Woodworm is the umbrella term for wood boring beetles.
They feed on the natural cellulose content in timber.
A misconception about woodworm is that they die just as wasps and bees do in the colder months, so their danger is limited. They enjoy damp and cool conditions, so autumn and winter are key months for people to notice that they have a woodworm infestation.
Woodworm evolved by eating the timbers (trees) in forests, which were generally damp, they grew accustomed to this and as they migrated in to urban settings they discovered that properties, especially those with poor ventilation, provided perfect situations for their survival.
It is as larvae and pupa, prior to the adult beetle stage in their life cycle that they present the most hazards to timber. Larvae and pupa can, during the 2-5 years they spend in the same timber, cause substantial structural, health and safety and insurance validity problems. They will not leave until resources are depleted or they exit as beetles.
In the UK a woodworm infestation is normally caused by one of the following:
The Common Furniture Beetle – Anobium punctatum – is a wood boring species that prefers soft woods. Damp floorboards and old furniture with an elevated moisture level are excellent for them.
The Deathwatch Beetle – Xestobium rufovillosum – can often be found in wet or damaged hardwoods and primarily in the south of England, according to Aviva. Expect severe issues when the infestation is not addressed promptly.
The House Longhorn Beetle – Hylotrupes bajulu – This species is much rarer than the other two in the UK. These woodworm appreciate soft woods. Damp roof timbers offer an optimum environment. Holes in woodwork are surprisingly large.
Their lifecycle is biased towards the larvae and pupa stages
Eggs are laid by the mother in the crevices of wood and these hatch after 10-14 days.
The larvae burrow in to the adjacent timber immediately and most species remain there for around 2-5 years; the Deathwatch Beetle can live for 10 years.
As pupa, they rise to the surface of the timber as they reach maturity.
They exit the timber as adults. The beetles have a sole purpose, to procreate. This done, they die. They spend less than 14 days as beetles.
Clues that you need a timber treatment company:
- Live or dead beetles concentrated in areas.
- New fresh-looking holes in wooden furniture, timber joists, beams or flooring.
- Dust (frass) piles beneath these holes.
- Holes that lead to tunnels called galleries.
- Weak, damaged timber.
Woodworm timber treatments come in two forms:
- Woodworm prevention.
- Woodworm infestation eradication.
Specialist timber treatment and woodworm infestation eradication firms including Thames Valley Timber Treatment have access to under license applications which are far superior to DIY over the counter treatments. Insurance companies may stipulate that only professional treatments will suffice.
Please don’t try to replicate the performance of a qualified, experienced, knowledgeable timber treatment company operative. Their understanding of woodworm and the chemical treatments deliver peace of mind with a guarantee on work.