they turn into an adult beetle.

So, woodworm will only travel as far as the timber allows them. They might attack a large joist and spread into nearby joists. However, If the timber is small and isolated (such as a piece of furniture), they are less likely to seek out new timber, as they don’t have easy access to move beyond the timber where the infestation lives.

The larvae can also attack in large numbers. So, you can imagine the damage that 50 larvae can do when they attack timber for up to five years. This gives some idea of how far they can travel, or the damage they can cause.

The larvae need timber as food, therefore they usually remain in the same timber and rarely spread beyond. Unfortunately, this changes when they emerge as an adult beetle, this is when they have potential to spread to a new area.

Can Woodworm Travel to Different Areas in Your Home?

Woodworm can only travel around the home once they have become an adult beetle. Sure, they can travel inside timber while larvae, but they are limited.

As an adult beetle, they will emerge from the timber and seek out a mate. They have just a few days or weeks to do this. During this time, they will often move around on foot.

In the home, they have lots of potential places they could lay their eggs. They can move from joists to floorboards and even into furniture. They will find all this timber within easy reach as they are often close together.

In most cases, they will only use their legs to move around, but they may also fly if needed. In some cases, they can also travel on clothing. The adult beetle will search for a mate and then a location to lay its eggs. They only live for a short period, so they must act fast too.

The Furniture Beetle Lyctus and house long horn all have strong wings. They do tend to use their legs, but they can also fly around the home. This can give them the ability to move to new areas in the home and that’s how they can spread and cause more damage.

How Far Can They Fly Outside?

There are many different species of woodworm beetle. The Death Watch Beetle is not a strong flyer and is more likely to move between timber on foot. Therefore, they will only be able to travel as far as their legs will take them.

The Furniture Beetle and Lyctus Beetle both have wings. Once they open their wings to fly, they are unable to close them. However, this does make it possible for them to fly certain distances. The distance they can travel is short, due to their need to mate.

There are certain beetles that can cover large distances, but these are different species (not woodworm beetles). It is unlikely that woodworm beetles will ever cover anything considered a large distance.


The life cycle of woodworm impacts how they travel. As larvae, they only travel inside the wood they live in. As they emerge as an adult beetle they can travel further, but this still tends to be shorter distances. The Death Watch beetle will move around on legs, but the distance is limited.

The Furniture Beetle and the Lyctus are strong flyers. So, they are more likely to be found indoors as they can enter the home through open windows. The distance they can cover is limited as they need to mate and lay their eggs, so the lifecycle can begin all over again.

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