Are you kept awake at night worrying about the damage woodworm could be causing to your home? Then worry no more! We have prepared a simple guide on how best to deal with woodworm problems, including the most suitable treatment methods in order to effectively eliminate the pests from your property.
Read on to discover our top ten tips for dealing with woodworm. If you are still unsure of the best approach to tackle your woodworm problems after reading the tips below then we are here to help. Feel free to give us a call on 0808 273 2138, or message us online to speak to our woodworm treatment specialists.
Our woodworm treatment top tips
1 – Understand the woodworm life cycle
Our experience has taught us that many people mistake the signs of woodworm for something completely different, so let’s start at the beginning. Despite the name, woodworm are not worms and are in fact the larval stage of several different species of woodworm beetle.
Almost all of the structural damage these little critters can cause will occur during this juvenile stage where the woodworm are hidden from sight, buried deep into the wood.
Having spent up to five years merrily munching through your timbers, the larvae will then ‘pupate’ or transform into a fully formed adult beetle and burrow its way out, leaving behind the tell tale sign of little round exit holes in the wood.
2 – Exit holes alone do not tell you if the infestation is active or not
The small exit holes woodworm make as they chew their way out of the wood are usually the first thing anyone with a woodworm infestation will notice. Unfortunately, It is a very common misconception for people to believe that the presence of these holes means the woodworm is inactive.
Instead, once the Beetles escape, the process can begin all over again as they search for another suitable wooden surface to lay their eggs in, which is why exit holes alone are not much of an indication of whether you have an active woodworm infestation or not.
3 – Identify an active woodworm infestation
The real way to see if woodworm is active in the wood is to look out for any frass, which is the name given to woodworm droppings.
The droppings look like a fine sawdust and will usually be around the holes in the infected wood. It is not the most glamorous job in the world but it will help you find out if the woodworm infestation is active and whether you require a treatment plan or not.
4 – Be extra vigilant during woodworm season
Although woodworm can emerge from their timber chambers at any time of the year, the months between April and September are commonly referred to as woodworm season due to the fact that this is when they are most active.
If you have previously noted exit holes in your property but you are not sure if the infestation is still live or not, then woodworm season is the period you are most likely to spot the adult beetles scurrying around your home. You should also pay attention to the presence of any dead beetles around wooden fixtures, fittings and window sills.
5 – Damp Timber is a risk factor
While woodworm can be found in dry timber they tend to have a preference for wood that has been softened by exposure to damp.
For example, the descriptively titled Wood Boring Weevil and the House Longhorn Beetle are commonly associated with attacking wood that has become soft and brittle due to exposure to damp and wet rot.
Other species such as the common furniture beetle tend to like old furniture and loft timbers, while the eerily named Death Watch beetle goes for hardwoods like ash and oak. Death Watch Beetles also have their infamous noise making as a sign of their presence.
To help you identify the different species of beetle and determine whether they are present in your home or not you can visit our woodworm identification page which goes into more detail describing each of the different beetles.
6 – Damaged timber do not necessarily need to be removed
Just because you have a woodworm issue does not mean you necessarily need to take away the timbers. Again, it really depends on the type of woodworm that is attacking the timbers however, it typically takes a very long time before the timber loses its strength.
Even if the timber has been structurally compromised, there are wood treatments and solutions out there that are cost effective to either cut away and replace damaged areas or economically repair them such as our unique resin repair techniques.
One thing we should mention is that if you are dealing with potentially weakened structural timbers, then we would suggest not to attempt this yourself and seek professional woodworm treatment advice.
7 – 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.
8 – Be Prepared to Get Rid of some Furniture
This might sound obvious but we would strongly advise that you remove all furniture pieces and non-structural timbers that are woodworm infested or that you suspect might have a woodworm issue. This is simply to help minimise or prevent any further woodworm issues within the property.
As a tip, woodworm is usually only found among the upper layer of the infected wood, leaving the surrounding layers of the wood untouched. If this is the case then it is 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 is unlikely that even after a successful treatment that you will be able to salvage the furniture. The only course of action then is to get rid of it.
9 – Prevention is key
Prevention is key but that is easier said than done. If you have recently had some form of woodworm treatment then there are some tips you can take to help prevent another outbreak.
Key to this is to control the humidity within your property. Woodworm generally prefer timber with a higher moisture level. By keeping your property well ventilated (and thus the timber within the property well ventilated) you will help to alleviate any further woodworm infestations.
As an additional prevention measure, you can always test the humidity of the timbers within the property using a timber moisture meter. You can typically hire these or you can purchase them for approx £50. To give you an idea of what you should be concerned with when using one of these devices, anything over a 20% moisture content reading is something to be concerned about. Anything below 12% is ideal.
10 – You may need professional woodworm treatment
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 usually involves spraying chemicals.
In the case of a mass outbreak of woodworm, structural damage can occur and rather than attempt the job on your own, we would recommend that you get in touch with a qualified woodworm treatment specialist capable of attending the site and applying Health and Safety Executive certified woodworm treatment solution to affected areas.
Want to learn more or need further help?
Hungry to learn more about woodworm? If so, click on the information links below:
If you simply just want to have a chat to discuss your woodworm problems or to arrange a consultation, simply click to get in touch with your nearest office of Peter Cox team or you can also call 0808 273 2138 to talk to the experts. Alternatively, if you already know that you need expert assistance then you can book a survey online now.