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The death-watch beetle - accommodated in all the best places

The death-watch beetle - accommodated in all the best places

Belmain, Steven ORCID: 0000-0002-5590-7545, Simmonds, Monique and Ridout, Brian (2000) The death-watch beetle - accommodated in all the best places. Pesticide Outlook, 11 (6). pp. 233-237. ISSN 0956-1250 (Print), 1465-8933 (Online) (doi:

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Preservation of historical buildings is a hot topic, and g e t t i n g
hotter if predictions about global warming and climate
change impact upon the built environment in the way we
think they will. Invasions of exotic insect species and extre m e
population fluctuations of indigenous species are widely
re p o rted around the world. Timber pests are no exception,
and we have already seen termites establish themselves in
Southwest England and observed an increase in the
p revalence of the house longhorn beetle, H y l o t rupes bajulus.
This may be partly due to climate change, but it is also
p robably related to changes in lifestyle. Central heating
systems are now present in most historical buildings. And
coupled with reduced ventilation, it can lead to condensation
and warm e r, more humid environments inside buildings,
c reating a more conducive environment for timber pests.
It is also feared that another European timber pest, the
death-watch beetle (Xestobium rufovillosum), is on the
increase, which is a particular worry for architectural
conservationists as the beetle has a preference for ancient
oak timber found in cathedrals, palaces and stately homes
(Belmain et al., 1998). Historically, beginning with attempts
to treat the roof timbers of Westminster Hall at the beginning
of the 20th century, surface treatment with chemicals has
been employed as the treatment method of choice. Surf a c e
t reatment has proved, however, of very limited
effect in controlling the death-watch beetle in
such historic buildings. As a result, between
1993 and 1997 the European Commission
funded the international collaborative research
project Woodcare, led by English Heritage, to
understand the interaction between beetle
behaviour, timber and fungus with a view to
understand why surface treatments so often fail,
and to evolve alternative environmentally
acceptable treatment methods (Ridout, 1999).
This short article outlines the problems
involved in the effective control of death-watch
beetle and some of the research which has been
carried out to discover why it is so problematical
and to develop better methods of control.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: [1] Copyright: © The Royal Society of Chemistry 2000
Uncontrolled Keywords: death-watch beetle
Subjects: Q Science > Q Science (General)
Q Science > QL Zoology
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Agriculture, Health & Environment Department
Related URLs:
Last Modified: 17 Aug 2015 14:19

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