Woodworm FAQ

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Frequently Asked Questions about Woodworm

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Q: What is Woodworm?

A: Woodworm is the most common name for the larvae stage of wood boring beetles. This type of beetle is usually found in households from early springtime to mid-autumn. From April to October each year, these seasonal pests can target any home that has exposed untreated timber in the interior or exterior of the home. 
Chances are, your home will be affected by woodworm at some point, as these pests are so small you may not notice their arrival. From fixtures to floor boards, the average home is made up of 70% timber. This is why woodworm is such a common problem for Scottish homeowners. 

If you are living in Scotland, then your home will most likely be invaded by woodworm beetles. These beetles are otherwise known as the “common furniture beetle”. Many homeowners only catch woodworm once the infestation has spread, as they are often missed due to their size and build. Woodworm can fit under door fittings, windows, fresh air vents, and gaps in the eves of your home. 
woodworm holes in the wood

Q: Are There Different Types of Woodworm? 

A: Yes! Woodworm is actually a blanket term that can applied to a number of insect species. There are four main species:
  • Common Furniture Beetle: Most common of all woodworm species responsible for around 75% of all attacks in property.
  • House Longhorn Beetle: Normally found in roofing timbers, this beetle is the largest and most damaging.
  • Wood Boring Weevil: Can be found in timber decay.
  • Death Watch Beetle: This type of beetle prefers hardwood and chooses to cause damage to older buildings.

Q: What Does the Insect Look Like?

A: The most common furniture beetle is the Anobium Punctatum. The Anobium Punctatum is a woodboring beetle, which means in its larval stage, it bores in wood and feeds upon it.

Think you have spotted woodworm in your home? Adult Anobium Punctatum measure around 2.7–4.5 millimetres (0.11–0.18 in) in length. They are extremely recognisable, as they have brown, ellipsoidal bodies with a prothorax that resembles a monk's cowl.
There are four stages in a woodworm’s development:
  • Egg – A tiny egg is laid in the cracks and crevices of wooden objects, floorboards and timber by Adult beetles. These eggs are easily missed by the human eye, the main reason why woodworm infestation spreads so quickly. 
  • Larva – The second stage of their development occurs when the larvae hatch. At this stage, they immediately burrow through the wood, again, making it very hard for them to be seen by home owners. During this stage, the larva can remain hidden inside the wood, tunnelling, and feeding for several years.
  • Pupa – The more the larvae consume, the bigger they will grow. As the larva increase in size, they then become known as Pupa. 
  • Adult beetle – In the final stage of development Pupa emerge as adult beetles and then begin to mate. 
woodworm beetle types
Once a woodworm has developed into adult form, it does not feed and instead, it reproduces. When the beetle begins to mate, the female will start to lay her eggs into cracks or old exit holes which have been created in the wood. 

The process from there is fairly fast, and the eggs which are produced will hatch after three weeks. The Larva are then released and are around the size of 1 millimetre (0.039 in).

What do the larvae look like? 
They take C-shaped insect form and are long and creamy in appearance. For years the larvae continue to feed and can grow up to 7 millimetres (0.28 in). As the larvae are ready to pupate, they will excavate small spaces under the wood surface, a process which can take up to eight weeks. After this stage, an adult beetle will emerge and break through the surface. The break out will make exit holes and dust will begin to spill out, one of first visible signs of an infestation.

Q: How long is the Woodworm Lifecycle?

A: Did you know that woodworm larvae spend roughly 3.5/4 years under the surface of the timber, eating their way through pieces of wood? During this time the pests will slowly increasing in size. 
From there the larvae will evolve into a beetle form, continuing to bite through the surface of your home’s timber, until parts of the wood are completely destroyed. 

If untreated, woodworm can cause serious damage to the structure of your home or building. These woodworm larvae feed on cellulose which is found within wood/timber.

These pests will continue to feed on the cellulose until it is destroyed, leaving a network of tunnels behind them. Of course, this can cause severe damage if the problem isn’t treated immediately. 

Do you suspect that there is an infestation in your home? It is advised that you contact a member of our specialist team immediately. 
woodworm damage zoomed in

Q: How Do I Find Out If I Have a Woodworm Problem?

A: There are a couple of signs which could indicate that your home has a woodworm problem. If the problem has escalated without your knowledge, then the adult beetles will be fairly elusive and recognisable.

Adult beetles can be extremely problematic, once they have exited they will leave small, round/oval holes in timber and woodwork. Adult beetles create holes where they tunnel through. One of the first signs is that dust will start to gather near and on the timber.

Another sign of woodworm infestation is that your flooring may become weak and damaged. If this is one of the signs within your home, it is advised that you contact us ASAP, before the woodworm begin to cause so much damage that the floor collapses!

Q: Should Woodworm Always Be Treated?

A: The longer you leave your woodworm infestation, the worse it will become. Woodworm should be treated as soon as possible and if it is left, it could cause major damage to the infrastructure of your home.

Woodworm can be tricky little pests and you need to make sure that you have targeted them all. For this reason, we always start with a comprehensive survey to make sure we know the extent of the problem and also to determine if the infestation is active.

