Treating Woodworm

If you have discovered the signs of woodworm in your property, then you will understand how important it is to not only establish the extent of the infestation, but also treat and eradicate the woodworm before they spread and cause lasting damage to your properties timber.

Find out more about how we can help you discover and treat your timber for woodworm here.

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Woodworm Problems? Call 0800 288 8660 or

How is Woodworm Treated?


First, we establish the extent of the problem. A fully trained and experienced surveyor will inspect your home for signs of woodworm activity and damage.

Our team will then carry out the specified treatments:

  • Use a woodworm treatment spray that kills the insects on contact. (These are water based to reduce any risks to individuals, pets and the environment.) More in-depth treatments such as a penetrating insecticidal gel can also be applied.
  • Remove and replace timber which is too damaged to be treated, particularly where required structurally. Alternatively, resin-based repairs may be used.

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

Permethrin is effective against the Common Furniture Beetle. For Death Watch beetle, we also inject the treatment into the boreholes, as this beetle’s larvae lie deeper in the wood. For House Longhorn beetle, all timbers in your house must be checked for infestation and structural integrity, not just those visibly suffering from woodworm. If the attack turns out to be relatively limited, the same methods used for Death Watch beetle can be applied.

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Woodworm Problems? Call 0800 288 8660 or

What is Woodworm?

Well, first of all, they aren’t worms, but beetles and weevils. These insects lay eggs in small cracks in your timber furniture, beams and floorboards, before the woodworm beetle and weevil eggs hatch into larvae. When in their larvae form the woodworm burrow into your timber, eating as they go and remaining within for anywhere up to five years, potentially causing extensive damage to your properties timber.

Once they have reached maturity, the larvae pupate and become adult beetles and weevils. As adults, they emerge from the timber in search of a mate, leaving their distinct emergence holes in their wake. Once they have found a mate, the female woodworm beetles return to the timber where they lay their eggs, which will continue the cycle and spread throughout your properties timber.

Woodworm will continue to spread through a property unless the timber is treated. Treatment can take a few different forms, but the end result is that the woodworm are eradicated, no longer able to spread or damage your timber further.

What are the Different Types of Woodworm?

The Common Furniture Beetle

● Small, dark-reddish colour with lines running down its wings
● The most common beetle, it prefers to eat the sapwood (outer section) of softwood and European hardwoods
● Exit holes are up to 2mm in diameter
● Their frass has a gritty texture

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The Deathwatch Beetle

● Chocolate brown
● 8mm long
● Has patches of yellowish hairs
● Prefers oak, also softwood if well rotted
● Creates lots of frass which is ‘bun’ shaped and easily visible

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Woodboring Weevils

Brown and black
● Up to 5 mm long
● Distinctive long snout
● Antennae located one third of the way along its snout
● Attacks soft and hardwoods which are damp and have previous decay
● Frass is likely to be sticky

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The Powder Post Beetle

Mid-reddish brown
● Up to 9mm long
● Flattened shape
●Uniquely, it will live in wood brought into your home such as flooring or kitchen units
● Prefers oak which is less than 15 years old
● Usually creates lots of flourlike frass
● Live insects can be seen around exit holes

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House Longhorn Beetle

Black to dark brown
● Large - up to 20mm long
● Lengthy antennae
● Prominent grey hairs on wing covers
● Oval exit holes, 68mm across
● Causes severe internal damage to wood, often filled with loose frass
● Wood surface left thin and brittle

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Woodworm Problems? Call 0800 288 8660 or

FAQs About Woodworm Treatment

What Do Woodworm Look Like?
As you can see above, no two woodworm look alike. However, the big problem you might have is that you may not actually see woodworm larvae at all, as they remain within your timber until they reach maturity and emerge.

Typically, the first sign of an active woodworm infestation is when the emergence holes appear. These holes are caused by mature woodworm beetles, as they bore out of your timber to find a mate. At this point, the destruction within your timber caused by that particular beetle has been done.

This is why it’s essential to act as soon as you spot the first emergence holes appearing.

Once the adult woodworm beetles emerge, they will not harm your household timber but you may see them flying to sources of light, looking for new mates and territories. The life of an adult beetle is short – up to four days for a male and fourteen for a female. So another indication of an infestation is the sight of dead beetles, often on internal window ledges. Click the following link for more information and images of what woodworm looks like.

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Does Woodworm Spread?

If you place a ‘clean’ piece of timber next to one infested with woodworm, the infestation will not necessarily cross over. For one thing, the ‘clean’ timber may not be to your resident beetles’ taste – it all depends on the particular type of woodworm in question.

But that does not mean the woodworm cannot or will not spread, particularly within the timber where it has originated.

