Definition of deathwatch beetle in English:

deathwatch beetle


  • A small beetle whose larvae bore into dead wood and structural timbers, causing considerable damage. The adult makes a tapping sound like a watch ticking, formerly believed to portend death.

    Xestobium rufovillosum, family Anobiidae

    • ‘Male death-watch beetles bang their heads against the sides of their wooden tunnels to attract females.’
    • ‘Anobiids are similar to lyctids in color and size, but are cylindrical; the common furniture and death-watch beetles belong in this group.’
    • ‘Indeed, the behaviour of death-watch beetle actually makes it more susceptible to surface treatments than common furniture beetle.’
    • ‘The piece of oak pictured left has exit holes of death-watch beetle (larger holes, actual diameter about 3-4 mm) and furniture beetle (smaller holes).’
    • ‘He studied the habits of wasps, death-watch beetles and migrating birds, and corresponded with Hans Sloane on smallpox and the noises made by unborn children in the womb.’


deathwatch beetle

/ˌdɛθwɒtʃ ˈbiːt(ə)l/