These are small, cylindrical beetles with a large thorax. They can be distinguished from the furniture beetles by their angled antennae.
The adults emerge in the spring and search for diseased or newly felled trees, where they gnaw their way into the bark. After mating the female makes a tunnel in the bark and forms an egg-gallery with small niches, in each of which she lays an egg. When the larvae hatch each one gnaws its own tunnel at right angles to the maternal egg-gallery.
These tunnel systems are often seen when the bark is removed from dead branches or trunks. Some bark beetles keep exclusively to the bark, others work in the layer between the bark and the wood, and each species produces its special pat- tern. True bark beetles are only seen indoors when brought in with timber that still has the bark on, e.g. firewood, and they cannot attack worked timber