Although you might not have actually seen very much of these wood-boring insects – more commonly known as woodworms – you’ve most probably seen signs of their unwanted presence in your home!
Of course, whilst these woodworm beetles won’t infect you, it is better to start treating woodworm sooner rather than later to prevent re-infestation or structural damage to your property.
If you’re dealing with these unwanted intruders, then this handy guide has everything you need to know about woodworms and woodworm treatment! No matter how large the issue, we’ve got it covered!
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What are woodworms?
Despite the name, you might be surprised to find that a woodworm isn’t a type of ‘worm’ at all.
Instead, it is the common name used for the larvae stage of a woodworm life cycle, where they look maggot or worm-like in appearance.
Adult beetles will lay eggs in wooden surfaces, especially in spaces where the moisture content is high. This is why woodworm might be particularly noticeable in damp areas – such as your loft timbers.
Once hatched, these larvae will live happily inside the wood for up to five years. After this time, they each turn into an adult beetle and burrow out of their home, leaving behind distinctive holes in the surface.
What does a woodworm infestation look like?
A woodworm infestation may look different depending on the area.
This is mostly due to the fact that these wood-boring beetles spend the majority of their life as woodworm larvae, hidden within a wooden object. You may only start to notice the infestation once the adult beetles leave their home, and their exit holes begin to appear.
You may wish to regularly check your important wooden surfaces, just so you notice as soon as damage starts to appear. Remember, when you start seeing the beetles’ exit holes, they’ve likely already caused damage to the inside of your wooden loft timbers or furniture, so it’s time to act fast.
The Main Signs of Woodworm Damage
If you haven’t yet noticed any signs your home has woodworm problems, it’s still worth double-checking the condition of your wooden surface.
An important thing to look out for is sudden decay in structural timbers. The decay could have been caused by moisture or strain, but it could also be indicative of a woodworm infestation.
As soon as you notice decay in the wood, you should call a specialist. Regardless of whether the damage is caused by woodworm or not, damage to your home’s structural supports can potentially put you and your family in danger.
If it’s furniture and not timber that you’re concerned about – you’re in luck. Woodworm in furniture is much easier to spot – so keep an eye out for any sawdust-like substances collecting around your wooden belongings.
This sawdust is produced when the adult woodworm exits through emergence holes. It’s often a sign of an active infestation and could mean you already have furniture larvae inside the piece of furniture.
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What are the main types of woodworm?
There are three main kinds of woodworm that you may find in your home, and some are more common than others.
Common Furniture Beetle
As the name suggests, this is the most common kind of woodworm, and they mostly attack softwood timber.
They have a life cycle that lasts around 6 weeks – so they have very rapid reproduction rates, which is what allows them to spread quickly.
Death Watch Beetle
This kind of woodworm isn’t quite as deadly as their name suggests – but they’re definitely a lot harder to treat.
The conditions these beetles thrive in are not particularly common inside homes – they love damp, rotting timber.
The Death Watch Beetle also has a much longer life span than the Common Furniture Beetle. Whilst this prevents them from reproducing rapidly and spreading widely – it means they spend more time living inside your wooden surfaces and causing structural weakening.
House Longhorn Beetle
If you believe you’re dealing with the House Longhorn Beetle – do not attempt to treat it yourself.
It’s essential to seek professional advice, and enlist a woodworm treatment specialist to help you.
Are woodworms expensive to remove?
This will largely depend on the size of your infestation, and the type of woodworm beetle you’re dealing with.
If you have a small infestation of Common Furniture Beetles, you may be able to get rid of the problem using cheap DIY solutions.
However, if you’re dealing with a more serious issue, or believe your property contains a House Longhorn infestation – you should definitely enlist woodworm treatment specialists to help you.
They’ll be able to offer personalised solutions for different types of infestation, and will remove the problem whilst keeping you and your property safe.
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If you’re dealing with Common beetles, DIY products may work well. Spraying woodworm killer on the areas with infestations is usually enough if the problem is contained.
However, with large woodworm infestations, please seek professional advice.
After the initial treatment is complete, it is recommended that you keep a careful watch of any problem areas for at least a decade.
The level of your treatment will depend on whether the issue was surface level or deeper into the core of the timber.