‘Woodworm’ is the name given to a group of insect species whose larvae dwell inside timber, and eat their way out when hatched. This process leaves a number of holes and tunnels in timber, in which the beetles continue to leave their eggs. When a woodworm infestation takes hold in a property, this cycle can cause tremendous damage and severely weaken the building’s structural timber, which can put the occupants at risk.
Luckily, for those unfortunate enough to be affected by a woodworm infestation, help is at hand. Using a domestic and commercial woodworm treatment company is a readily available, affordable and risk-free approach to eradicating a woodworm infestation.
The primary method of woodworm treatment woodworm specialists is to apply an insecticidal formula to the wood, which eliminates the insects on contact as they pass through the timber. There’s none of the clichéd notion of having to cover your furniture in polythene and having to stay with the in-laws for a few days – treated rooms can be reoccupied after just one hour.
Before undergoing woodworm treatment, it is important to first identify which species of woodworm is attacking your timber, as different insecticides and pesticides may need to be used depending on the woodworm species. The species of woodworm present in timber may also be a sign of other problems, such as damp.
Common Furniture Beetle (Anobium punctatum)
This is the most common form of woodworm beetle in the UK. Holes left by the common furniture beetle are up to 2mm in diameter and leave small piles of bore dust, more commonly known as frass. Common furniture beetle attacks are often a sign of damp problems, as this type of woodworm thrives in these conditions – though it can infest any kind of wood.
Wood Boring Weevil (Euophryum confine/Pentarthrum hutton)
The wood boring weevil tends to prefer damp and rotten timber, and is often present alongside cellar fungus, a common form of wet rot. Wood boring weevil leave ragged exit holes approximately 1mm in diameter. Where a wood boring weevil infestation occurs in conjunction with wet rot, it is imperative to treat the wet rot as a priority, as wood boring weevil will be able to return if the wet rot is not eliminated.
Death Watch Beetle (Xestobium rufovillosum)
This alarmingly-named species of woodworm is the species most commonly associated with dry rot. A sign that death watch beetle is present in the home can be the tapping noise males make against the wood in order to attract mates. Hardwoods such as oak or elm, often used in structural timbers, are favoured by the death watch beetle, but adjacent softwoods, like floorboards, are often also susceptible if death watch beetle is present. Much like wet rot and wood boring weevil, it is just as important to treat the dry rot which can often be found alongside this particular woodworm species, lest it return.
House Longhorn Beetle (Hylotrupes bajulus)
Unusually prevalent in Camberley, Surrey, the house longhorn beetle leaves oval holes between 6mm and 10mm in diameter, and tend to attack roof timbers. Older homes are particularly at risk of infestation as new local building regulations require new roof timbers to be pre-treated to prevent this particular woodworm species attacking.
Powder Post Beetle (Lyctus brunneus)
The powder post beetle feeds on new woods with a high starch content, and has been cited by some in the US as second only to termites as the most destructive creature to wooden structures and furniture. Powder post beetle leave holes of up to 2mm, a similar size to the common furniture beetle, but this species of woodworm can be distinguished by the frass it leaves – unlike the common furniture beetle’s more gritty frass, the powder post beetle leaves behind fine frass, similar in texture to flour or talcum powder.
If left alone, a woodworm infestation can have devastating effects on both domestic and commercial properties, and can also be indicative of further structural problems which require attention. DIY treatments are inadvisable, and can often make a bad situation worse. The best course of action is to utilise the services of a property maintenance company specialising in damp and woodworm treatments.