The common furniture beetle or better known as woodworm is the most widespread wood destroying insect in the UK, this insect does not need a fungus to digest wood it can therefore attack dry wood, but its life cycle is much shorter if the wood is damp. The normal life cycle from egg to adult beetle through the larva stage is about 3 years in dry wood. After this time a pupa is formed, then an adult beetle which bites its way out leaving the well tell-tale exit hole.
But in damp wood the life cycle can be much shorter as one year. This reduction in the life cycle period to one third as a result of damp is of much more than of interest because it means that the rate of increase is about nine times greater in damp than in dry wood.In Practical terms this makes the difference between a few holes somewhere in a building and a serious infestation which can produce major damage.
It has frequently been observed that an outbreak of woodworm ceases to be serious when central heating is introduced and the woodwork of the building becomes dry for the first time.Wood boring insects therefore provide one more reason why all sources of damp should be removed.