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26th April 2019
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A guide to combatting woodworm infestations

Woodworm larvae typically begin transforming into adult beetles and exiting the timber they have been using as a food source in the approach to summer, which is why you often hear this period of the year referred to as ‘woodworm season’.

Frustratingly, the damage caused to your wooden furniture, floors or structural timber is all caused when the woodworm is in the larval stage and hidden from sight, gnawing their way through your wooden structures. This means that identifying and combating a woodworm presence in your property can be problematic, so we have prepared these handy woodworm prevention tips to help you keep your wooden structures woodworm free!

  1. Exit holes are not enough to tell you if the infestation Is active or not

We are all familiar with the round little exit holes that woodworm leave behind after having completed their transformation into an adult beetle and exiting their former home. However the presence of exit holes alone is not enough to tell you if there is currently an active woodworm infestation.

It may be the case that your home was previously the site of a historic infestation that has since died out, or equally it could be that the beetles have left the timber, mated and then buried their eggs back into the same infestation site to begin the process all over again.

One of the most reliable methods to identify whether you have an active infestation is to examine the exit holes to see if there is evidence of Woodworm droppings. Not exactly glamorous we know, but if you can see evidence of a small, fine powder similar to sawdust nearby the exit holes then that lets you know that woodworm larvae are currently active in your wooden surfaces.

  1. The type of woodworm is important

Woodworm is simply the term we use to describe the wood-boring larval stage of certain beetles. Interestingly the species of beetle determines certain characteristics of how the woodworm will behave.

For example, the offspring of the ‘Common furniture beetle’ will most likely be found in (you guessed it) furniture and loft timbers, whereas other beetles like the ‘Death Watch Beetle’ (the name was derived from superstition surrounding the ‘tapping’ noise the beetle makes) will be found in hardwoods such as oak and ash. The ‘House Longhorn Beetle’ has a reputation for producing the largest and most destructive woodworm larvae and they seem to prefer laying their eggs in softwood and in damper conditions.

  1. Heating and ventilation can deter certain types of woodworm

Some species of Woodworm are only present in wood with a high moisture content or houses with damp and excessive humidity. In order to keep your wooden floors, furniture and structural timber safe it is advisable that you keep your property well ventilated. This can be as simple as ensuring air vents are not blocked and windows are kept open when appropriate to keep a source of fresh dry air throughout your home.

  1. Remove affected items

The growing popularity of vintage furniture and second hand wooden furniture mean that many people are unwittingly inviting a woodworm infestation into their homes. If you have bought a decorative wooden piece that you suspect may have woodworm present, then the most sensible course of action is to simply remove it from your home.

Otherwise you run the risk that the woodworm infestation doesn’t remain local to just the one piece of furniture and instead spreads around the property. Once the adult beetles remove themselves from the furniture they are free to roam wherever the please and are capable of breeding and burying their eggs in other suitable wooden surfaces.

  1. Damaged timber can be preserved or restored

Whilst the last piece of advice refers to disposable items of furniture and the like, naturally dealing with a woodworm infestation in structural timber is a far more serious undertaking. However, there is no need to panic as there are plenty of solutions available to restore even the most woodworm ravaged timber.

If key timber has been compromised then there are still manageable and relatively cost effective solutions. Damaged areas can be cut away and replaced or even repaired using a resin repair substitute that is impervious to woodworm infestation, although it goes without saying that this shouldn’t be attempted by anyone but a qualified professional

Serious Woodworm problems may require professional treatment

If you have applied the aforementioned tips and still find that you are having problems with woodworm then it is probable that you would benefit from professional woodworm treatment.

We would recommend contacting an approved and certified Woodworm solutions company with the capabilities to thoroughly treat the site with Safety Executive (HSE) approved woodworm formula that can be applied not only to bare timber, but also to painted or varnished wood.

Blog reproduced courtesy of property preservation experts, Peter Cox

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