Woodworm on a piece of timber

Do I have a woodworm infestation?

29 May 2019

Now that the warmer weather is upon us we have seen a rise in the number of calls from people asking for our advice with woodworm related problems in their property. The key is to stop woodworm before they cause irreparable structural damage by identifying an infestation as early as possible.

What is woodworm?

Firstly, do you know what woodworm are? The term woodworm refers to the larvae of any type of wood-boring beetle. Here in the UK, the most common forms of woodworm are the Common Furniture Beetle (Anobium punctatum), Deathwatch Beetle (Xestobium rufuvillosum), House Longhorn Beetle (Hylotrupes bajulus) and Powder Post Beetle (Lyctus brunneus).

BeetleThe holes that are commonly associated with a woodworm infestation are made by the adult woodworm beetles. The woodworm makes the holes as they exit the wood. The woodworm flight season tends to be between May and September.

Did you know?

The amount of time larvae spend beneath the surface of the timber is 4 years and 5,000 homes a week are treated each week for woodworm.

Who should I speak to?

It is always a good idea to get a woodworm specialist to identify the correct type of woodworm before you decide on any form of woodworm treatment. Not all woodworm beetles or larvae are harmful and a qualified woodworm specialist would be able to advise you on the type of infestation and the best course of action to remedy the situation.

A certified Surveyor of Timber & Dampness in Buildings (CSTDB) will survey the exterior of the property, identifying any potential defects that may lead to damp ingress or timber decay in the future­. This includes examining the chimney pot, roof and rainwater goods and the sub­floor ventilation of the property. Next, where carpets and floorboards can easily be pulled back the surveyor will then examine the subfloor void and the condition of the timbers.

Timbers on the first floor of the building will be examined for signs of fungal decay (such as dry rot) or wood-boring beetle infestation (such as woodworm). The surveyor will also examine into the roof void for signs of dampness, fungal decay or beetle infestation and then create a full written report. The report will detail any issues found and suggested work that should be carried out. This then gives you the opportunity to ask any questions you may have.

How do I prevent further woodworm infestations?

Woodworm prefers timber with high moisture content, as it makes the wood easier to chew.  The key is to keep the level of moisture in your timber as low as possible by eliminating areas of damp within the property.

In addition, furniture made from good quality heartwood is more resistant. Common furniture larvae only eat the outer sapwood, because of its nutrients. The other risk to avoid is bringing woodworm into your house. Always check new antique purchases for any evidence of worm and keep any stored firewood outdoors. You don’t want to invite a woodworm family to settle in, and eat you out of house and home, literally.

In need of further woodworm advice from Timberwise

Having a woodworm infestation is a problem for any homeowner and if left untreated can cause severe structural problems to the integrity of the property. There are a number of different types of wood-boring insects, which is why contacting a specialist for advice will help identify which beetle is causing damage to your property and what treatment is need to rectify the problem. To get in touch with Timberwise simply contact us online or call 0800 288 8660.

Originally published 21st April 2019, updated 20th May 2019.