The capricorn is a xylophagous insect, that is to say, which feeds on wood. A real scourge in homes, its larvae devour wooden frames and furniture at the rate of one centimeter a day! Very discreet, it is not always easy to notice, because it leaves only the entrance hole on the surface of the wood and very little sawdust. On the other hand, it produces a very characteristic rubbing noise while feeding. Discover the specificities of this particular insect, the danger it represents for your home and our advice on how to eradicate it from your home.
Who is the House Capricorn? What danger does it represent?
Often overshadowed by the famous termite, the house capricorn (or Hylotrupes bajulus) is a xylophagous insect of the Cerambycidae family capable of wreaking havoc in homes, since it likes to feed on softwood, which leads it to attack joinery, carpentry, furniture and flooring.
Capricorn is an insect that develops more or less slowly depending on the environment in which it lives and feeds. Unlike many other species, it is in the larval state that the animal lives the longest and will cause the most damage. Indeed, in the larva state, which does not exceed 3 cm in length, the capricorn can live from 3 to 11 years by digging galleries in the wood, at the rate of a maximum of 1 cm of progression per day. Endowed with large mandibles, the white larva retains this state for varying periods of time depending on the nature and quality of the wood it ingests, the ambient temperature and the humidity level. The capricorn larva appreciates a temperature of at least 25°C to develop well. Below 15°C, it slows down its metabolism while waiting for warmer temperatures to return.
When the capricorn larva molts, it passes very quickly to the nymph stage, then to the adult stage of the imago, in barely 15 days. The imago, on the other hand, only lives for a month, rarely longer. At these stages of its development, the beetle no longer attacks wood, but it is not harmless for all that, since it reproduces, thus giving birth to new larvae. The adult Capricorn is more easily identifiable. It measures only 1 to 2.5 cm. Its body is flat, mottled black, with long antennae, six legs, two small wings (elytra) and hairs. It flies very little and hardly moves while walking, because it is very sedentary and settles in a source of wood for several generations. He no longer eats and spends his time reproducing, knowing that a female, much larger and longer than the male, lays every three days between 30 and 40 eggs which will take one to three weeks to hatch and give birth to new eggs. new larvae delighted to feed on this wood within their reach.
Detecting the presence of Capricorn is not easy, because it leaves few traces. Only the tiny holes through which it enters the wood are visible, with some sawdust. It mainly attacks softwood and it is essential to act as quickly as possible if you notice small suspicious holes, because it may have already dug long galleries which weaken the structure of your home, especially the frame. The insect can also attack lead and zinc, with which it pierces the thin plates used for carpentry. When a Capricorn settles, it grows over several generations, as long as it is not dislodged. It is therefore necessary to react quickly to hunt it. Note that terraced houses can contaminate each other, because insects pass from one structure to another without difficulty.
It is between the months of June and August that we observe the most adult beetles. However, they can be heard throughout the year during the night when the house is quiet. The larvae that devour the wood indeed produce a clearly perceptible rubbing noise.
How to get rid of house capricorns?
For any new construction or renovation carried out by a professional, the softwoods used are treated beforehand in order to be protected against beetles. The duration of the effectiveness of the treatment is generally about ten years, then the owner must renew it at his expense. This important prevention is simple and consists of spraying a special product, both insecticide and fungicide.
If prevention is essential, it is sometimes necessary to resort to a curative treatment, when the presence of capricorns is noted. To do this, it is recommended to call on a professional, because he is equipped to intervene quickly and to eradicate the colony using products by injection under high pressure which meet the requirements of the FCBA.
Preventive measures against House Capricorns
In addition to treatments, it is possible to prevent the occurrence of capricorns with simple actions. To do this, you can regularly air your wooden furniture and cupboards. When you vacuum, do not forget any corner and close the bag tightly between each pass. Avoid attracting them by leaving piles of wood near the house; prefer to move them away at the bottom of the garden or bring them under a closed shelter.
It is also advisable to take care to dehumidify the rooms that are the attics, the roof spaces and the cellars, where they have the habit of nesting in peace.