One of our readers recently sent us this message, “Is this a larvae stage of some kind of wood boring insect? It is extremely tiny but something is damaging my wood furniture.” Along with the message she included three photographs which are shown below. The first show a tiny, thin, white worm-like organism on a wood floor or wood furniture. In the second photograph we don’t see any organisms, but we notice the damaged wood our reader mentioned. In the final photographs, she has circled more tiny white creatures in white.
We believe that our reader is dealing with wood boring beetle larvae. There are many species, but they all behave the same. The larval stage is the most destructive, which lines up with what our reader has discovered. Adult beetles lay their eggs in the cracks and crevices of exposed wood. When the eggs hatch, the larvae tunnel through the wood, eating and destroying it in the process. Most larvae go unnoticed because they are feeding inside of the wood, and aren’t visible to the human eye. They might remain tunneling in the wood for 2-5 years. Since our reader is able to see these larvae, they might be emerging from the wood to pupate. She should physically remove the ones she notices.
If practical, she should remove the furniture from her house to prevent the larvae from attacking other wood sources in her home. If she cannot remove the furniture, she can explore some wood treatment options at a local homeowners store. In the future, keeping all wood items sanded and varnished will prevent future infestations from wood boring beetles and their larvae.
To summarize, one of our readers asked us about larvae that could be damaging her wood furniture and sent us three great pictures. We are confident that she is dealing with wood boring beetle larvae.