Will Cold Weather Kill Woodworm?
28 April 2023
Many people around the UK discover woodworm lurking in their timber on a daily basis. It’s nothing to be ashamed of – it’s a common problem, and there are plenty of people looking for a solution.
The thing is though, that sometimes people look for an easy solution when it comes to woodworm, or even fall foul of common mistakes on how to treat them once they have been discovered in a property.
With that in mind, should you rely on cold weather to take care of woodworm, and can cold weather kill woodworm effectively?
Why Don’t I Notice Woodworm When it’s Cold?
Woodworm are creatures of habit, and we can accurately predict their behaviour and movement based on their life cycle.
Typically, woodworm become active within timber during the warmer months of the year. What this means is that from around the end of March to the end of September, you will find signs of active woodworm in a property with an infestation.
This might mean you notice the likes of emergence holes in your timber, or that you discover frass at the base of the timber from where the woodworm have been burrowing. Whatever signs you might notice, you are much more likely to find them in a warm environment than a cold one.
That’s because when the temperature drops, the woodworm become dormant. They aren’t dead, just inactive, and they stay inactive until it warms up.
This is exactly why many people believe that their woodworm problem has been solved when the cold weather comes around, their seasonal inactivity leading property owners to believe that the lower temperature has killed off the beetle and ignoring the problem.
All this means is that when the warmer weather comes back, the very same woodworm is going to wake up, multiply, and keep ruining your timber.
Can Cold Weather Kill Woodworm?
Yes – but it’s going to have to get very cold for a long time. Basically, at temperatures -18 C and below, it will take around two weeks to kill woodworm. At around -31 C and below, the process will speed up and the woodworm will die in just a few days.
So, yes. Woodworm can die due to the cold, but the fact of the matter is that it probably isn’t going to happen in the UK naturally. Now, there is the option of putting affected timber into a freezer, and that might work provided the timber is actually small enough to fit into whatever freezer you are thinking of.
However, that isn’t a real solution.
Woodworm often present as the biggest problem in timber that is found in your property; beams in your loft, floorboards, lintels, the list goes on, and you can’t realistically expect to remove these timbers and place them in some kind of cold storage designed for timber this shape or size.
Realistically speaking then, cold weather isn’t going to be the complete woodworm treatment solution you are hoping it might be. So, how do you get rid of woodworm completely?
How Should Woodworm Be Treated?
When it comes to woodworm the very first step in eliminating them from your property is a comprehensive survey to determine the full extent of the infestation.
Whether they be contained to a single beam, if they are spreading through your floorboards, or even if they have taken hold of an entire kitchen, our professionally qualified and highly trained surveyors will be able to identify the damaged and at risk timber in your property, and make clear to you what steps will need to be taken to safeguard your property against further damage.
We won’t just discover where the woodworm are either – we will also determine the specific type of woodworm present in your property so that our treatment is tailored to your specific needs.
All of this will be delivered in a report, which will also be passed along to our team of technicians.
When instructed, our technicians can visit your property to apply the treatment best suited to the type of infestation in your property. This might take the form of an insecticidal spray being applied to the infested timber, which is designed to kill the beetles on contact.
This spray is water based, to make sure that any risk to individuals or pets is minimalised, but it is far from the only treatment available. We can also make use of a more in depth insecticidal gel, which is designed to penetrate into your timber further than the initial spray.
Of course, this tackles the problem of the infestation spreading, but not the damage already caused to your timber by the woodworm.
So, you will be happy to learn that our technicians are also able to repair timber with resin where they can, restoring your timber to its original look before the woodworm took hold.
This is only an aesthetic solution though, and where your timber might need further attention (such as in structural beams), our technicians are well prepared. We can carry out the removal and replacement of these vital pieces of timber so that your property is brought back to the quality of condition it was in before the woodworm ever took hold.
Realistically, this approach is the most effective in not only removing woodworm from your property, but also in restoring it after they have munched their way through the inside of your buildings timber.
Leaving the eradication of woodworm to low temperatures is not going to be a dependable long term solution, and whilst autumn and winter may bring a temporary respite from the woodworm’s spread, a professional solution is the one you need to turn to.