If woodworm is present in your timber already, it stands to reason that it functions as a good home to the woodworm already present. So, when the new adults emerge, why would they choose to go anywhere else?

This means that long pieces of timber such as floorboards or beams within the roof can have woodworm spread through the entire length of them as the woodworm spread, or have other nearby timber infested as well as it may well be the same kind of timber the woodworm are already making a home in.

The general rule here is that if you have woodworm in your property they are going to multiply until they are treated.

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How to Tell if Woodworm is Active?

It isn’t always easy to tell if a woodworm infestation is active or dormant, especially if you aren’t qualified in timber repair and woodworm identification.

One easy sign to look out for is the appearance of new emergence holes in the timber itself. These are tiny round holes, formed when the woodworm (after reaching maturity and pupating from a larvae to a beetle) exit your timber so that they can look for a mate. New holes in timber may well indicate active woodworm reaching maturity, and getting ready to lay more eggs.

You might also notice frass around or underneath the emergence holes created by the beetles. Frass is woodworm waste, and it looks a little bit like dust. Fresh frass appearing around your timber is a sign that larvae could be alive and active within your timber, eating their way through the timber.

Finally, you may well notice dead beetles around the base of underneath your timber. The woodworm life cycle is quite short, only around 10-14 days, so once the beetles have emerged from your timber it may not be long until they die.

Any of these signs are enough for concern, but to be sure we do recommend you organise a survey with an expert.

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When do Woodworm Fly?

When a newly formed adult woodworm beetle bores out of the timber, they take to the air in search of a mate.

Adult males only have four days to achieve this before they die, so they will be quite active, often heading towards sources of light. Woodworm Flight season lasts from around March until September, and can be a good time to spot woodworm beetles in your home.

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How Can I Prevent Woodworm?

The key to this is the level of moisture in your timber.

All woodworm larvae prefer a higher moisture content, simply because it makes the wood easier to chew. So, you should eliminate any damp patches in your home that will affect structural timbers or house furniture. Common Furniture beetles, for example, tend to prefer hardwoods, with a moisture content of 28% or above. However, they can survive within timber with moisture levels as low as 12%, but they find it harder to feed.

By keeping your home well heated, well ventilated, and damp free, you can lower the chances of woodworm infesting timber within your property.

Another way that woodworm make their way into many homes is by already being present in the timber that you buy and bring home. Always check new antique purchases for any evidence of worm and keep any stored firewood outdoors.

Also try and go for furniture that makes use of Heartwood, as it is more resistant to most kinds of woodworm, and not as inviting or easy to eat.

Of course, if you are noticing signs of woodworm in your property then it might already be too late. Make sure to get in touch with our team to avoid woodworm damaging your timber any further.

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Can I Treat Woodworm Myself?
We strongly recommend that any woodworm problem you may discover is handled by qualified experts, but if you are dead set on attempting to treat woodworm yourself, you should always use specialised solutions and avoid DIY methods. 

Your local DIY store will stock proprietary brands of woodworm killers. If you’re absolutely confident your infestation is isolated to a single piece of furniture for example, then using a store bought solution can be an appropriate course of action, provided you follow the application instructions carefully.

Be aware that using some of the available chemicals means you will need to observe COSHH regulations and you should ensure that you are adequately protected before you attempted any treatment.

However, there are so many variables when it comes to woodworm treatment that in 99% of woodworm infestations, we recommend that the problem should be placed in the hands of woodworm specialists.

If you aren’t certain about extent of the woodworm infestation, the level of damage they have caused, or even the type of woodworm in your property, you could be wasting both your time and money pursuing a store bought woodworm solution, and all the while the woodworm could continue damaging your timber without you knowing.

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How Much Does Woodworm Treatment Cost?

In order to provide with an accurate quotation, our woodworm specialist surveyors will need to carry out a full inspection to determine the best treatment for the property. Cost of the treatment can depend on the damage caused by the woodworm and the size of the infestation.

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Why Choose Timberwise?

We at Timberwise are woodworm specialists, and we have been treating properties for almost 50 years.

We are long-standing members of the Property Care Association, meaning that our technicians are all qualified and adhere to the latest best practice set down by the PCA. We are also endorsed by Which? Trusted Traders,  thanks to our long standing commitment to lasting solutions and quality customer service.

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Request a survey online

Woodworm Problems? Call 0800 288 8660 or

Get In Touch With Our Woodworm Treatment Specialists

If you are having problems with woodworm we always recommend that you should contact a specialist. Woodworm can cause significant damage if left untreated for a long period of time.

Our team of woodworm treatment specialists have over 50 years of experience and accreditations such as Which? Trusted Trader and the Property Care Association you can be left assured your property is in good hands. If you would like to get in touch with any of the topics discussed or to book a survey with one of our surveyors then simply fill in the form below.