Typical signs of woodworm including exit holes, powdery dust and signs of bettle activity

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What do woodworm look like?

Spotting the signs of a woodworm infestation early will help you prevent these pests from causing serious damage to your property. If an infestation is allowed to continue untreated, it will lead to weakened timbers. This can ultimately compromise the integrity of the building.

Thankfully, there are a variety of ways to identify woodworm and begin the necessary woodworm treatment to eradicate the problem. If you suspect you have an infestation in your home, then get in touch by clicking the button bellow to book a survey. Alternatively, continue reading to see if you recognise any of the signs of wood boring beetles.

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Signs of woodworm

The following guide will talk you through the signs of a woodworm issue in order to help you identify if you have a current and active problem in your property. After our hints and tips you will see a gallery of infestation pictures to help you cross reference.

If you do recognise these woodworm signs then you may require a professional woodworm survey. This will determine whether any woodworm treatment or professional solutions are needed. This may be required to ensure that no more damage can be done to your structural or decorative timbers and that the woodworm larvae are exterminated from your home.

woodworm flight holes, or exit holes in wood.

Sign 1 - small round exit holes

Tiny holes, between 1 and 3mm diameter, in the timber are perhaps the most obvious sign that you have a woodworm problem. These flight holes are created when the woodworm larvae pupate and hatch into adult beetles, boring their way to the surface of the timber to mate with other adult beetles and reproduce. Starting the whole woodworm lifecycle all over again.

Frass, or bore dust at the site of a woodworm exit hole

Sign 2 - frass (bore dust)

Bore-dust, also known as frass is the term given to the small, fine and powdery dust that is often found near woodworm flight holes. This is actually the droppings that the larvae produce as the burrow and chew their way through your wooden structures. If you see any emergence holes in your floorboards or other wood or timber then be sure to check frequently for evidence of larvae frass, because this is a key sign that the infestation site is currently live.

Woodworm boring tunnels in timber

Sign 3 - Tunnels in the wood

Tunnels left by woodworm beetles as they make their way through your timber are a clear sign of a woodworm problem, but they are, naturally, the least visible sign of woodworm and we certainly wouldn’t recommend breaking open timber to check. However, if you do notice tunnels in exposed parts of timber, we would recommend getting a professional opinion.

timber fragile and breaking after woodworm infestation

Sign 4 - weak or damaged wood

Damaged timber is caused by exit holes and tunnels building up to the point where timber becomes structurally unstable. It is important though not to confuse woodworm damage with damage caused by dry rot or wet rot as these require their own unique and vastly different treatments.

Woodworm sign beetle activity or dead beetles outside of timber

Sign 5 - beetle activity or dead beetles outside of timber

Adult common furniture beetles emerge from timber between May and October. It is possible to see live beetles emerging from the timbers and looking for a mate during this time but you are more likely to spot dead beetles near timber that is infested. Steely Blue beetles are another potential indicator of a woodworm infestation as these are a predator of the Common Furniture beetle.

Images of a woodworm infestation

In their early stages woodworm infestations can be quite difficult to spot. Below are a selection of images displaying what woodworm infestations can look like in the property, however it should be noted that just because you have spotted exit holes or frass in the home, that does not necessarily mean that the site still contains a live infestation. Woodworm spread to other areas of your home, so if you notice live beetles, this would suggest the woodworm are searching for nearby timber to lay eggs.

Signs of woodworm

How to identify woodworm

Woodworm larvae usually have curved bodies and a creamy white colour. It is uncommon to ever see larvae. This is because larvae stay within the timber until they are fully grown. It is more likely that you will only see adult beetles after they have emerged from the timber.

There any several different species of woodworm beetle and each have their own distinct appearance.

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

You can find out more about how to identify different types of wood boring beetle species on main woodworm page.

What to do if you think you have woodworm

If the signs of woodworm in your property correspond with the signs of woodworm listed above, then it is strongly recommended that you act now and contact our team of fully trained and qualified woodworm specialists to prevent further damage.

To find out more about our industry accredited woodworm services you may wish to review our woodworm treatment and woodworm survey pages.  As the market leaders in the industry, Peter Cox is the name to trust when it comes to woodworm and property preservation.

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Next Steps

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