Once the survey is complete, it is time to get rid of the woodworm living in your home and start to repair the damage which they’ve caused.

Richardson & Starling will take care of both aspects of this, repairing and removing damaged wood. Remember, our work is protected by a 30 guarantee, so there’s no need to worry about future infestation to the treated area.

Q: How Can Woodworm Be Treated?

A: If you want to fully remove a woodworm infestation from your home, the only option is to hire a professional pest control service that can use the correct chemical insecticides, safely.

We do also suggest that you investigate any damp problems within your home, as dry wood is not usually affected. If you do have damp within your home, chances are that it could become re-infected at a later date.
Our team of experts are here to help you through this whole process. Our team can both repair structurally affected timbers as well as clean and treat the surface of the timbers.

First of all, our team will apply a water based insecticidal fluid to the surface of the wood. This fluid is excellent as it will target the larvae entering the wood as well as emerging beetles.

An average woodworm treatment can be completed in 1 day and a 30-year guarantee is given to cover the client from re infestation. Our chemical process is guaranteed to eliminate the infestation from the affected area. Depending on the scale of the infection, an electrical process is sometimes used to attract and kill the adult beetles before they can breed.
wood damaged by woodworm larvae

Q: Do I Have to Move Out During the Woodworm Treatment?

A: We are often asked by our customers if they need to move out of their home while woodworm treatment is taking place. In most cases, the majority of our clients do not need to move out of their property during woodworm treatment. 

We do recommend, however, that no one is allowed in the area which is being treated for an 8-hour period. We work with all of our clients to make sure that their treatment is done during a time which suits them. 

If extensive areas within the property are being treated, their treatment can be phased to suit the client. If the infestation in your home has spread and you would like to have your whole home treated at the one time, we would suggest that you decant the property for the day.

Q: Is Woodworm Treatment Safe for Pets?

A: We understand that many home owners worry about having treatment completed in their home if they have family pets. We recommend to all our customers that there are no animals allowed in the treatment area during the treatment and for a short time after the treatment is completed. 

Our woodworm treatment is made from strong stuff and if excess treatment lands on your pet’s paws or coat, it could be damaging to their health. 

This is why we also recommend that both adults and children also stay clear of the treatment area for a period of 8 hours.

Q: Do you Guarantee your Woodworm Treatment?

A: We have years of experience eradicating woodworm infestations in homes across Scotland. Our service is one of a kind as we offer a 30 year guarantee, giving our clients peace of mind that the treated area will be free of insect attack in that period.

It is important that you are covered with a guarantee as woodworm can be tricky little pests. Our team will make sure that we have gotten rid of the infestation in your home.  

Before going ahead with any treatment, we will always start by completing a comprehensive survey, making sure we know the extent of the problem. This survey will also assess and determine if the infestation is active. 

Once we have completed the survey of your home, we will then begin to eliminate the infestation and repair the damage which they’ve caused. Our professional service takes care of all aspects of woodworm damage, if you have any questions about treatment or our 30 year guarantee, call us today for more information about our services. 

Q: How Can I Prevent Woodworm?

A: The first step in any pest control is prevention. Did you know that woodworm only attack seasoned sapwood timber, not live or fresh wood? This type of insect also avoids heartwood timbers.
You may notice when you are looking at your infested areas of wood, that one piece of the timber may be heavily attacked, while another piece may be untouched. This sometimes happens when structures are made from both the heartwood and sapwood part of a tree trunk. 

Infestations are most commonly found in old wooden houses, that are built with untreated timbers. As mentioned, woodworm infestation can be diagnosed when small round exit holes around the size of 1 to 1.5 mm diameter are seen on the outside of the wood. Active infections feature the appearance of new exit holes and fine wood dust may start to appear around the holes.
woodworm repairs in progress
As woodworm have a 3-year life cycle, timber or timber products bought containing a woodworm infection, may not manifest holes until years after the timber has been infested. 

Q: How can you control woodworm infestation?

A: Infestation can be tackled by the application of a residual insecticide (known as permethrin) to infected areas. This is a chemical product and should be applied only by professional treatment contractors

If you are trying to tackle the infection alone, simple aerosol insecticide sprays will only kill the adult, missing the burrowing larvae that lie underneath the surface of the wood. 

Treatment is only required for active infestations, however, structural damage to the timber could still be present even if the infestation is inactive.

Q: What is a Typical Cost for Woodworm Treatment?

A: Before going ahead with a survey of your home, it is difficult to give a typical cost for Woodworm Treatment. Each woodworm case is different, as homes come in all shapes and sizes. The extent of damage will vary from home to home, therefore prices for repairs and materials differ. 

Do you suspect a woodworm infestation in your home? If you do require a quotation, our surveyor would be pleased to visit your property to diagnose the problem. 

Once your home has been accessed, we will then be able to determine if treatment or timber repairs are required.

Our service gives each customer an individual report and quotation. This report will include, in detail, what treatment is required to solve the infestation problem.
We are here to help! Contact a member of our expert team and we can help you get rid of your homes woodworm problem. 

Expert Advice & Repairs Across Scotland and the North of England
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