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Friday 22nd of September 2017

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Guide to Woodworm Treatment

Commonly, the term woodworm is used in referring to all wood boring beetle larvae. There are several species of woodworm yet the common damage is caused by common furniture beetle offspring. 

Usually, woodworm larvae come with curved bodies with creamy white colour. It is quite difficult for you to see a woodworm larvae unless they have already fully-grown. This is because they are hiding on timbers while munching away. 

When you see an adult wood boring beetle, you will notice that it will look different according to the species.  The common furniture beetle is typically a length of 3 to 4 mm and is brown in colour winged beetle.

Woodworm Infestation starts when the beetle tunnels into the timber and lays eggs during the mating season. The mating seasons may vary from species to species although the outcomes are all the same. The small holes created by each of the larvae can really cause a devastating result to the wood. Especially when these holes are close together with the substantial number of larvae. 

You think woodworm is a huge problem? Well, it is. A woodworm problem usually occurs within the building, which will cause a significant damage to your property. Damage levels of the property will depend on the woodworm infestation size. This means, if not treated properly or no treatment is being applied, the structural integrity of your property will be lost. 

So, getting more familiar with this distressing woodworm problem is quite important. Below is a valuable guideline to help you. You can use this information to ensure that you will able to prevent any damage to your property and maintain its condition. 


Woodworm Species

Although there are numbers of woodworm species, this four main specie are well-known enemies of timber.

  • Common Furniture Beetle – Anobium punctatum
  • House Longhorn Beetle – Hylotrupes bajulus
  • Powerpost Beetle – Lyctus brunneus
  • Deathwatch Beetle – Xestobium rufuvillosum

Woodworm Life Cycle 

It is quite surprising to learn that woodworms have a life cycle of three years. This is from the time they enter the wood and lay their eggs. And the wood boring beetle life cycle is usually on the near completion before most of the property owners are able to get aware of the problem. Eggs, larva, pupa then, adult beetle are the four stages of the woodworm development. 

An adult female woodworm likes to lay eggs on or under the surface of a wood in cracks, pores and crevices. While it is safe inside a timber, the larvae continue feeding on wood for several years.  This causes the damage until they pupate and then, hatch as beetles. 

Once they have reached their maturity, the newer generation of beetles will be leaving the timber in order for them to breed.  The female adults may have already found a suitable wood surface where they are about to lay their eggs. Then the life cycle will continue which causes further damage. 

Where to find woodworms. In all manners of the wood surfaces you will be able to find woodworms including the following:

  • Furniture
  • Beams/Joists
  • Floorboards
  • Wooden tools
  • Roof timber 
  • Musical instruments
  • Decorative woodwork
  • Painted wooden surfaces
  • Structural and joinery timbers

Identifying Woodworm Problems

It is quite difficult to tell if you have a woodworm infestation.  This is because the damage is caused inside the timber. So you cannot see any of the results until it already lasted for years and the damage has already become huge. Fortunately, there are some tell-tale signs which can help you determine any possible woodworm infestation. 

Woodworm cause damage to the property and loss of the structural integrity. These are the problems that a property owner may encounter with the wood boring beetles. It is a misconception that only the old properties can be affected by the woodworms. In fact, they can also cause damage to the newly constructed buildings. 

Discovering that your property is being infested by woodworms is quite distressing. Imagine the scenario: For all you know, your property is in the proper condition. While the truth is, it is being slowly damaged by the woodworms.

The money that you have spent will just be wasted and it is like you are starting all over again. The sad truth is, when you find your property with severe damage, it will be difficult for you to recover it. So, woodworm damage is quite stressful since it can lose you money, time and effort in investing in your property.

You may determine whether your property is being affected by  woodworm infestation if you notice the following tell-tale signs:

  • Tiny round holes in the woodwork which is similar to the dart board holes that are about 1mm – 2 mm in diameter
  • Powdery, fine dust around the holes known as the frass
  • Visible tunnels within the timber
  • Crumbly edges to joists and boards 
  • Damaged and weak floorings or timbers 
  • Emerging adult beetles from the holes or are present around your house 

Do I have a Woodworm Problem?

During summer, you can also spot an adult woodworm that is emerging from the holes within a timber. It is important for you to check for dead or live beetles around the area which you suspected for woodworm infestation. 

Also, check  the windowsills: Once a woodworm started to hatch and munch away, it will later emerge and head for light. Also, finding a wandering woodworm around your area,  simply means that they have found a nearby food source. 

Commonly, exit holes are the most visible and obvious sign.  But still, these will not occur not until an adult beetle is already ready to leave a timber. This happens after several years of hatching as a woodworm larva.

Therefore, looking for signs of boring is a tell-tale sign especially on your old furniture underside or back. But, you have to keep in mind that finding holes on your flooring and furniture will not be the best practice. For these might be the signs of the previous woodworm infestation.

