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Treating Woodworm

Woodworm is the name often referred to in relation to insects that feed on and destroy wood in the built environment. The habit of one insect ‘Anobium punctatum’ of devouring wooden furniture in homes has resulted in the adoption of the name from the ‘Common Furniture Beetle’. 

It is more often than not the larval stage of a wood destroying beetle that does most of the damage. The small grubs that can sometimes be seen when infested is broken open are the worm-like laval stages of the adult beetles that emerge from the timbers to breed and lay eggs. 

For many professionals, the Common Furniture Beetle is the most commonly encountered species of wood destroying insect in the UK. However, Death watch beetle, powder post beetle and wood boring weevils are also relatively common when the right sort of wood is found in conditions where these insects are able to thrive. 

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Woodworm - Dealing with the Issue - PCA

What you need to do prior to treating Woodworm

Before any treatments or interventions are considered the correct diagnostic investigations should be undertaken by specialists who can do the following.

  • Correctly identify the wood destroying insect 
  • Establish that the infestation is active and requires action. 
  • Consider the causes of the infestation 
  • Study the scope and implication of the outbreak 
  • Advise on the best and most effective strategies for monitoring, control and eradication  

PCA’s recommended approach to treating Woodworm

The control and eradication of wood destroying insects in buildings is based on an understanding of the nature and characteristics of each beetle or weevil. This must be complemented by knowledge of the building, its construction, the clients needs and any heritage considerations.

Some wood destroying insects such as bark boring beetles will require no intervention while wood boring weevil is best tackled by controlling water ingress and wood rot. 

+ Treating/Controlling Common Furniture Beetles

Other types of wood destroying insects such as Common furniture beetles may be more difficult to control by changing the environments, but can very safely and effectively be treated with the use of targeted professionally applied wood preservatives. 

+ Treating/Controlling the Death Watch or House Longhorn Beetles

Insects such as the Death watch beetle may be best tackled with a combined approach to both moisture control, engineering and the use of targeted chemical preservatives, while insects such as the house longhorn beetle, though relatively rare, will probably require extensive and detailed investigation followed by timber repairs and the use of chemical preservatives. 

Guidance of the best approaches to the management and control of wood destroying insects can be found in the PCA best practice guide. 

Some helpful Woodworm & timber preservation CPD Videos

Technical documents you can view

For those interested, there is a variety of timber preservation related 'Codes of Practice', Technical Documents, Guidance Notes and other related documents via our Timber preservation Document Library.  Simply click on the button below to view the library.  Documents of interest include:

  • Code of Practice for the Investigation and Control of Wood Destroying Insects and Fungi in Buildings
  • Fungal Decay in Buildings
  • Guidance Note Party Wall Act 1996
  • Wood Destroying Insects in Buildings

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Want to learn more about treating woodworm?

For those interested in learning more about treating woodworm, there is a variety of PCA training options for surveying professionals as well as technical/trade professionals. 

Use the search tool below to find available woodworm related training courses or simply go to our training & qualifications section.  Alternatively, if you want to chat to someone, contract our training team on 01480 400 000 or contact them online.

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Professional Guidance

For those professionals looking for information, technical help and guidance towards and variety of property related problems, why not check out our 'professional guidance' pages.

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