Capricorne (long horn beetle) treatment

Appreciate your comments and expertise Chris... still not sure exactly what species we are dealing with, although am pretty certain two of the insects I captured are capricornes, but the others are much smaller, lighter brown, and don't have the two black dots on the abdomen. Maybe I can put some pictures of them somewhere.

It's me who is desolé Robert and Dominique... I mentioned curator instead of conservator. Thanks again for your input Dominique.

I couldn't possibly comment regarding specific companies, only to say some are more profit, as opposed to service orientated.

If you search Pages Jaunes in your area under the category "DĂ©ratisation DĂ©sinsectisation DĂ©sinfection" That's French for Pest Control.

Most people will give you a free devis either on the phone or in person. Don't feel obliged or forced to go with the first person or business unless you have confidence in them.

Usual behaviour, check their diploma, DAPA or Certiphytosanitaire, insurance etc they should also tell you what product, reaction to animals/environment and any antidotes they will use before treatment.

You can research all products online and they will always have (by law) a .pdf Fiche de Sécurité (Safety Data Sheet) which tells you everything you need to know about the product; manufacturer, chemicals, precautions, risks etc.

Please also note, a NPCA (UK) diploma is not valid in France, people trading in France with that or other UK certificates, and using products not ticketed in French, are trading illegally and are not insured for any treatments. They can still prune your roses though!


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Just to add Robert, it's not that I don't think people have issues with the timbers used in their houses, but being the pedant that I am, (I prefer to call it scientific), it's always important that people identity correctly the species involved. The same applies to another recurrent issue, Pine processionary moth, where there is continued confusion and mis-identification with huge numbers of harmless and indeed useful caterpillars being unnecessarily destroyed.

Most, if not all, exit holes in old, dry oak are from when it was either a living tree or in the first 10 years following felling and dry seasoned chestnut is avoided by almost all insects.

The two main "clues" are in DRY and SEASONED.

Later, Chris

Only advise I can give on this is not to use Rentokil. A client/friend of ours did and they have charged her double via a prelevement.Took a great deal of effort to get her a refund. Local guy would be better and even then he's probably going to use Xylophene anyway. So it's just the value of a guarantee in the end.

Oups, desolé!!

Just to put the record straight I was a museum 'conservator' not a curator; conservators take care of the physical care of objects curators or their history. i.e. scientists versus historians.

You're welcome, don't feel you need to keep retreating, a lot of pest controlling is pest controlling. Often less is more.

Just don't go down the route of painting or varnishing the wood,

James' wooden leg, Dominique's curation (sic), Chris Luck and all the other contributors suggest the same advice. I always recommend Chris's web site he has outstanding advice regarding French wildlife. I just butt in whenever someone has a problem!


Thanks Rob, that's great info and very encouraging.... and what you say agrees with several others, especially Dominique who is a museum curator. I plan to continue with the injection in exit holes and surface treatment with gel, and I'm going to be sanding then treating all the flooring. Appreciate all the input and thanks for the offer of PM, I may take you up on that :) Cheers!


I have the French diploma in Pest Control "DAPA" I gave James Higginson advice regarding his wooden leg and we decided injecting wasn't the solution! (James, please feel free to delete this paragraph!!)

By the sounds of it, you have done everything possible and I would suggest doing no more for the time being. Xylophene is cracking stuff, if you've managed to get hold of the gel (for professional use only) and spent the time injecting the holes you've done everything possible.

I don't inject woodwork as I don't believe it to be necessary the "big boys" offer this service as it's big tools, big toys and big profit.

Xylophene from your local bricolage offers a 20 year guarantee, (bizarrely the professional stuff offers a 10 year guarantee!)

You will get activity (powder/sawdust) until the end of the breeding season (May- August), when they surface or lay eggs, they will come in contact with the product and die. If you have a hole with recent dust, just inject it.

Any problems, feel free to PM me, but please don't go down the injection route, adopt a snow leopard instead if you're loaded!


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Thanks again everyone... I will follow up all your thoughts and information a bit later. We have lots of oval shaped exit holes between 4mm and 7mm wide in the beams (which I thought might be chestnut), some 'fresh', and quite a bit of old damage in the floorboards (which are pine). I'm currently replacing several floorboards with new treated pine (had to make them myself as you don't seem to be able to get 27mm thick by 70mm wide boards now) and then back to the beams. Really appreciate all the input and will follow up later.

Ref guarantee - Rentokil salesman said they won't give a guarantee as one of the beams had the end covered for about 2 feet and if they can't access every bit of timber they won't guarantee!

Thanks one and all :) Any further input also welcomed.

About termites, the company I contacted at the time I bought the house (2011) was 'CALLISTO SYSTEM' they were the only ones ready to sell me the traps, all the others wanted to install them at great cost! in the end I did not need any as there was no infestation.

The English Rentokil site does suggest you can get "old" larvae emerging after treatment, something not to be worried about. The larvae from the eggs they might lay would be destroyed by your surface xylo, so there would be no new infection. So whether you need to inject depends on how many larvae you think might be still in the timbers, given that they can be boring for up to 10years! The Rentokil guarantee is 30 years in Britain.

You can buy the equipment on leboncoin ("injection bois" in matériel professionnelle) for about 1000 euro, do the job, then re-sell it or offer your services to friends etc in return for other work. The beetle does only attack softwoods (and poplar, apparently), and the larvae do not survive negative temperatures.

I certainly endorse the point about the cost of insurance adding enormously to the cost of any work. The insurance needs to be given by an independent company in the name of the owner and would need to be capable of assignment to any future owner within the lifetime of the owner. I did literally many hundreds of residential and other refurbishments in the UK very many in timber or partially timber framed buildings. It's not easy or safe if the building is occupied so do it right at the start of a project if at all possible. Get several quotes as they will all be wildly different and we stopped using Rentokil because they were always the most expensive and usually far too expensive. You can find smaller companies in the yellow pages here and they usually have access to insurance policies. If you don't have a guarantee within 10 year currency it will affect resale value here or in the UK. If treating suspended timber floors with covered ceilings (soffits) below you must lift every fifth board to spray the joists. BTW I didn't follow my professional advice and treated the timber floor in my first French cottage myself with brush applied Xylophene in 1972 and I still own the house and it seems to be OK! However any purchaser will try and knock a few thousand euros off if you don't have the correct guarantee, insulation, up to norms etc etc. If you put a place on the market it's best to say "as seen" in French!

Can I ask that people read this to really understand the facts? Especially before being conned into spending money.

Capricorne des Maisons (Hylotrupes bajulus) and Grand Capricorne (Cerambyx cerdo).



The specialist companies always charge several thousand Euros because you are effectively paying their insurance premiums for giving you a guarantee.

Interesting, where do you get the traps?

I think that xylophene is so potent that any bug that walks on it will die. But I do not want to dissuade you of injecting the stuff in holes. It cannot do any harm. We bought our house 3 years ago the attic had been capricornes and anobius punctatus (vrillettes) paradise. but there was not a single live bugs. I understood that the previous owner had liberally spayed xylophene. Just in case we did what I advised you to do: vacuum, spray. No sign of anything yet. About termites, it exists now poisonous traps if one termite walks through it it poisons the whole colony so do not let yourself be dragged into expensive treatments against them.

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Now then, now then! I hope we are not disallowed from using any words or phrases used by the former " BBC personality" :-)