Watch out, Deathwatch beetle about

Saltram House visitor looking at books in the library

We’ve been busy lately installing some new pipework for our brand new conservation heating system, which will mean we can care for our books much easier. Whilst installing pipes under the floorboards in the library we have discovered an infestation of Deathwatch beetle.

These mini beasts have attacked the joists under the floor and other oak timbers around the room. The adult beetle is 7 millimetres long, while the larvae are up to 11 mm long.

As the pipework has been finished we have decided to open the room up to visitors although it will remain encased in its protection to prevent the spread of the Deathwatch beetle whilst we consider how best to treat it.

Work is underway to treat Deathwatch beetle found in the library
A deathwatch beetle

Deathwatch beetle can be quite hard to treat and detect as the larvae can live in timber for up to 13 years boring 2-3mm diameter holes in the wood. The adult does not always then emerge and so infestations such as ours under the floors can be very hard to spot and will not be detected by the pest traps we have in place around the house.