Dealing with woodworm can be a difficult task especially if it’s not caught early enough, and many people don’t really know a lot about woodworm so they may not pick up on the early signs of it. In fact if you were to ask a random group of people if they knew what woodworm actually is it’s quite likely at least one person will believe it is a type of worm.
While woodworm is in fact the generic name given to the wood-eating larvae and grubs of many species of beetle. The larvae and grubs of these beetles use the wood as a source of food and a place to lay their eggs once they have matured.
There is a theory that some woodworms actually prefer to attack wood with a high moisture content – and in fact two species actually required wet decayed timber, so woodworm is typically an added factor in cases of damp. The most noticeable sign of a woodworm infestation is the appearance of small holes appearing on the surface of the wood. These holes vary in size but are typically between 1 millimetre and 2.5 millimetres.
Woodworm can spread quickly and can cause serve structural and cosmetic damage if it isn’t treated quickly. So:
How do I deal with Woodworm?
There’s a number or ways to go about treating a woodworm infestation – including making use of our own woodworm treatment services – and here are our top ten tips for dealing with the issue.
1 – The Holes Aren’t a Sign they’ve Left
The small holes woodworm make when they’re burrowing out of the wood are usually the first thing anyone with a woodworm infestation will notice. However, many people also believe this to be a sign that the woodworm have left the wood.
It’s a very common misconception to believe that the presence of these holes means the woodworm is inactive. But actually, it’s very likely the original woodworm has left it’s offspring behind in the wood. The real way to see if woodworm is active in the wood is to look out for any droppings.
It’s not the most glamourous job in the world but it will help you find out whether the woodworms are active or not. The droppings look like a fine sawdust and will usually be around the holes in the infected wood.
2 – Damp is not always Necessary for Woodworm
While woodworm thrives in damp conditions, it isn’t always needed for woodworm to be present in your furniture. So don’t think that just because you aren’t experiencing any issues with damp that you’ll be safe from a woodworm infestation.
3 – Insecticides don’t always Work
While insecticides can be used to treat woodworm infestations you should be aware that they are not one hundred percent guaranteed to work. This is because surface applied insecticides don’t have much penetration.
Usually, surface applied insecticides will only penetrate the top one or two millimetres of the wood so while it may kill some of the woodworm as they leave the wood when mature adults, it is unlikely to reach the larvae deep inside.
4 – The Type of Woodworm is Important
From first glance, all types of woodworm may seem the same, but don’t let a quick glance fool you – the type of woodworm is very important. For example, the common furniture beetle tends to like old furniture and loft timbers, while the Death Watch beetle goes for hardwoods like ash and oak – they also have their infamous noise making as a sign of their presence.
Both these types of beetle can cause serve damage if left long enough, but they can be dealt with if treated quickly, while the House Longhorn beetle can cause severe structural damage more quickly if left undetected and will often be more difficult to deal with.
5 – Prevention is Key
Once you’ve dealt with your woodworm infestation you need to make sure you prevent another outbreak from happening. While it’s true that woodworm isn’t always caused by damp (it can be caused by an outside infection) damp does help the woodworms thrive.
So you should make sure to monitor the levels of damp and moisture after an outbreak. A good way of doing this would be to use a timber moisture meter – any reading above 18 percent is an indicator that your wood is at risk of decay and then also from woodworm.
6 – ‘Contact Insecticides’ can Work
While it might not always be suitable and safety measures should be observed if you do go ahead and try it, the treatment with ‘Insecticide’ is a popular way of treating a woodworm infestation. This method involves painting or spraying the infected area with a fluid that will coat the surfaces and fill the holes in the wood which will kill the insects before they can come out to breed.
7 – You may need Professional Help
While you can sometimes treat woodworm on your own, in many cases you should get the job carried out by a professional. This is because the treatment needs to be very thorough and involves spraying chemicals. In the case of a mass outbreak of woodworm structural damage can occur and you should not even attempt the job on your own and instead got straight to a professional.
8 – Use ‘Vapour Strip’ Fly Traps
It’s a slightly unusual treatment to be sure but using Vapour Strip ‘fly traps’ can actually aid you in getting rid of the woodworm beetles. Placing the fly traps in loft spaces and in under-ventilated areas of your home or workplace will increase the odds that the ‘fly traps’ will kill the emerging adult beetles.
9 – Don’t panic!
While woodworm can be difficult to treat sometimes, if you can catch the problem early enough it can be fast and relatively easy to deal with. However, if you don’t it is important not to panic, just get a treatment plan underway as soon as possible.
10 – Be Prepared to Get Rid of some Furniture
Woodworm is usually only found amongst the upper layer of the infected wood, leaving the surrounding layers of the wood untouched. If this is the case then it’s possible that the wood item infected will still be quite strong and capable of being salvaged after the wood is treated.
However, if the wood starts to crumble or break off when touched or handled, then it’s unlikely that even after a successful treatment that you’ll be able to salvage the furniture. The only course of action then is to get rid of it.
Click for more about woodworm identification. To discuss your woodworm problems or to arrange a consultation please get in touch with your nearest office of Peter Cox Property Services or you can also call 0808 273 2138 to talk to the experts and we’ll send a surveyor with local knowledge.