Woodworm is an insect that live in moist wood but, if you think it is actually a worm, you would be wrong! The woodworm is the generic name given to the larvae of a beetle that lays its eggs in the wood. They develop and hatch unseen, but it is their exit holes that we see and associate with woodworm.
Finding you have woodworm can mean expensive repairs as sometimes, the holes are so small that by the time we spot them, the infestation has already got hold of your furniture or wooden structures within the property.
So, how do you know you have an active infestation and what can be done about it?
The tell-tale signs of woodworm
Eggs and larvae of the beetle is not seen until it emerges and hence, it is not possible to tell if you have an active infestations. And, if you think woodworm affects only old properties, think again…
Look out for:
- Small, round holes in woodwork, including furniture and wooden beams in the home
- Around these holes could be a dust, known as frass, and it is the waste caused by the emerging woodworm
- Some structures affected by woodworm are also ‘crumbly’ and dry
- You may beetles around the home; these could be the adults who have emerged from the wood
- You may also find the dust, or frass, under furniture but may not spot any homes; this still suggests that you have woodworm, which is active within the interior of the wood, but has not emerged yet
- Woodworm bores holes in the wood to emerge as adult beetles which happens between May and September
- Holes can be blocked during winter, with masking tape for example, and if by the spring, you find adult beetles have emerged then you know the infestation is active
- Moist wood is the choice of adult beetles to lay their eggs and so keeping an eye on the moisture content of our wood is the way to prevent infestations too; anything below 11% moisture content is unlikely to appeal to woodworm but anything that has a high reading, above 18%, could spell disaster
What to do about woodworm
There are many options when it comes to treatment but all treatments such start with identifying the species of beetle, as well as deciding if the infestation is active or not. Once treatment has taken place, depending on the damage, we also suggest getting a structural survey or timber specialist to take a look at any wooden structure to ensure their strength and integrity has not been compromised.
Some methods include:
- An application of pesticides to the surface of the wood
- Some items of furniture, depending on the species, can be frozen to kill the eggs and larvae
- Fumigation is also an option, but is only effective in some cases on certain species.
Woodworm can cause thousands of pounds worth of damage before you even know you have a problem; if you have discovered some holes and think woodworm may be the culprit, don’t waste time and money on over the counter ‘remedies’ – call in Mr Pesty and get a firm diagnosis, immediately!