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Is Woodworm a Problem and How to Spot the Signs?

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Wed 17 Jul 2019

Is Woodworm a Problem and How to Spot the Signs?

Woodworm is a property care issue that can affect all types of building from residential housing through to large commercial properties. Woodworm is a term used to describe the larvae stage of the beetles lifecycle. There are many different types of beetles that can be found in property from the Common Furniture Beetle (the most common type of beetle found in the UK) through to less common beetles such as Death Watch Beetle or House Longhorn Beetle. These wood-boring insects tend to be the most active between the months of April and September. This means there is more potential for damage to occur to timbers in your building through the warmer months.

Woodworm can cause serious damage to your property by eating away at the timber and wooden furniture you may have. Depending on the species of woodworm the lifecycle will last from between two to five years. One of the main issues with woodworm is that they are usually only seen towards the end of their lifecycle when the damage has already been done.

Signs of Woodworm

As already mentioned trying to identify that you have woodworm can be a difficult task, however, there are some notable signs of woodworm to look out for.

Presence of Bore Dust

An indicator that you might have woodworm infestation in your property is the presence of bore dust otherwise known as “frass”. The woodworm dust is essentially the waste left by the woodworm and often appears to be light in colour. The waste left by the woodworm can be useful to examine as this can be a way for a damp and timber specialist to identify what type of woodworm beetle is present.

Exit Holes Left by the Woodworm

Another visual sign that there could be live woodworm infestation in the wood is holes left by the woodworm as it exits the timber. If you are wanting to know if the woodworm problem is still active you can take closer at the wood and the holes will have a fresh look feel. The holes will vary in size but they are typically between 2mm and 5mm.

Damaged Wood

If the wood has become damaged then this is a sign that you have a woodworm infestation problem in your property. The type of damage that will typically occur will be crumbling skirting boards and damaged floorboards.

However, damaged timber must not be confused with dry rot or wet rot and as this type of damage is similar to that caused by woodworm. This is where it is always best to contact a damp and timber specialist, to ensure the correct diagnosis and treatments are made. This will ensure the problem will not occur again in the future.

Beetles – dead or alive!

This might seem self-explanatory but it is still an obvious sign of woodworm in your property. Towards the end of the woodworm lifecycle, there will be dead beetles nearby to the wood that was affected. During the woodworm season (April to September) you may see the live beetles actually exiting the timber.

How to deal with Woodworm

If you do notice any of the signs discussed, then get in touch with a specialist to provide a full inspection of your property to identify the type of woodworm infestation you might have. It is always better to contact a fully qualified surveyor instead of having a quick fix by a non-qualified surveyor as this will run the risk of the infestation occurring again. 

Guest Blog from
Robert Owen of Timberwise

Woodworm Leaflet Download the Timberwise Information Leaflet Here

Did you know?

The amount of time larvae spend beneath the surface of the timber is 4 years and 5,000 homes a week are treated each week for woodworm.