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Timber Borers – What are they?

Wood Borers

Wood borers are insects that live on timber.

Most are related to beetles, moths and wasps.

Some species attack live trees, some dead trees and some live on dead wood.

Certain borers can have an adverse affect on the structural performance of timber in use in the construction of buildings.

Timber Pest Inspectors are required to have a thorough knowledge of the various types of timber borers, be able to identify them and make recommendations on how they can be treated.

In some cases evidence of timber borers does not become apparent until the borer has emerged via an exit hole in the surface of the timber, or in the surface of the lining such as plasterboard. This can be long after the timber is in service.

Life Cycle

Timber borers generally undergo complete metamorphosis.

From Egg – Lava – Pupa – Adult

It is the Lava stage of the borers life that the damage occurs to timber.

The eggs are laid into the timber, eggs hatch, larval stage feeds on the timber and insect pupates and emerges through the timber surface in the adult form.


Identification of the type of borer can be difficult, as the adult insect is not found at the site of damage.

Therefore the skill to identification involves identifying the type of timber, the nature of the damage and other evidence found at the site.

Some borer holes do not have structural consequence, others do.

For this reason a Timber Pest Inspection by a trained professional is strongly recommended.