Does the thought of woodworm keep you awake at night, little critters crawling about under the floor or in your loft whilst you sleep? Then you don’t have to worry anymore, below we have put together a simple guide on dealing with woodworm problems that you should come across in your home, including some of the most recent and up-to-date treatment methods to get rid of woodworm for once and for all.
Hopefully once you’ve read through our top woodworm tips below, you’ll be better informed on dealing with a woodworm infestation, if your still not 100% sure that you’d like to tackle woodworm problems yourself, then don’t worry, were more than willing to help, please give us a call on 0191 415 9471 and we’ll be able to arrange for our woodworm treatment specialist’s to call round to your home. We offer a professional woodworm treatment service in the North East, free woodworm surveys in Newcastle, Sunderland and Durham.
Woodworm Treatment Tips
1. Signs of woodworm are often confused
Signs of woodworm are often confused with something completely unrelated, so let’s clarify a few things first. The name woodworm can be misleading, you could be forgiving for thinking they are worms that wriggle about in your woodwork eating up all your timber, they or not, the little critters that work their way through your timbers are larvae of several different species, yes there are a few different species of woodworm which we’ll come on to later, but the are all commonly referred to as ‘Woodworm’.
Woodworm infestations can cause structural damage to certain timber’s, this often occurs whilst the woodworm is still relatively young and hidden from sight within the timbers. A typical life cycle of a woodworm infestation could be up to 5 years long where they will happily chomp their way through your timbers, towards the end of the cycle the larvae will transform into an adult beetle, it’s at this stage that it will look to exit the timber by boring its way to the surface of the timber, this is often the time when you’ll notice the little round exit holes on the surface of the wood where the adult woodworm beetle has exited the timber. At this point the woodworm has matured into an adult flying beetle.
2. Because theirs exit holes, does this mean the infestation is active or dormant?
On reviewing the exit holes, it’s sometimes thought that the woodworm infestation is inactive because they have already left the timber, this unfortunately is a very common mistake that people make. Instead once the beetles escape the timber, they mate with the opposite sex and the process can begin all over again. The female looks to lay their eggs on another suitable wooden surface, the eggs hatch and the larvae burrow into the timber starting the process off once again, so just because you have exit holes does not mean that the woodworm infestation is dormant, the most likelihood is that the exiting woodworm beetles have already laid their eggs and the whole process has started again.
3. How do I know if I have an active woodworm infestation?
The correct way to identity whether you have an active woodworm infestation or not is to look for some tell-tale signs, believe or not, woodworm leave droppings behind, this is called frass and looks like a very fine sawdust. You will usually find frass in and around the exit holes of the wood that’s been infected by woodworm, you can also often find it on cobwebs near too to the woodworm infected timbers, this is probably the most obvious sign that you have a woodworm infestation and whether you require woodworm treatment or not.
4. Woodworm exit timber at any time of the year
But most commonly they exit in the warmer months of April through to September, this is often referred to in the industry as woodworm season, this is when the woodworm is at their most active. If you have noticed some holes that you suspect are from a woodworm infestation then woodworm season is the time that you’re most likely to spot adult woodworm beetles in and around your home, adult woodworm beetles fly to a source of light and its common to find them near windows and also on window sills, especially white window sills which show them up better. The beetles can be small brown dots all depending upon which type of woodworm you have, up here in the North East, Newcastle, Durham, Sunderland the most common woodworm type is common furniture beetle.
5. Does dampness cause woodworm issues?
Woodworm can infect both dry and damp timber, however, they do prefer damp wood that has been softened by the excess moisture. Different species of woodworm seem to prefer different types of timber, for example house longhorn beetle and wood boring weevil are often found in wood that has become soft due to the exposure of damp and wet rot, whilst common furniture beetle is often found in loft timbers and timbers in suspended floors as well as old furniture (hence the name). A type of woodworm species called death watch beetle is known to prefer hardwood timber like Oak and Ash.
The name death watch beetle comes from the rattling type noise the adult beetle makes, see video below, this is traditionally meant be bad luck, heralding the tragedy in a household. Its often heard in the quiet of the night and was thought to be a countdown to death.
To help you identify different types of woodworm, head over too our woodworm identification page which describes the different types of wood worm in more detail.
6. Does all woodworm infected timber need to be replaced?
Just because you have had a woodworm infestation does not mean that you will have to replace all timbers, this all depends on the type of woodworm that you have and how many repeated infestations you have had, floorboards being thin tend to be damaged more easily than a thicker loft rafters or floor joists.
All depending on the severity of the woodworm infestation and if the timber has been structurally comprised, we have specialist woodworm treatments which can be carried out to bring timbers back to strength that they were before the woodworm infestation. This is often more cost effective than having to renew full timbers which leads to a whole host of other works. We have various systems and techniques to replace and repair structural timbers. A word of caution, weakened structural timbers are not a DIY job, they should be repaired buy a professional and you should seek professional woodworm treatment advice first, a structural engineer may also have to be present to make sure that nothing is compromised.
7.Does old furniture harbour woodworm and should I throw it out?
There is a lot of evidence that points towards old furniture being a haven for woodworm, and sometimes the original source of woodworm outbreak. If the items of furniture aren’t valuable in anyway, it would be wise and we would strongly recommend that it be removed from your house, this could go a long way to prevent any further woodworm outbreaks in the property, having said that, woodworm often only penetrate the top layers of the furniture wood, some of the areas might not have been infected, in these circumstances you might be able to salvage the furniture but I would recommend it was isolated away from your main property in say garage or shed where it has less chance of affecting anything. If the wood is very crumbly and breaks off in your hand, then it’s time to get rid completely as you’ll not be able to successfully treat or salvage the furniture.
8. How to prevent a woodworm outbreak happening?
As you’ve heard all along prevention is the best course of action so if you have had woodworm recently, one of the best tips I could give you would to help prevent further woodworm infestations recurring would be, ventilate your property! the moisture content of the air in your property needs to be controlled, the reason for this is woodworm prefer timbers which have a higher level of moisture, so if you ventilate your property sufficiently that will in turn help keep timber moisture levels down and can go a long way to prevent another woodworm infestation taking place, moisture content of timbers below 12% is good, moisture content of 20% and above is the perfect condition for woodworm to take hold.
9. What are the most common forms of woodworm in the North East
The most common woodworm species in the northeast is by far the common furniture beetle, this must account for more than 90% of the wood worm infestations in the North East that we deal with, the likes of the death watch beetle and forest longhorn beetle, which by the way do cause the most structural damage tend to prefer the warmer climes down south. 9 out of 10 woodworm surveys in the North East result in the identification of common furniture beetle.
10. Do I need professional woodworm advice
The quick answer is yes, however you can buy over the counter woodworm treatments in any of the major DIY stores throughout Newcastle, Durham, Sunderland etc, however a word of warning is necessary, the treatments that are sold to joe public or a lot weaker than the treatments that professionals have access too, also, the trained eye of a woodworm specialist will know what and more importantly what not to treat. In the case of a mass outbreak, structural damage may have already occurred which the homeowner may not initially aware of.
For this reason, we would always recommend that you got in touch with a professional qualified woodworm treatment specialist who would be able to attend and access the situation.
TrustGuard offer a free no obligation woodworm survey in the North East, we cover Newcastle, Durham, Sunderland and everywhere in between, our woodworm treatment service allows us to apply professional grade treatments, certified by the health and safety executive to any affected areas in your property and issue long term guarantees.