Since October is here and spooky thoughts fill our minds in the Halloween season, I thought it would be interesting to examine spooky pests. This week’s article is about the Deathwatch Beetle.

A deathwatch beetle, or the Common Furniture Beetle, gets its name from tapping on trees with their antennae signaling the death of a tree. This species is especially destructive to hardwoods and items made from hardwoods. The deathwatch beetle can inhabit furniture causing a slight tapping sound indicating the infestation. This fact can produce some scary thoughts and feed active imaginations. It is said that the that the sound referred to as the “mating call” can cause insomnia to those with good hearing.

Folklore tells us that the sound of the deathwatch beetle may signal the coming of death to those who are ill. The sounds made from deathwatch beetles’ infestation in coffins were very disturbing to those who kept a night vigil by the body of a family member who had died in the 1800’s and early 1900’s.

These wood destroying beetles are destructive; however, they do play an important part in the ecosystem by breaking down dead wood so other insects can access nutrients.