Waging War on Woodworm

Woodworm are amongst some of the common pests that we encounter from time to time in our much loved homes. These mini-beasts can be a very damaging guest to have around, especially in households with many solid wooden aspects, like Oak living room furniture, floorboards and timber-frames for example. Whilst there are treatments to combat Woodworm infections it’s important that you catch the outbreak in time so as to best preserve the wood of your house.


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Unlike ‘Shipworm’, the term ‘Woodworm’ is an umbrella phrase which includes and covers many different species. All of these species however have one thing in common; they’re all types of wood-boring beetle. During the early life of these beetles the larvae, known as ‘Woodworm’, feed on and destroy wood. Don’t be alarmed too much by the term ‘destroy’ however as many of the home-invading Woodworm are unable to feed on dead wood, the kind found in the construction of houses and furniture, so further damage from these is very limited.


The first sign of you having a Woodworm infestation in your home is usually the small holes that appear on the surface of wooden items or timber framing. It’s important not to panic at this stage as it’s quite possible these beetles are not the large scale wood eating and destroying type. The first course of action to undertake would be to contact an entomologist, an insect expert, to identify the culprits. Once identification has taken place the entomologist can advise on the next course of action.


Whilst it’s obviously not your fault should you have an infection of Woodworm there are a few things you can do to help eradicate an infection or stop one entering your home all together. Occasionally all will appear fine for a few years after the construction of a home, but as the larvae, with a long life cycle, become active holes will begin to appear. These infections are present as the wood is installed during construction, with the initial infection taking place either before felling or during storage.

Should your home be free from infection it’s wise to keep it that way. One way to protect your home from the adverse effects of a Woodworm infection is to screen and check over all substantial pieces of solid wooden furniture before bringing them into your home. Another thing you could do to protect your home would be to limit and address any outbreaks of damp. Larval stages of wood-boring beetles need moisture during their development stage and will often be found in areas of the home with high humidity levels.


After seeking the advice of an entomologist you should be in a better position to make a decision as to which course of treatment is most appropriate for your specific situation. One thing’s for sure, tackling damp in areas of the house can have a serious affect on a Woodworm outbreak. Other treatment methods exist such as the use of pesticides, these can be highly effective and even more so if a trained professional is hired as they have licence to use even more effective products.

Both cold and heat treatments can be quite useful in battling Woodworm also. Wooden furniture can be treated by placing it in a freezer unit for a prolonged period of time, in most cases weeks on end. This will help to kill off any wood-boring beetles or Woodworm present in the item. Alternatively wood can be heated to high temperatures for periods, usually hours at a time, this can help to both dry out the wood in question and kill off any Woodworm inside.

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