Anobium punctatum (De Geer, 1774)

Synonym(s) : 

Anobium striatum Olivier, 1790 
Birrhus domesticus Geoffroy in Fourcroy, 1785

Common names

  • Petite Vrillette; Vrillette commune; Vrillette domestique; Cosson; Ver du bois; Ver des meubles.
  • Common furniture beetle
  • Carcoma comun de los muebles
  • Gemeine nagekäfer


  • Order:  Coleoptera
  • Family:  Ptinidae
  • Genus:  Anobium
  • Species:  punctatum

Frequency index:

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The common furniture beetle is the best-known and the most common beetle among the 3 French species of the Anobium genus.
Its food diet is almost exclusively xylophagous, but it has already been reported in liquorice sticks and in grain debris, for example; however these facts remain anecdotal.
It can be mistaken for another species that belongs to the same family, Oligomerus ptilinoides (cf. fact-sheet), which causes the same kind of damage, but which is nevertheless less frequently found
Anobium punctatum is gradually becoming anthropophile for it preferentially develops in worked woods (timber wood, furniture…), but it is also found in natural environments
It can only fly when temperatures are higher than 17°C.
As adults only have a reproductive function, they do not feed and they do not live more than 3 or 4 weeks on an average.
Daylight particularly attracts that species, that is why it is frequently found on window sills.
It is also attracted by artificial lights and can easily be caught using ultra-violet light light-traps.

Recognition criteria



2 to 5 mm long


Elongate, more or less cylindrical.
Head and base of antennae entirely covered by the pronotum (prothorax) and therefore not visible from above.
The pronotum has a fine grain-like aspect, it is not quite as wide as the elytra at their base (identification criterion), it has a sharp triangular median protuberance on top.
The slightly grainy elytra are striated and punctuated by big, deep dots in regular lines. They are covered by a fine yellowish pubescence that is curved backward.
Clubbed antennae, clubs formed of three rather elongate articles.


Reddish brown to chocolate brown




4 to 5mm long and 2mm wide at the last stage.


Look like small, arched, white grubs, body composed of 10 segments
A fine hairiness composed of golden, erect bristles is visible on the whole body.
The head already possesses powerful mandibles.


Yellowish white to pearl-white, except mouthpieces which are brown


Development cycle

The common furniture beetle is a good flier. Adults take to the air from spring through September, with an emergence peak in July and August.
That is when the insect is active, and small heaps of bore-dust can then be seen on wooden objects, on building timber and panelling, which are obvious signs of its presence.
An average 12 to 40 eggs (many more in optimal conditions) are laid at a time, in separate batches, in wood crevices, tunnels and former galleries of infested woods.
Eggs are about 0.5 mm in size and are hard to spot due to their small size; they are a milky-white colour and lemon-shaped.
Incubation lasts about 2 weeks and as soon as they come out, newborn larvae immediately bore and tunnel deep into the wood.
Larval development up to the nymphal stage very much depends on wood nutrient quality, on the temperature and hygrometry of infested sites, and also on prior wood degradation by lignin-degrading fungi.
It can last between 8 and 36 months, and even up to 10 years in unfavourable conditions.
It is optimal when temperatures are around 22°C, and relative humidity outside the substrate is 50 to 60%.
Nymphosis lasts about 15 days and then adults leave the wood by boring a circular, 1- to 3-mm flight hole to reach the outer environment. 
The full development cycle (from egg-laying to adult emergence) lasts between 1 and 4 years depending on thermo-hygrometric conditions.
It is much shortened (down to a few months) in the case of a lignin-degrading fungus infestation.
Under hot climates, there are 2 generations per year.
Adults live 4 weeks on an average.




Infected materials

The common furniture beetle is particularly harmful to the soft part of manufactured and crafted woods, whether from resiniferous or deciduous trees (old furniture, sculptures, paintings, works of art, roof timbers, beams, floors, ...) Old furniture is particularly infested by that species. It only infests the sapwood part of resiniferous and deciduous species when the wood has formed duramen, and it infests all parts, duramen included, if the wood is contaminated by lignin-degrading fungi. Alder, beech, walnut, pine, poplar, chestnut and fir are particularly affected, but oak and ash-wood are rarely affected. Dense tropical woods are little affected by the common furniture beetle’s larval development. Conversely, white woods are severely infested. The common furniture beetle can also develop in old books and archives, which causes important damage in libraries The circular flight holes, together with the galleries bored in all directions of the wood grain, severely compromise wood resistance but also make it possible to spot the insect’s presence. However, the emergence holes and bore-dust that can often be seen do not automatically indicate active infestation: infestation can sometimes have occurred long before. The fine, grain-like, peanut-shaped dust pellets are characteristic of a few species of the Anobiidae family, including Nicobium castaneum (cf. fact-sheet) and Oligomerus ptilinoides (cf. fact-sheet). Due to their size and circular shape, adults’ emergence holes can be mistaken for those bored by Lyctidae (Lyctus and Trogoxylon genera), but Anobium punctatum’s dust pellets make it possible to tell between them (Lyctidae’s bore-dust is powdery and looks like extra-fine flour).



Geographical distribution

A. punctatum has a worldwide distribution. It is present especially in temperate climate zones (Europe, South-East Africa, Australia, the United States, French overseas territories…).
In France it is particularly well established in the West and the South-West, where climatic conditions (especially humidity) are more favourable to its development.