How Can You Tell Woodworm is Becoming Active?

7 March 2024

Plenty of properties in the UK have struggled with woodworm infestations in the past, and a large percentage of these households will have tried to either treat the woodworm on their own, or just be happy to see that as the temperature dropped the woodworm became less active, leading them to believe that the woodworm had either died out or stopped of their own accord.

So, if you have experienced woodworm in your property and haven’t had them professionally treated, what signs should you be looking out for that woodworm might be becoming active once again?

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Concerned About Woodworm in Your Home?

Why Do Woodworm Not Stay Active All Year Round?

Damage afflicted by common furniture beetle

Woodworm are seasonal creatures, and because they are so small they can only function within certain temperature ranges.

You will find that woodworm generally begin to become active around March, as the temperature begins to rise. Around September you will notice that the woodworm beetles become less active as the temperature becomes cooler, and the signs of an active infestation may start to drop off, leading many to believe that the woodworm infestation has ended, or that the beetles have died off.

Realistically this timeline of active / inactive woodworm is subject to change. With the woodworm life cycle relying so heavily on the temperature, don’t be surprised to find early woodworm activity, or even woodworm staying active longer than they traditionally might have because of the changes to the climate, and the warmer months we are seeing.

The issue many face is that they attempt to treat woodworm themselves, and then are convinced their treatment worked when the woodworm become dormant during winter. So, how can you be sure that a woodworm treatment has worked?

How Do I Know if a Woodworm Treatment Worked?


A technician in a boiler suit, hardhat and gas mask applying woodworm spray to timbers in loft

Treating woodworm is not an easy task, mainly because you will need to be acutely aware of exactly where the woodworm is, as well as how far the infestation has spread.

This means searching for the signs of woodworm in your property and making sure that the treatment you have decided on is not only the correct treatment for the specific type of woodworm in your timber (read more about the different types of woodworm here), but that the treatment has been applied everywhere necessary.

Then, you will need to keep an eye on your timber for signs of any fresh activity. This means making sure that none of your timber shows any sign of potential infestation, and retaining that certainty all throughout the active season for woodworm until they go dormant.

Even then, you will want to keep checking for signs of active woodworm once the woodworm’s active season starts up again, just to ensure that any larvae or eggs present in the timber didn’t get missed by your treatment, and hatched after you had believed the initial treatment worked.

Of course, this is a lot to expect from anyone, let alone someone not properly qualified in timber care and specialising in woodworm treatment. In order to fully understand the scope of the woodworm infestation we always recommend a timber survey carried out by our team.

Our surveyors are all experienced in the identification of not only infested timber, but also in discovering the extent of their spread.

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Need Help with Woodworm Control?

Signs That Woodworm Are Becoming Active


So, if you are concerned that a treatment you might have applied isn’t working, what are the signs to look for?

Well, when we talk about woodworm becoming active, we are often talking about the beetles themselves entering their flight season, when the mature woodworm emerge from the timber in the property to mate, so that the female woodworm are able to burrow back into the timber to lay their eggs.

When the woodworm leave the timber, they create what we call ‘emergence holes’, tiny circular holes through which the woodworm exit and then find others with which to breed. So, one way to recognise signs of fresh woodworm activity would be to look for any new emergence holes appearing in your timber.

Often you will find something called frass along with the emergence holes. Frass is a dust like substance, which is essentially the woodworm beetles waste. It’s created as the woodworm larvae travel through the wood, destroying it from the inside, so if you happen to notice this frass appearing where it wasn’t before, it could well be a sign that woodworm is active in your property.

You might well start to see dead beetles around the base of your timber as well. The average life cycle of a woodworm is around 10-14 days, so once they have reached the flight season they aren’t around for long.

Of course, dead woodworm beetles around or near damaged timber are going to be a pretty clear sign that your property has a renewed woodworm problem, but what should you do if you notice any of these signs?

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Need to Arrange a Woodworm Survey?

What Should I Do If I Notice Woodworm Becoming Active?

Male Timberwise surveyor kneeling in a loft checking the condition of the roof timbers with a screwdriver

The best advice we can give in this situation is to arrange for a survey with our team. Our surveyors will be able to help you understand the scope of the problem, how your timber has been affected, and be able to help with the replacement or repair of any timber that might need it.

It doesn’t matter if you have already tried to treat woodworm on your own, or if you are noticing the signs of an infestation you thought dead returning after a winter; we can help. Just fill in one of the contact forms on this page, or call 0800 288 8660, and our team can arrange a visit.

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