What is woodworm?

In certain circumstances, floorboards and timber in your home can be at risk of infestation by wood-boring insects or ‘woodworm’ as they are commonly referred to.

The most common kind of woodworm to affect properties in the UK today is the Common Furniture Beetle, or CFB (Anobium punctatum). Woodworm infest and feed on a range of timbers including those used in furniture or those which provide structural support for buildings.

Woodworm prefer to infest damp or moist timbers and so thrive most in internal timbers which have become damp, such as in floorboards. This can happen in a number of ways, including:

  • When the timber comes into direct contact with rising or penetrating damp;
  • When the timber becomes damp as a result of a leak; and
  • When timber is exposed to persistent high humidity, which it then absorbs.

Can woodworm damage my home?

With sufficient time, woodworm can consume enough of the timber to render it incredibly weak and brittle.

Where furniture is affected, it is slowly destroyed, but when structural timbers such as those in floors and walls are affected, this can result in the collapse of all or part of a property.

When does woodworm need specialist treatment?

Woodworm is a progressive and aggressive maintenance issue. Untreated, it can cause significant and widespread damage to any home which is why it’s essential to act fast and treat woodworm whenever you suspect a problem. Telltale signs of Woodworm include:

  • The appearance of small holes in timber;
  • Small deposits of dust or ‘frass‘ caused by insect boring;
  • Discovery of active or deceased insects; or
  • Movement or unusual creaking in a timber floor.

How to identify signs of woodworm

Woodworm can be identified by small round flight holes on the surface of timber; the gathering of wood dust nearby indicates recent burrowing and an active problem. CFB has a 3-4 year lifespan and, during this time it inhabits, feeds on and breeds in the infested timber.

One female CFB can lay up to 30 eggs in each breeding cycle, meaning that an infestation problem can escalate quickly. With an increase in the number of beetles, comes an increase in the amount of timber that is consumed by feeding and burrowing.

signs of woodworm

Specialist woodworm treatment costs

Our Surveyors will be able to help give you an accurate quotation for treating a woodworm infestation, depending on factors such as the damage and amount of areas impacted.

The cost for specialist woodworm treatments can be around £1,250-£1,750.00 per room.

How do I treat woodworm?

In any case where woodworm is discovered, the badly infested timber which is beyond repair should be removed and disposed of as a first action.

The use of ALLDAMP Timber Treatment Solution is necessary to prevent the spread of the woodworm by the disturbance of the affected timber. Any timber which is not removed should be treated with ALLDAMP Dual Purpose Timber Treatment Solution. Any timber used for replacements should be pre-treated against infestation.

The above assumes that the cause of the damp which led to the woodworm outbreak has been cured.

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Types of woodworm

Common Furniture Beetle (CFB)

This is the most common type of woodworm in the UK.

The common furniture beetle is a wood-boring insect that is found all over the world. It is a major pest of timber floors, wooden furniture and other objects, and can cause significant damage if left untreated.

Adult common furniture beetles are small, brown beetles that measure about 3-4.5 millimeters in length. They have a lifespan of only a few weeks, and do not feed during this time. Instead, they focus on mating and laying eggs.

Female common furniture beetles lay their eggs in cracks and crevices in wood. The eggs hatch into tiny larvae, which burrow into the wood and begin to feed. The larvae spend several years living inside the wood, eating and growing larger. When they are fully grown, they pupate and emerge as adult beetles.

The damage caused by common furniture beetles is caused by the larvae. As they burrow through the wood, they create tunnels and galleries. This can weaken the wood and make it more susceptible to breakage. Additionally, the larvae produce a fine dust called frass, which is often seen around exit holes and on the surface of infested wood.

Common furniture beetles can be identified by the presence of exit holes in wood. These holes are typically small and round, and are often surrounded by frass. Other signs of an infestation include creaking or cracking wood, and the presence of adult beetles.

Weevil

Wood-boring weevils are a small group of weevils that attack damp or decaying wood. They are found in many parts of the world, including the UK, Europe, North America, and Australia.

Wood-boring weevils are not as common as other types of woodworm, such as common furniture beetle. However, they can still cause significant damage to wooden structures and furniture.

