Death-watch Beetle

Xestobium rufovillosum

  1. Wildlife
  2. Invertebrates
  3. Beetles
  4. Death-watch Beetle


The Death-watch Beetle is a medium-sized, cylindrical beetle, with a head that is mostly hidden underneath the thorax. The larvae live in dead wood, in old trees and in buildings: their tunnelling can cause major damage to wood beams and floors in buildings and to wooden furniture. Adults emerge during the spring, leaving holes of about 4mm across in the wood. The adults make tapping noises against the dead wood to attract mates; the females then lay their eggs in crevices in the wood.

How to identify

The adult Death-watch Beetle is brown and covered with tiny hairs.

Where to find it

Common in England and Wales, but less common in the north.


When to find it

  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June

How can people help

Wood-boring Death-watch Beetles can be serious pests: their presence in houses and buildings can cause major damage to structural wood and furniture. The Wildlife Trusts work with pest controllers to find the most wildlife-friendly solutions to some of our everyday problems.

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Species information

Common name
Death-watch Beetle
Latin name
Xestobium rufovillosum
Length: 5-9mm
Conservation status