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Woodworm - Help & Guidance for Homeowners

Woodworm’ is the generic name commonly given for wood boring insects whilst they are in their larval stage of their life cycle. The term refers to not one single species of beetle, although by virtue of its abundance, it is commonly associated with the Common Furniture Beetle

In the UK there is a large number of insects that bore into timber either living or dead. However, very few have adapted to infesting timber in our homes but a few have learnt to thrive under such conditions. 

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What are the potential problems Woodworm can cause

If left unchecked, in the right conditions, woodworm issues can manifest into more of a widespread issue affecting more timbers and potentially leading to more costly repairs. The infestations can lead to significant damage, severe structural weakening and potentially eventually total collapse.  


Woodworm damage - PCA

How to Identify Woodworm Issues

The most common tell-tale sign for homeowners that they may have a Woodworm issue, particularly that of the common furniture beetle, is the small round holes approximately 1-2mm in size that are left as the adult beetle emerges from the timber. 
The more tricky part is determining if the infestation is active or inactive. Typically signs of activity include small piles of bore dust (also known as frass) around exit holes. These can be particularly prominent on vertical surfaces where the bore dust falls and leaves distinct trails. However in certain conditions where the environment is not distrurbed, then even this can be misleading. One of the best indicators is the presence of adult beetle carcases, although beetle identification can also be tricky. 

Preventing woodworm issues occuring

The best means of preventing woodworm infestation is to simply keep your timbers dry. If the timber has a sufficiently low moisture content then it is highly unlikely to sustain any infestation. However in reality this can be very difficult especially in unheated uninsulated voids such as lofts and beneath floors.

Most modern timbers used in areas prone to high moisture are pretreated with appropriate preservatives which provide an extra degree of protection from infestation. But if the environmental conditions within the building allows prolonged wetting, these preservatives may not be relied upon. 

Woodworm - Dealing with the Issue - PCA

How to deal with a Woodworm issue

Prior to undertaking any form of treatment, it is essential to establish if the infestation is active or historic. We do recommend here that all suspected (and surrounding) timbers should be investigated by a suitably qualified professional to determine evidence of current activity to justify any form of treatment. It may be the case the infestation may have already died out due to unsuitability of the timber, decreased moisture content or due to previous treatments. In these instances, treatment will not be justified.

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Recommended Woodworm specialists you can speak to

Members of the PCA that specialise in timber preservation are the recommended first port of call for practical advice on infestations from wood destroying insects. The ability to implement the correct and appropriate remedial treatments can save huge sums of money that would have otherwise been spent on expensive structural repairs. 

PCA members who specialise in timber preservation are proficient in a number of techniques that can be utilised to control Woodworm beetle infestations. Each PCA member has ben  carefully vetted before being awarded membership and are then subjected to rigorous ongoing auditing procedures once admitted to the association. 

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Professional Woodworm Guidance

For professional tradesmen or contractors looking to find out more more technical detail about Woodworm & timber preservation, visit our professional guidance section.

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