What Is Wordworm And How To Treat It

Woodworm is the generic term used to describe a number of wood boring insects but mainly applies to what was commonly called the furniture beetle. All wood boring insects are commonly known under the generic term ‘woodworm’ with four main types that are found in the timbers of a property:

Common Furniture Beetle
House Longhorn Beetle
Death Watch Beetle
Wood Boring Weevil

All of the above can cause considerable damage with the two main being the Common Furniture Beetle (Anobium Punctatum) and the House Longhorn Beetle (Hylotrupes Bajulus).

How Do You get Woodworm?

The female of all the above species will lay their eggs in moist, nutritious timber; normally recently felled trees. The larvae will then burrow their way below the surface.

The Common Furniture Beetle is also known to infest seasoned timber depending upon heat and humidity and can remain hidden for 3-5 years, pupate then emerge as an adult.

The House Longhorn Beetle can take up to 8 years to pupate and due to its size is the most destructive.

All wood boring insects survive on the nutrients within the wood, so as the timber seasons and the wood dries out the insects exit to start the breeding cycle again. The Death Watch Beetle (Xestobium Refovillosum) normally attacks hardwoods; it derived its name as it was commonly found in the oak beams of churches.

Finally, the Wood Boring Weevil loves damp conditions and is usually found where the wood has started to decompose due to wood rotting fungi.

How Do I tell If I Have Woodworm?

The first time you find out that you had an infestation is after the insect has left. It would have eaten its way through the timber, weakening the internal structure and then emerged through a flight hole leaving ‘frass’, a powdery or course dust around the hole. Depending upon the type of insect these flight holes can vary between 1-10mm.

An outbreak in the 1960’s of Longhorn Beetle in Surrey, soon spread to the local Shepperton area which subsequently led to a change in building practices nationwide, with all construction timber thereafter being pre-treated.

How Do I Treat Woodworm?

It is quite rare for an infestation to reoccur, as the beetle would have left once there is no nutritional content in the wood and contrary to popular belief, it is unlikely that an infestation of neighbouring timbers occurs. However as a specialist timber treatment company we recommend treating all exposed timber as a precautionary measure and mortgage lenders also frequently request this.

If you have had a severe infestation of Common Furniture Beetle or especially Longhorn Beetle, it is worth having the integrity of any structural timbers checked, especially before you plan to move or commit yourself on a purchase.

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