There are various species of woodworm in the UK. The Common Furniture Beetle is the most widespread. However the Powder Post, House Longhorn and Death Watch Beetle can also infest timber.
The first thing to note about woodworm is it is not a worm but a beetle that is often referred to as the furniture beetle. This species causes the most damage to buildings and furniture in the UK and is the one we will concentrate on.
Initially the beetle seeks out wood that has high moisture content and lays its eggs on the timber, which will hatch. Once hatched the young larvae tunnel straight into the wood. It is the appearance of the larvae that gives it its name – worm. It lives in the wood for up to 5 years tunneling its way back and forth. During the larvae’s last season it eats its way almost to the surface, where it pupates for a short period of time. It then finally emerges as an adult breaking through the surface of the wood. Leaving the flight hole it is noted for.
The four stages of its life cycle are egg-larva-pupa-adult beetle.
Problems Woodworm Cause
The beetle and larvae present no known danger to health. However if left untreated, the damage caused to furniture, floorboards, structure and decorative timbers can be severe and also leaving unsightly holes. It will weaken timber and in extreme cases cause collapse. It is important to treat the problem as soon as possible to avoid having to replace timbers.
First we need to identify that it is woodworm (we have had DIY identification by clients that has turned out to be biscuit beetle!) We can then arrange for it to be treated effectively.
How to identify if you have Woodworm
- Fresh, small round or oval shaped holes seen on the surface of the wood.
- Dust often appearing below infested wood.
- Wood crumbling around edges of floorboards and joists.
- Dead beetles may be seen near damaged wood.
- Eggs but difficult to see with naked eye.
- Woodworm larvae – curved shape and creamy white in colour.
- Adult beetles may be seen from May to October, often attracted to windows (light) and found on window sills.