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Xylophagous insects, woodworm are of several types: the small vrillettes, the big vrillettes, the vrillettes of the libraries. All have in common, as larvae, to drill the wood to feed on them and to form galleries. The consequences are terrible for furniture, the art, the structures and even books! It is therefore essential to avoid that they invade the houses or to succeed in eliminating them definitively in case of declared infestation.

Holes dug in the wood by vrillettes.

The presence of vrillettes in the wood is recognizable by the holes they make, as regular as those made with a tendril.

How to fight effectively against vrillettes?

The methods of preventing and eliminating vrillettes are similar from one species to another.


Identify the presence of vrillettes

The vrillettes dig the wood, but do not stay there permanently to live there. In order to know if your house is invaded by vrillettes, whatever their type, it is advisable to pay attention to different points.

  • Examine the wooden structures of the house as well as wooden objects: wooden furniture (especially old ones), woodwork of pieces, works of art made of wood... If we notice small holesit can be an indication of presence. Library Tweezers also tend to papers, cardboards, manuscripts, scrolls.
  • Monitor the development of mushrooms in the wet recesses: the big woodpecker lays near fungi that can develop in poorly ventilated or poorly waterproof structures and floors, non-permeable wooden parts, joists above wet rooms...
  • Spot the type of wood: the coniferous and broadleaved species attract more vrillettes than exotic species.


Methods to eliminate vrillettes

The curative methods against vrillettes are essentially the same from one species to another. It only needs to be adapted to the type of support to be treated and the level of infestation.

Treat the objects and furniture affected by the vrillettes

    • Throw them in an airtight container if they are not valuables.
    • If the object is slightly infested: strip, then treat with residual insecticide.
    • If the infestation is important, 2 solutions are possible:
      • the fumigation (gas diffused to eliminate insects),
      • theanoxia (object enclosed in a waterproof cover, then full extraction of air to remove oxygen and kill pests).

Treat infested floors and frames

    • In case of weak infestationa residual insecticide applied each year for a minimum of 3 years is sufficient.
    • In case of widespread infestation:
      • change the wood and ventilate the area concerned;
      • then call a specialist to follow the following procedure:
        • survey,
        • bûchage,
        • brushing and dusting,
        • deep treatment,
        • cleaning and disposal of waste,
        • surface application.

It is recommended, especially for fumigation, anoxia and extensive treatment of a floor or a framework, to call on a company of disinsectisation, which will be able to use the good material and to make the procedure safe.


Preventive measures against wormwood

Some simple actions prevent the arrival and development of vrillettes in homes.

  • To control humidity in the house: the ideal is that it does not exceed 20 \%.
  • Avoid moisture penetration (leakage, water damage, pipeline problem...) and any development of mushrooms, mold.
  • Limit the temperature during the winter season: do not overheat your interior.
  • Regularly check the condition of all wooden elements likely to be infested: its wooden structures (frame, floor), its wooden objects and furniture, its books and libraries. At the slightest hint, take the subject seriously and do not delay processing.

For more information, consult the file: "Prevention and natural treatments against insects of the house".

The vrillette and its mode of operation

The vrillette is a real scourge for woods of all kinds of homes. She digs innumerable galleries in the structures where she takes up residence, doing a lot of damage on her way.


General presentation

We call "vrillettes" several types of small beetles whose common point is ravage the wood. In fact, their larvae feed on it to develop. For this, they "drill" the wood, as one would do with a small spin, hence the name "vrillette". Although varied, the species of vrillettes have common specificities:

  • yellowish, hairy larvae, measuring between 5 and 10 mm,
  • brown adults, more or less dark, covered with carapaces, measuring between 2 and 8 mm and possessing mandibles.


The 3 types of xylophagous vrillettes

There are 3 types of xylophagous vrillettes among the most common:

  • the small vrillette,
  • the big krillette,
  • the vrillette des bibliothèques.

To know : there is a 4e type of vrillette, named "vrillette bread", which is not xylophage but feeds on food residues in homes.


Life cycle and behavior of vrillettes

If found in the wild, the vrillette, whatever the type, is attracted to the human habitations because of'humidity, of the heat. The female is introduced by its wings and lays its eggs in the wood in summer. Subsequently, if the conditions are right and depending on the species, the larvae from these eggs may between 9 months and 10 years to grow up to the adult stage. It is during this very long process that the damage in frames, beams, wooden furniture (mostly old), skirting boards... where it pierces many galleries that weaken these structures.

Unlike capricorns, wormwood larvae do not live permanently in the wood they colonize, but they cross it, creating very characteristic holes. Once an adult, the wormwood comes out of the wood and does not live more than 4 weeks, time to reproduce.

To note: Several types of vrillettes can coexist in the same zone.

The specificities of each type of vrillette

Types of wood attacked, environmental conditions favorable to their development... there are specificities specific to each species of xylophagous vrillette. Learning to distinguish them makes it possible to target the actions to be implemented to get rid of them.


The little vrillette

Present mainly in the regions of the west and south-west of France because of the high humidity, the little vrillette appreciates the coniferous and broadleaved species. Another peculiarity of this vrillette: it only attacks the woods presence of mushrooms. This is why the furniture and wooden structures of old houses are his favorite playgrounds: small pieces of wet woodwork, antique furniture, works of art...


The big vrillette

The big wormwood is found everywhere in Europe, but especially in England and Holland. His favorite wood is that of old oak, and it favors large structures such as carpentry and floors. The big wormwood attacks the woods that carry both the fungus producing cubic rots and the one creating fibrous rots. This is again the heat andhumidity excessive conditions which condition its good development. However, in the usual modern housing conditions, it is very rare to find it.


The library vrillette

The library vrillette, as the name suggests, is home to books, manuscripts and parchmentsbecause she loves paper. She is able to dig galleries from 1 to 3 mm in diameter and can devour a whole manuscript in a short time. It is therefore advisable, if one possesses an old collection of books, to inspect them very regularly and to store them carefully in non humid and overheated areas.

What nuisances for humans and their habitat?

Whether small, big or libraries, the vrillette does not attack the man directly, but his habitat. And she is able to endanger the solidity of it, acting over several years. Collapse of frames, destruction of wooden objects valuable, antique furniture... are all catastrophes attributable to this little xylophagous insect. Vigilance is therefore appropriate, especially since it is quite easy to spot its presence.


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