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

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Signs of woodworm

Spotting the signs of a woodworm infestation early will help you prevent these pests causing any serious damage to the property. If allowed to continue untreated however, severe cases of woodworm will lead to weakened timbers that can ultimately compromise the integrity of the building.  

Thankfully, there are a variety of ways to identify woodworm and begin the necessary treatment to eradicate the problem. If you suspect you have a woodworm in your home then get in touch by sending in an online enquiry or continue reading to see if you recognise any of the signs of woodworm or woodworm larvae.

How to identify woodworm and woodworm larvae

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

If you do recognise these signs then you may require a professional woodworm survey to determine whether any treatment or professional solutions are needed 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.

Woodworm 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

Woodworm sign 2 - Frass - powdery dust

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

Woodworm boring tunnels in timber

Woodworm sign 3 - Tunnels in the timber

Tunnels left by woodworm 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

Woodworm sign 4 - Weak or damaged timber or floorboards

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

Woodworm 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.

Signs of woodworm

What do woodworm look like

There any several different types 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 our what is 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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