Signs of woodworm damage to ceiling beam

What To Do About Woodworm In Your Loft?

27 May 2021

Woodworm is a problem that if left untreated can cause significant damage to your property. It is a problem that is affecting a large number of properties across the UK. There is no accurate number of properties affected as there are too many instances to calculate.

So, what happens if you spot signs of woodworm in the loft? Is this a problem that can just be left or should it be treated as soon as possible? We answer all these questions in our latest article.

What Are the Signs of a Woodworm Infestation in the Loft?

First of all, it is important to establish what signs you should be looking out for to identify if your property is suffering from a woodworm infestation. Although you can check for woodworm yourself we would always recommend having a qualified surveyor carry out an inspection.

When checking for woodworm yourself you should always wear appropriate protective gear. If you are looking for woodworm in your loft as a minimum you should be wearing a dust mask and gloves. The clearest sign that there is woodworm in your loft will be the presence of small holes (otherwise known as exit holes) in timber joists.

Exit Holes in the Timber

The size of the holes varies depending on the type of species that made them, however, the exit holes are normally between 2mm and 5mm in diameter. It is often misconceived that if there are exit holes then the woodworm problem has gone away. Woodworm has a lifecycle of between 3 and 5 years and it is only at the end of their lifecycle that they are visible when they exit the timber as beetles.

Woodworm exit holes in timber

The beetles will have already laid their larvae in the timber for woodworm to start a new life cycle. If the woodworm is still active, then the holes will appear ‘fresh’. They can be difficult to spot unless you get up close to the infested timber.

Frass Left by the Woodworm

Frass, which is essentially woodworm waste, is another clear sign that your loft is suffering from an active woodworm infestation. The frass will usually look like wood shavings and will be light in colour. There are many different types of frass. Through examination of the frass it is also possible to identify what type of beetle is at the heart of the infestation.

Tunnels left by the Woodworm

Just like the exit holes, if you look at the timber and there are tunnels then this another sign of woodworm. The tunnels are what the woodworm make as they are eating their way through the wood. While this is a clear sign of woodworm it is also one of the least visible signs as well.

Is Woodworm Dangerous If Left Untreated In Your Loft?

Having woodworm anywhere in your property can lead to potential problems and if it is present in your loft then it is not a good idea to leave it untreated. If left untreated the problem will only get worse and potentially cause further damage if no treatments are carried out.

Whilst the woodworm beetles have a 3-to-5-year lifecycle, and for the vast majority of that they are unseen in the timber, it does not mean the affected timber should be left untreated.

The sooner the problem is identified then the easier it is to get it sorted. Speed is also key to minimizing the damage caused by the infestation. We would definitely not recommend leaving the woodworm problem to fester and to get worse.

Should You Contact a Qualified Expert to Carry Out a Survey?

Just like fixing a car or boiler if you know what you are doing then you can go about fixing the problem yourself. The same applies to treating woodworm, however, it is always best to contact a professional to ensure the job is done correctly.

If the type of woodworm beetle is incorrectly identified then the treatment is potentially not going to work and you could still end up with a live infestation. Another issue to contend with if you are not using professionals to treat the woodworm is that you will also be dealing with insecticides.

It is always best that you contact qualified professionals to both carry out a survey and any woodworm treatment that may be necessary to ensure that not only your loft but the whole of your property is protected from any beetle infestation.

You can contact our team at Timberwise in England, Scotland, or Wales by either calling 0800 288 8660 or contacting us online.

What Can I Do to Stop Woodworm Recurring Again in the Future?

Once you have had the woodworm survey carried out by a surveyor and a technician has carried woodworm treatment works there are certain measures that you can take to stop woodworm from re-occurring in your loft. One of the main causes of woodworm is dampness.

Reducing damp conditions in your loft can be achieved by not overloading the loft with too much storage. This then improves the airflow in the loft and allows stale air to leave the loft via the airbricks. You should also check for water leaks as well, even a small leak can become a big problem which can then lead to woodworm issues.