For anyone with wooden furniture or wood in their rooms, the idea of an infestation of woodworm is a nightmare. Many people think that the best way to detect woodworm is to listen for it as they make some kind of noise. But is this true – do woodworm make a noise? Let’s have a look at the most common types of woodworm in the UK:
Common furniture beetle
The most commonly found type of woodworm is called the Common Furniture Beetle. It measures from 2.7 to 4.5mm in length and has a brown body with a rounded black head. It predominantly attacks softwood timber and leaves behind holes that are around 1-2mm in diameter, with a preference for damp wood rather than dry wood, particularly plywood in old furniture. It is most commonly found in damp floorboard, loft timbers and in old furniture. The beetle lays its eggs in the holes and in the grain in the timber and it is the grub or larvae stage that causes the real damage.
House Longhorn beetle
The House Longhorn beetle originated in Europe but has spread around the world – though it not normally found outside an area measuring about a 50miles radius from Camberley in Surrey. The larvae feeds on the wood, maturing in spring and leaving through the 6-10mm holes that the adult cuts for them. They are black or brown on their body with two distinctive marks on their backs or wing cases. They are most commonly found in roof timbers and favour softwood species of sapwood. The holes they makes are significantly larger than those of the Common Furniture beetle are.
Wood Boring Weevil
The Wood Boring Weevil is only found in damp and partially decayed wood. The beetles are 2-5mm long and 1mm diameter with distinctive ‘antler’ like feelers on their heads. Because they only infest partially decayed wood, then the wood rot is of more importance and relevance toy house owners. Once the rotten timbers have been removed, then replaced and the cause of the damp problem cured, the beetle dies away.
Of the four main species of woodworm in the UK, none of the 3 above can be heard – it is only the Death Watch beetle that makes any noise and it is actually this noise that gives it its name. The male beetle attracts a mate by making a tapping or ticking sound during the summer and this noise has become associated with quiet, sleepless nights. Hence they are named for the vigil or watch beside a dying person as their time ticks away.
Death Watch Beetle
The Death Watch beetle is bigger than the Common Furniture beetle at around 7mm long, with its larvae being even larger at around 11mm in length. They prefer very damp conditions; particularly if there is fungal decay such as wet rot involved and thrive when it has these conditions. Its favourite woods include European hardwoods such as oak, ash and chestnut that have been softened by rot. Larvae again cause the damage, tunnelling into the wood so that there is often more damage inside than outside. In the UK, this beetle is most common in the south and central parts of the country but is known to infest the whole of the UK.
If you would like more information about woodworm or any other maintenance problems, please feel free to contact Peter Cox to book a survey appointment or call us on 0808 273 2138, and we will be more than happy to help.