The larvae of wood-boring weevils bore holes in wood as they feed. These holes can weaken the wood and make it more likely to break. Wood-boring weevils can also cause wood to decay, which can lead to further damage.

Wood-boring weevils are more likely to attack wood that is damp or decaying. Therefore, it is important to keep wood dry and well-ventilated to prevent infestation.

The larvae of the wood-boring weevil can live in wood for up to 3 years, and can cause extensive damage.

Deathwatch Beetle

The deathwatch beetle is a small, wood-boring insect that is found in many parts of the world. It is named for the distinctive ticking sound that the males make to attract females. Deathwatch beetles are not considered to be a serious pest, but they can cause damage to wooden structures if left untreated.

Adult deathwatch beetles are about 5-7 millimeters long and have a dark brown or black body. They have a lifespan of about 2-3 years. Deathwatch beetles lay their eggs in cracks and crevices in wood. The eggs hatch into tiny larvae, which burrow into the wood and begin to feed. The larvae spend several years living inside the wood, eating and growing larger. When they are fully grown, they pupate and emerge as adult beetles.

The damage caused by deathwatch beetles is caused by the larvae. As they burrow through the wood, they create tunnels and galleries. This can weaken the wood and make it more susceptible to breakage. Additionally, the larvae produce a fine dust called frass, which is often seen around exit holes and on the surface of infested wood.

Deathwatch beetles can be identified by the presence of exit holes in wood. These holes are typically small and round, and are often surrounded by frass. Other signs of an infestation include the distinctive ticking sound that the males make, and the presence of adult beetles.

Deathwatch beetle larvae can live in wood for up to 10 years, and can cause severe damage.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How can I tell whether I have woodworm?

We have listed some of the common signs of woodworm above on this page, but you should always seek an expert opinion due to the danger that woodworm can pose to you and anyone living in the property.

Is woodworm dust dangerous?

Woodworm are not directly dangerous to our health, but the damage that they cause to timber makes them a considerable risk to have in your home. The collapse of floors and ceilings affected by woodworm is not uncommon.

Does the timber affected need to be replaced?

No, not always, but it depends on the extent of the infestation and how long the timber has been affected. As time passes, more and more of the timber is consumed by the woodworm, making it weaker; if the timber has become too weak to bear weight, it should be replaced.

Our surveyors assess the extent of any woodworm infestation and try to keep the replacements to a minimum to save on cost. If timber does not need to be replaced, our staff will treat it with ALLDAMP Dual Purpose Timber Treatment Solution.

Does woodworm cause other damp issues?

When addressing a woodworm problem, the source of the damp which has affected the timber and sustained the infestation must first be identified and resolved. The following is a list of sources of damp which can lead to woodworm infestation:

Roof defects

The integrity of the roof should be inspected to check for any defects which might cause water to leak into the building, such as blocked guttering, defective surfacing to valley gutters, missing or broken tiles and faulty flashing around chimneys.

Wall defects

The condition of external walls is perhaps the most obvious factor to check when determining whether damp will affect a property. A properly constructed and maintained wall will repel water and allow a degree of ventilation to prevent humidity building inside the property or beneath floors.

Factors which can inhibit a wall’s efficacy at doing this include the deterioration of mortar in brickwork joints, a faulty or missing damp proof course, the bridging of the damp proof course, blocked or missing air bricks, cracked or broken internal pipework, faulty window flashing, continuous overflow from cisterns or water tanks.

Internal defects

A range of internal conditions can cause the source of the dampness which leads to a woodworm infestation.

A solid floor without an effective damp proof membrane will allow water to rise through it and into any adjacent timbers such as skirting boards, condensation/ water vapour which comes into contact with timber, the trapping of flood water beneath a timber floor, leaking internal pipes or toilets and linoleum tightly fitted over non-ventilated or poorly-ventilated timber floors will trap water vapour and eventually cause the timber to become wet.

Contact Us To Book A Survey

We offer free timber reports and woodworm treatment quotes throughout Yorkshire.

If you suspect a woodworm problem in your home, our expert Surveyors can check timber for signs of an infestation. Speak to a member of the team now on 0330 111 3377 or press the button below to book your survey.

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