So with the following tips, you will be able to confirm whether you are having severe woodworm problem:

You need to learn that some of the woodworm are not harmful. You may need to consult a professional woodworm expert to identify a problem. This can be useful before deciding on the necessary treatment.

Usually, this scenario happens during May up to September. So, it is a good idea for you to block the hole by simply painting the wood with emulsion coating. You can even apply a masking tape during winter.

During spring, you may check whether there are emerging adult beetles.  This helps you a lot in determining an active woodworm infestation in your timber. 

The adult beetles are responsible for the boring of the holes on the timber. They do this when they exit the timber in order to breed. 

You may also test the humidity of the woodwork by means of timber moisture meter. By just inserting the probe, you will be able to get an instant result of the moisture content reading. If you get a result of 20%, this will cause you for a major concern.

Generally, wood boring beetles prefer those timbers with an over 18% moisture content.  Though they can tolerate a moisture content of 12% for short period. And, it is interesting to learn that you may have a low risk for woodworm infestation with a moisture reading content of 11%.


Treatments for Woodworm Infestation

Before you go in treating a woodworm type you need to be aware of the problem. You need to keep in mind that it is quite important for you to identify the type of woodworm correctly.

If you are going to treat no specific type of woodworm you will not get good results. Chances are, you will not successfully eliminate them and the infestation will continue. 

Also by doing this, you are just wasting your time and money. You are just opening the way for a  worse situation. Diagnosing the problem wrong will lead to a continuation of your property becoming infested and not properly treated. 

So, with the following woodworm treatments you will be able to stop the devastating damage to your property:

  • Keep all of your woods dry. Generally, woodworm prefer those timbers with a hint of moisture. So, it is best for you to keep the woods all the time.
  • By doing so, they tend to leave the holes they are hiding in and in some cases, they will die. You just have to be patient in keeping your furniture and flooring dry in order for you to treat the infestation properly. If you will be able to continuously do this practice, there will be a successful result. 
  • Keep your home well ventilated and heated. Ensure that you maintain the good ventilation of you home. There is a big chance that they will leave your home easily and quickly. 
  • A heated home gives you the opportunity to make the woodworm uncomfortable with the temperature.  There is also a chance of letting them die. Woodworm cannot survive with a high humidity. Therefore, it will be actually an advantage in keeping your home well-heated most of the time. But ensure that you still feel comfortable. 
  • Remove all infested wood. Another way of treating your property from woodworm infestation is by removing the infestation. Move your infected wood or furniture away from your home. By doing this kind of treatment, you will able to prevent other parts of the property from getting affected. This is because you will have removed the root cause of damage. Moreover, you need to carefully remove all the infested items in order for you completely dislodge the wood boring beetles. 
  • Replace all the infected timbers. Before replacing your infected timbers check your existing timber. You have to clearly confirm that there are no longer existing woodworm on your property. Otherwise, your newly replaced furniture will be infected too. 
  • After you have confirmed that there is no more trace of woodworm, it is now the time for you to replace the timbers. Now you can be confident in returning your furniture or flooring back to its best. 
  • Buy furniture made from high-quality heartwood. You need to prevent buying furniture that is attractive to the woodworm for you to be able to eliminate them. 
  • Replace your furniture with those that are made of a high-quality heartwood. Truly, it is ideal to choose a type of furniture that will give less interest to the woodworm. By doing this, you can expect that they can leave your premises swiftly. 
  • Seal your wood with varnish. If you are going to seal your wood with varnish, there is a big chance they will leave or they will not come back on their spots. So, applying varnish to your wood will make them disappear easily. Varnish will also protect the wood or your furniture from any other insect that may also cause damage. It will also give the timber a more appealing look.
  • Use flytraps. Hopefully, you need to catch or contain the adult wood boring beetles by the use of flytraps before they get a chance to mate. If you become successful with this, you will be able to prevent another life cycle of woodworm.  This will reduce the chance of increased damages on your properties. 
  • Use insecticides. Today, there are lots of available insecticides which will help you treat woodworm infestation. But, you need to consult a specialist in order for you to get the right insecticide. Another common treatment for woodworm is through the injection of a certain poison.  Professional help is required for you to be able to ensure that you will stay safe and successful with the treatment.

Good thing about the Woodworm Treatment

Being infested by a woodworm is a serious issue that you have to solve as soon as you suspected an infestation. You should act quickly in order for you prevent further damages on your properties. Also, by treating the woodworm infestation, you will be able to save your properties as well as the time, money and effort you invested. 

Having valuable properties will require you years of dedication and hard work.  So, never let woodworm ruin all your efforts.  If you properly eliminate the woodworm infestation, you will be able to have peace of mind. You can be confident that your property is away from any devastating damages.