Woodworm damage to a timber beam

Can Woodworm Destroy Your House?

24 May 2022

There are many things in the UK that can have a devastating effect on the condition of your house, and lead to its potential ruin.

Take the weather for example. The exterior of your home is subject to the elements all year round. We can have torrential rain, snow, and sub-zero temperatures at any time in the UK, and that’s not to mention environmental factors like rivers flooding or subsidence.

It might surprise you to learn that one of the most detrimental destructive elements that can inhabit your property isn’t at all based on the environment, or the weather, but is actually woodworm.

Even though they are tiny, the many types of woodworm beetle in the UK are some of the most devastating creatures that could infest your home. The question is though, just how dangerous are woodworm when it comes to a properties construction? Could a woodworm infestation potentially lead to a properties destruction?

Could Woodworm Destroy Your Home?

Woodworm on a piece of timber

Most people in the UK are familiar with woodworm, and might even have heard stories from their friends or neighbours about what woodworm has done to their properties in the past – but it’s hard to appreciate the extent of damage that woodworm can wreak until they are in your home.

If your property has woodworm, the first question you want to ask is where it’s located. There is no doubt if the woodworm has settled within your furniture it’s at risk. In fact, given enough time, woodworm could completely ruin your furniture.

What if the woodworm settles somewhere altogether more vulnerable though? Think about your floorboards, your joists, windowsills, lintels, rafters, and the load-bearing beams in your property. What if woodworm got in them?

Realistically, if left untreated, woodworm could entirely destroy these features. Now think about what that would mean for your property. You might step through a floorboard, you might see part of your ceiling or roof collapse, or you could see a bowed lintel that lets in damp (leading to even further property damage).

So the answer to ‘can woodworm destroy my home’ is a pretty resounding yes. You might not see the likes of a cartoonish collapse of your home, but if you don’t take action you could certainly see some costly damage being inflicted by the woodworm as they bore through your properties timber.

So, how might you stop woodworm from wreaking your structural timber, and what might the signs be that they are in your property.

How to Make Sure Your House Is Not Destroyed by Woodworm

signs-of-woodworm-damage-to-beam

If you think you have woodworm in your property what should you do? Initially, you should look for and identify some of the following tell tale signs of a woodworm infestation:

  • Exit holes in the timber that are small and round in appearance
  • What looks like dust near the holes (this is actually the waste product of the woodworm known as frass)
  • Timber with a ‘crumbly’ texture to the edge of it, or other damaged timber
  • Live beetles emerging from the timber
  • Dead beetles laying on the timber

If you have any of these signs, it might well be time to get in touch with an accredited specialist, and have a woodworm survey conducted to highlight the extent of your problem. It’s important to get a proper survey done because the word “woodworm” is a blanket term that covers a whole host of different woodboring beetles. Different treatment methods might apply to different species of woodworm, so its important to know which are in your home. Common species of woodworm beetle found in the UK include:

Each species can pose a threat to the timbers of your property.

If a woodworm problem is left untreated then the larvae (or woodworm) will continue to feast on your properties timbers until they exit the timber. The bad news is that this part of the life cycle could last from anything between two to five years dependent on the species of woodworm involved. This is without doubt a long enough period of time for considerable damage to take place to the integrity of the timber.

If you are unfamiliar with the woodworm’s life cycle here’s a brief overview. The life cycle of all species of woodworm is quite simplistic:

  • Initially, the female woodworm beetles lay their eggs on the timber within the property.
  • When the eggs hatch the larvae start the destructive part of the life cycle and eat their way into the timber.
  • The larvae can spend several years in their larval form munching their way through the timber. This is the most destructive part of the life cycle.
  • Eventually, the larvae develop into pupa and finally eat their way out of the timber and become beetles.
  • The mature beetles reproduce and lay more eggs into the timber and the process repeats itself.

You can see how if woodworm are in your property not only are they going to increase in number if left alone, but potentially spread to different pieces of timber in your property and start their destructive cycle freshly there.

Contact Our Woodworm Experts

It’s important that you take the potential threat of woodworm seriously. If you don’t you might find that you have to pay a high price – the cost of repairs when your properties structural timber fails and part of your home collapses for example.

Just remember, as long as you act in a timely manner there is no reason why any woodworm problem cannot be stopped dead in its tracks. Speed is key to prevent woodworm destroying your home from the inside out.

If you suspect the timbers in your property might be home to a woodworm infestation, we can help.

Our teams of surveyors are well trained in identifying the extent of an infestation, whether it’s active or dead, as well as identifying the type of woodboring insect that is causing the damage. Only through the correct identification of the problem can we begin to start the correct treatment to put an end to your woodworm woes once and for all.

Simply complete the form on this page or give the team a call on 0800 288 8660 and one of our friendly, helpful customer services team will get in touch to help you further. With over 5 decades experience in treating timber-related problems from both domestic and commercial customers you can trust our team of trained experts to protect your home from woodworm.