Woodworm beetle

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Worried about woodworm in your timbers, floorboards or furniture? Our woodworm guide provides all the help and advice you need to make sure your home is woodworm free!

Woodworm is one of the most common causes of damage in timber framed buildings and it can have serious structural effects if left untreated. Anobium Punctatum, aka “the common furniture beetle”, is the main perpetrator of woodworm damage in the UK and leaves some easily spotted signs of its activity. However, it is possible to miss an active woodworm infestation in hidden, humid, areas of a home or commercial property such as under floorboards or in lofts.

We provide expert surveys to diagnose the problem and determine if the infestation is active or not, and if necessary, professional treatments specially designed to purge your property of woodworm with the minimum of fuss. Best of all, our woodworm treatments carry a 20 year guarantee for complete peace of mind.

Following current Government guidance Peter Cox can still perform woodworm treatment services in homes and commercial premises while taking all necessary precautions with regards to social distancing and use of protective equipment. To find out how we can help you today while remaining safe, please get in touch with our experts by calling 0800 633 5712 or click the button below to book a survey.

What is woodworm?

Despite the name woodworm are not actually worms at all, rather it is the generic name for the larva of certain species of beetles. These larvae are small, wriggly and white, similar to maggots but slightly bigger with a curved “C-shaped” body. However, it is very rare that you will ever see a woodworm larvae, as they tend to stay burrowed in timber until they emerge as a fully grown beetle.

Woodworm go through different phases as they undergo their transformation into an adult, the life cycle of woodworm is as follows:

  1. The adult beetle lays its eggs in crevices and open joints in wood
  2. Larval grub spends years chewing through the wood feeding on cellulose and leaving it structurally weakened in the process
  3. Larva forms pupation chamber near the surface where it will transform into a beetle
  4. The adult beetle bores out of wood, mates and finds a wooden surface to begin the process all over again

You can see these stages animated below, or you may want to read more about the different stages of woodworm by taking a look at our woodworm beetles page.

Woodworm lifecycle

What causes woodworm?

In nature, wood boring beetles live on the forest floor and their larvae feed on decaying wood from trees. This means the conditions inside occupied properties are generally unsuitable for common furniture beetles to lay their eggs as they require a fairly specific environment to complete their lifecycle.

So, how do properties end up with woodworm? Wood-boring beetles in homes and commercial properties are usually drawn to damp timber caused by leaks or high relative humidity caused by inadequate ventilation. The common furniture beetle can be found in soft and hardwoods, but in almost every instance the wood will be damp and unvarnished. This makes the wood similar to what they would find in their natural habitat, simple to lay eggs into and easy for the larvae to feed.

The common furniture beetle gets its name because in days gone by the most significant damage caused by woodworm was in beech furniture and you will often find signs of woodworm damage in antique or upcycled furniture as a result. The woodworm in these pieces is often long gone, but it is possible to bring an active infestation into your home with a furniture purchase.

What does woodworm look like?

If you want to know what a woodworm infestation looks like and whether you have on in your home then we would advise that you check your timbers. Signs of a woodworm infestation can be found anywhere there is timber in the home. Typically that could mean the roof rafters, floor joists, floor boards, skirting boards and of course any wooden furniture.

The 6 signs of woodworm infestation are:

  • Exit holes - Where the adult beetle has escaped
  • Frass - A damp material reminiscent of sawdust
  • Tunnels - Where the larvae has munched through the timber
  • Cracking timber - Damage caused by the tunneling
  • Emerging beetles - In the summer beetles leave to mate
  • Dead beetles - Adult beetles have short lives and will die near to where they emerged

Identifying the signs of woodworm can be complicated as most people find that they first become aware that they have a woodworm problem when they spot the small round exit holes in their timber. Unfortunately this alone does not tell you if you still have an active infestation. The biggest indicator of an active and present woodworm problem is evidence of ‘frass’ or bore dust beside the exit hole. To find out more about the signs of woodworm and identifying active infestation you can visit our signs of woodworm page.

What do woodworm beetles look like?

If you would like to know what the adult beetles look like then our woodworm beetles page will provide pictures of the individual species alongside details of distinguishing features and typical characteristics of where they like to lay their eggs and what type of wood they prefer. The page contains profiles of:

  • Common furniture beetle
  • Death watch beetle
  • Wood boring weevil
  • House longhorn beetle

Woodworm treatment - how to get rid of woodworm

Our treatment process has been ratified by industry trade bodies such as the Property Care Association, Which? Trusted Trader and more to effectively eliminate woodworm in roofs, floors and staircases. With decades of experience solving woodworm problems in properties across the UK, our process gives you complete peace of mind that our woodworm treatment is safe, fast and reliable.

Our full and comprehensive woodworm treatment service includes.

  • A survey by a local industry accredited surveyor to locate the infestation, determine whether it is active or not and identify accurately the species involved.
  • Once an active woodworm infestation has been positively identified we offer woodworm treatment solutions that can be used on either bare wood OR painted or varnished wood.
  • If  structurally necessary, infested timbers will be cut away and replaced, or economically repaired by skilled joiners using resin repair techniques.
  • Our treatments are backed by real and meaningful 20 year guarantees.

Woodworm in furniture

If you have spotted exit holes and other signs of woodworm in your furniture then you may have an active infestation in your furniture.

If the furniture has already reached the point where the woodworm have caused it to become crumbly or make a cracking noise when you lift it up then we would suggest that it is beyond the point of repair and the best course of action would be to dispose of the furniture in a tip where the beetles wouldn't have the chance to afflict other parts of your home.

However, if you have just noticed an exit hole or two then there are DIY woodworm treatments available in supermarkets and shops that should be effective when the problem is localised to small areas such as the leg of a chair or table.

Woodworm in floorboards

The biggest concern here is that it is difficult to identify the extent of the infestation given that woodworm larvae can live for up to six years tunneling through your floorboards and structural timber. If the infestation is serious then your floorboards could become structurally compromised and you will need to replace them.

In order to determine the size and scale of your woodworm problem - or even to identify whether the infestation is current and active or not, we would advise that it would be sensible to consult with our trained and qualified woodworm specialists to determine the best way to ensure the structural safety of your floorboards and timber and to resign your woodworm worries to the past.

Is woodworm dangerous?

The amount of damage caused to your property by woodworm will vary greatly depending on the species of beetle involved and the type of wood they have infested. It is not uncommon for extreme cases of woodworm to inflict alarming damage that can result in extensive repair work, including removal and replacement of floorboards and joists necessary for the structural integrity of the building.

However not all signs of woodworm are necessarily a cause for concern, and even if you identify suspicious exit holes in your timber, it could very well be that these mark the site of a previous infestation that is long gone.

Our woodworm customer reviews

Peter Cox are one of the best reviewed  property preservation firms on Trustpilot - one of the most respected review platforms in the UK! Take a look at some sample reviews below to find out why our customers trust us to deal with their woodworm problems.

Contact your local woodworm specialists

If you suspect that you may have a woodworm issue, then we are here to help. Our fully qualified specialist surveyors will be able to determine the cause of the problem and recommend the most appropriate course of action. If necessary we have a team of experienced technicians ready to get started resolving the issue for you.
Get in touch with your local Peter Cox branch by giving us a call on 0800 633 5712 for some help and advice. Alternatively, click the button below to book a survey.

Author: Steve Jameson CSRT CSSW

Steve is our National Operations Manager and has been applying his expert eye to woodworm infestations in homes and commercial properties for more than 30 years. Steve's years of experience have informed the professional help and advice Peter Cox offer when it comes to wood boring insects and structural timber.

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