death watch beetle (Xestobium spp.)

Species of wood borer infesting the dead and decaying wood of broadleaf trees, sometimes found in building timbers (when known as a kind of woodworm) and firewood. The beetle favours sapwood. The name is said to have arisen from an association with the sleepless night of a vigil (when all was quiet and the clicking could be heard).

This definition is abridged from A – Z of tree terms: A companion to British arboriculture.
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