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What Is Woodworm?

Identifying the extent of a woodworm problem and determining if the infestation is active or not can often be very difficult for property owners. Woodworm holes can be from when the timber was in the forest and no treatment would be required. To ensure that your woodworm issue is dealt with promptly and properly you should seek professional assistance from your local timber preservation specialist, who will be able to recommend the most appropriate treatment methods if any are required.

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Woodworm Infestation

Woodworm is a type of wood-boring insect which lays eggs in small cracks on the timber’s surface. After their eggs hatch, the larvae will then enter the wood eating their way through the timber for anything between 3 and 5 years and then emerging to mate.

Your property may suffer from wood boring beetles at some point. However, due to the miniscule size of woodworm it is unlikely that you will notice their unwanted presence early. The majority of properties are made up of around seventy percent timber, which makes woodworm such a common issue for property owners.

What Attracts Woodworm?

Every type of wood boring beetle has a different timber preference. Some beetles prefer hard woods like ash, mahogany and oak. Whereas, others prefer softwood such as spruce, cedar and pine.

When introducing second-hand furniture into your property, care should be taken to ensure that the item(s) are not infected with woodworm or that the items have been treated. This is an important step to prevent infestations within your property. This rule also applies to firewood which is being used within properties for fires and wood burners.

Woodworm affected firewood must be left outside the property as the woodworm can easily transfer to other timber within the property.

Applying a varnish which is designed to protect timber furniture can assist in preventing woodworm infestation from developing.

Life Cycle of Woodworm

Woodworm infestations tend to last three to five years before obvious signs of the attack start presenting themselves and throughout this time they will be gradually increasing in size. If not treated, the infestation can spread and lead to serious structural damage of the affected timbers. There are four main stages within the life cycle of woodworm:

  • The Egg – Beetles leave eggs on the surface of the wood in cracks and holes. However, these eggs are miniscule and as a result are very difficult to spot which allows beetle infestations to spread so quickly.
  • Larva – After the egg has been laid, the larvae will then hatch. The larvae will immediately begin burrowing through the wood. This stage can result in the larva eating through the internal wood for three to five years before obvious signs start appearing on the surface of the timber.
  • Pupa – The more timber the larvae feeds upon, the larger they will grow. When the larva has increased in size they are then called ‘Pupa’ which means that they are now able to exit the timber.
  • Adult Beetle – The last stage of woodworm’s development is when adult beetles exit the timber by creating the small holes which are now visible on the surface of the timber.

After a woodworm has developed as an adult beetle and emerged from the timber, the woodworm no longer feeds on timber, but it instead reproduces. The beetle will seek a mating partner, and the female will then start laying eggs into cracks within the timber. These eggs which have been laid will then hatch after three weeks, and the cycle will start all over again.

Should Wood Borers Always Be Treated?

The amount of damage caused by the wood boring species depends very much on the scale of the infestation, and what is being infested. Not every type of wood boring insect is potentially damaging to your property. However, if left untreated certain types of wood boring insects can cause serious structural damage.

The longer the woodworm problem continues without treatment, the weaker the timber will become and the more obvious the exit holes will be to the naked eye.

How to Prevent Woodworm?

Woodworm thrives in most timber. You can make your property less appealing to woodworm by implementing some of the following steps:

  • Thoroughly check any second hand, antique furniture, wicker baskets and old timber boxes for symptoms of woodworm before bringing them into your house.
  • Treat infected timber within your property, if structurally sound.
  • Remove any infected timbers from your property which are structurally compromised.

What to Do Next?

If you believe you have identified signs of woodworm in your property, then you should call upon the services of a professional surveyor as soon as possible. Richardson and Starlings qualified surveyors can provide an accurate report detailing the extent of the damage and the treatment required to rectify the problem and let you know if no treatment is required.

Treatment which is administered by our specialists comes with a 30-year guarantee (backed with Guarantee Protection Insurance). Speak to our team today, and we can arrange for one of our local surveyors to inspect your property and begin the process to have your woodworm problem checked and if necessary…. eradicated.

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