What do you think when you hear the term “woodworm”?
Most people will associate the term with an abundance of tiny holes on your door frames, similar to that of a dart board; and rightly so, this is indeed one of the most recognisable signs of an infestation. But, there’s much more to woodworm than little dark holes. Believe it or not, woodworm has a very interesting lifecycle and also leave behind them a number of clues to which can help us answer the all-important question, “is the infestation active or not?”
How Does Woodworm Get Into Your Home?
Infected timber. Whether it’s your grandparent’s furniture, Del Boy’s Queen Anne cabinet or simply firewood, if you bring infected timber into your home you’re at risk of an infestation. Once in your property, the beetle will look for cracks, crevices and existing exit holes for places it can lay its eggs. The eggs hatch downward into the timber and produce larvae. It is at this point that the damage is caused to the timber as the larvae eats its way up and down the timber. This larvae will eventually pupate after anywhere between two and five years before emerging as an adult beetle, ready to mate and start the process again.
How Can I Spot Woodworm?
There are a number of ways to spot woodworm, for example, the Deathwatch Beetle makes a ticking noise as it bangs its head against the wood! You’d have thought that would give them a head-ache!
The three common signs preservation specialists look out for are:
Exit Holes – These holes are typically between one and three millimetres in diameter. They are made by the woodworm as they eat their way to the surface of the timber. The presence of these holes alone do not necessarily indicate a live infestation, however, new holes will tend to have a lighter shade of colour.
Frass – Frass is the excrement of the beetle, it’s gritty, it looks like wood shavings, and will more often than not be found around the exit holes. The presence of frass indicates there has been recent larval activity which isn’t good news, but not terrible, as long as you act on it promptly.
Live Beetles – The most obvious indication of a woodworm infestation is, in fact, the beetles themselves. They are commonly found in close proximity to the infected timber or are sometimes spotted near windowsills as they fly towards the light.
How Do You Treat Woodworm?
There are a number of methods of woodworm treatment, the most common being a water-based spray treatment due to its effectiveness and its efficiency in killing the insect. The solution absorbs into the timber over a period of about an hour, killing all living woodworm and eggs near the surface.
Should I Panic About Woodworm?
If you own an art gallery or antique shop, yes panic! But for the average homeowner, your concerns can be resolved efficiently by speaking to a specialist. The treatment can be completed ordinarily in under half a day and the water-based solution will protect your timber from further decay in the years to come.