A woodworm is a type of beetle that lives in and eats wood.
The adult beetles lay their eggs in the wood, and when the eggs hatch, the larvae eat their way through the wood, making tunnels as they go. See our previous blog post on the lifecycle of a woodworm if you are interested in learning more about them. Woodworms are not usually a problem unless there is an infestation, which can cause serious damage to wooden furniture, floors, and other objects made from wood.
If you think you have a problem with woodworm, it is important to get it treated as soon as possible.
How do you Spot Woodworm?
Woodworm can be difficult to identify, even if it is a large infestation. So the first step is to identify the noun that is causing the problem. There are two main woodworm species that live in England and Wales:
- Common Furniture Beetle, (Anobiid Furniture Beetle)
This is a smaller beetle that is less than 1⁄8″ long, reddish-brown, oval, and flat with a lighter spot on each wing cover. The wing covers are joined together with a vein running down the centre.
- Powder Post Beetle
Adult powder post beetles are 1⁄2″ to 3⁄4″ long and are reddish-brown, flattened with wings held flat over the back.
The wing covers are joined by a vein running down the centre. To identify if your household has either of these woodworms, you should look for distinctive tunnels.
Tunnels can look different depending on the species of beetle. Furniture beetle woodworm tunnels run horizontally through wood, usually beginning near the surface.
As they move through the wood, they enlarge and become more visible. However, powder post beetle woodworm tunnels run vertically up wood.
As the woodworm is feeding inside the wood, the tunnels will provide a rough surface that looks like scratches. The tunnels can also appear slightly lighter in colour than the surrounding wood.
To identify what species is causing the problem, you can inspect a sample of the suspected wood. It is also possible to identify woodworm nests by looking at the colour of the wood.
Woodworm eggs are usually oval-shaped and white with darker spots. The eggs often cluster together and are often seen around damaged timber.
It is important to realise that it is not possible to prevent all woodworm problems. Pests, including woodworm, can be introduced from outside your property.
Once woodworm has infested your property, it is very difficult to eradicate. It is important to keep in mind that woodworm affects all parts of a property.
This includes wall cavities and the loft. Because of the woodworm’s long life cycle, they usually do not require as much treatment between autumn and spring.
However, woodworm can re-infest a property at any time of the year.
Prevention and Treatment Options
There are different methods that homeowners can use for woodworm prevention and treatment.
Some methods include spraying liquid pesticides on the infested areas, which is one of the most common methods used today. The use of baits or insecticides to kill existing woodworm is another method that homeowners can also use.
You could also consider hiring a professional. They will be able to offer a range of services, from eradicating wood borers, right through to different types of timber treatments. Experimenting with different woodworm treatment options and methods is an important aspect of woodworm prevention and eradication.
Homeowners should conduct thorough research on different treatment options and methods that will help them remove and then prevent woodworm infestations. It is very important to kill the existing woodworm.
This is because woodworm larvae currently feeding in wall cavities can migrate to other parts of the property where they are not currently feeding, such as timbers in garden beds and decking. Treating the area is very important to prevent another infestation.
Sealing or filling any damaged timber is also critical. It is much better to repair any damaged timber than to leave it untreated.
Raising the level of the infested floor by filling wall cavities is an effective way to keep woodworm away from your property.
Safety Precautions When Handling Chemicals for Treating the Infestation
If you opt to try to treat the infestation yourself rather than hiring a professional company to do it for you.
Then you should take the necessary safety precautions and make sure to stay safe when handling the different chemicals used for the treatment. The following safety precautions should therefore apply when using chemicals to treat woodworm infestations:
- The treated furniture should not be exposed to moisture.
- Old timbers should not be exposed or untreated to moisture.
- Make sure the correct type of insecticide is used.
- Do not eat or drink while using these chemicals.
- Ideally, only experts should treat homes with flammable chemicals.
- In some cases, it requires that hazardous equipment, such as Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) approved respirators, be used as a professional worker would, along with eye protection and protective clothing.
- Wallpaper, paint, and air pollutants will require professional experience to control their toxicity and transform them into a safe, non-hazardous form.
- Removing hazardous materials should also be left to experts. They will be able to apply the proper protective gear to prevent exposure to harmful fumes.
As you can see, these methods aren’t simple, so it’s always best to seek advice from a professional company before attempting any treatment yourself.
What to do if you Have a Severe Infestation or can’t Afford Treatment?
If you have a severe woodworm infestation, or you simply can’t afford the treatment, then it may be best to call a professional.
Infestations can be treated with the required chemicals, professional techniques, and safety equipment. In some cases, they might be able to carry out the work and provide some kind of help or finance plan, so you can pay it off over a longer period. It might be worth browsing around to see if there is any help available online or where you can go to look for free advice.
Often, your local council will have information on what help is available.
Steps for Prevention in the Future
Once the problem is eradicated and the woodworm is gone, you should follow these steps to help prevent it in the future.
- The house should be dry.
- If there are damp areas, minimise the remaining moisture.
- Remove mould that is growing if there is a moisture problem.
- Install new insulation that reflects and traps warm air.
- Hire a drying specialist to remove the moisture that will remain.
- Flooring and other surfaces should never be painted before heating is installed because of paint.
- Keep up to date with pest control advice and any updates on the chemicals used to treat woodworm.
- Always treat the timber when dry. Never treat timber when wet or after rain, as it will be easier for the insect to survive.
- Ensure timbers are treated correctly, so they don’t end up becoming infested again.
These are just some of the steps that can help to prevent woodworm from coming back in the future.
If you think you have a woodworm infestation, contact us today for more information.
We can help identify the problem and offer solutions so that your home is protected from these pests.