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Common furniture beetle

An adult common furniture beetle
© Queensland Government

Native to Europe, common furniture beetles are an introduced pest of non-native pines and some hardwood timbers. They are found mainly in imported furniture and occasionally pine timber buildings in Queensland.

In Queensland, four species of anobiid beetles (Family: Anobiidae) may be found in or around buildings; Queensland pine beetles and common furniture beetles, native to Europe, are economically significant, while pine bark anobiids and cigarette beetles are not very important.

Only about 200, of about 1100 species worldwide, are found in Australia.

Improved building practices for timber constructions have reduced the risk of attack and reports of damage.

Scientific name

Anobium punctatum

Description

  • Adults:
    • about 4mm long
    • chocolate brown with reddish-brown legs
    • head is concealed beneath the hooded (cowl-like) prothorax (first section)
    • antennae end in a three-segmented club
    • covered with fine yellowish hairs and has long rows of pits on the forewings
    • compared to the Queensland pine beetle, they're larger, more rectangular and not shiny; microscopic examination is usually required to distinguish between the two species
    • distinguish from powderpost beetles (Lyctus species) by the shape of the head and prothorax (first section).
  • Eggs are ovoid and easily seen.
  • Larvae:
    • greyish white with a gold-brown head
    • chestnut-brown mandibles (jaws)
    • covered with fine hairs
    • hook-shaped but curl into a tight ball when removed from their tunnel.

Distribution

  • Established in southern states of Australia, as a pest of non-native pine timbers.
  • Occurs in cooler, upland areas in south-eastern Queensland (e.g. the Darling Downs).
  • Not considered a pest in warmer regions.

Damage

  • Found mostly in imported furniture and rarely in housing timbers.
  • Commonly attacks pine timbers, particularly structures in-service for more than 20 years.
  • Also attacks hardwoods such as English oak and spotted gum.
  • Risk to both sapwood and heartwood of susceptible timbers.
  • Attacks on buildings are heaviest in damper areas including cellars, flooring, skirting boards and outbuildings.
  • Radiata pine in New Zealand is very susceptible, and treatment is mandatory when used for building construction or furniture.
  • Radiata pine in Australia has had few attacks despite widespread use—the reason for this anomaly is unclear.

Contact

General enquiries 13 25 23