Damp Proofing, Woodworm Treatment, Dry Rot & Timber Decay Specialists
WOODWORM TREATMENT OR CONTROL
Woodworm is a generic term used to describe various species of beetles, the larvae of which are able to use wood as a source of food. Wood boring beetles, like fungal decay, can if in the right conditions, cause considerable damage resulting in the weakening of structural and joinery timbers. The result of which is having woodworm treatment carried out to resolve the problem.
The life cycle of the wood boring beetle is normally always near completion before most home owners are even aware that they have a problem. The adult woodworm beetle lays her eggs in cracks and crevices of the timber. When the eggs hatch, the woodworm larvae burrows into the wood feeding off the timber within and creating tunnels. On reaching maturity, the adult beetle emerges from the timber creating the characteristic woodworm holes and bore dust (frass). This is when we are called in to carry out woodworm treatment.
The various species of woodworm beetle common to this country, all have fairly similar life cycles, however the length from laying of the woodworm egg to the emergence of the woodworm beetle varies in length. The active season of the woodworm beetle is between May and October, when is some cases the wood boring beetles can be see emerging from floor and roof timbers in properties throughout the UK.
When dealing with an active infestation of woodworm, the necessity for chemical wood worm treatment or non treatment depends upon the species of wood worm beetle and the type of timber and its moisture content. Some beetles such as the Death Watch & Weevil prefer damp or decayed timber for its survival and in most cases chemical woodworm treatment is not required to eradicate the infestation, as controlling moisture levels and drying the timbers may be all that is necessary.
It is therefore extremely important that the correct identification of the beetle species is made. Only when the species of wood worm beetles and extent of attack have been accurately determined, can a reliable recommendation be made as to the need for chemical woodworm treatment.
There are three categories into which woodworm are based.
Woodworm Treatment usually needed.
Woodworm Treatment necessary only to control associated wood rot.
No woodworm treatment needed.
The most common of the woodworm beetles found in the UK mainland are:
Common Furniture Beetle (Anobium punctatum)
House Longhorn Beetle (Hylotrupes bajulus)
Death Watch Beetle (Xestobium rufovillosum)
Wood Boring Weevil (Euophryum confine and Pentarthrum huttoni)
Bark Borer (Ernobius mollus)
By correctly identifying the type of woodworm evidence (by studying the frass and size/shape of the flight holes), then correct remedial measures can be taken.
Common Furniture Beetle:
(WoodwormTreatment needed for active infestation)
This woodworm is the most common wood boring insect found in buildings throughout Britain. It is also found in New Zealand, Australia and other parts of the world. It normally attacks structural timbers made from the sapwood (the "working" part of a tree) of softwoods and European hardwoods, unless wood rot is present in the heartwood (the "old" inner part of a tree). It is commonly found in furniture (from where it gets its name), structural timbers particularly around loft hatches, timbers in contact with solid walls, under stairs cupboards and other areas affected by damp. Flight holes found in very old structural timbers may often be historic so will not require chemical woodworm treatment.
House Longhorn Beetle:
(Replacement of infested timbers using new pre-treated timber)
This woodworm beetle is a major cause of damage to softwood building timbers throughout central and southern Europe. In the UK significant damage is confined, in the main, to roofing timbers, and is mainly confined to the South West area of London, where special Building Regulations exist to protect structural timber and prevent further spread. It attacks the sapwood of most softwoods. On warm days an audible scraping noise can be heard where the larvae of large infestations are feeding on the wood. Details of suspected outbreaks should be reported to the BRE (Building Research Establishment) who maintain records of infestations in the UK. Newer buildings, in particular domestic dwellings built after the First World War and up to the present day, have smaller timbers which often contain a large proportion of sapwood. This provides the potential for roof collapse if the timbers become seriously infested with house longhorn beetle.
Death Watch Beetle:
(Woodworm treatment necessary)
In the British Isles, this woodworm beetle is common to the south of England, but less so in the North, and unknown in Scotland. The death watch beetle will attack partially decayed hardwoods, mainly oak. It is often found in historic buildings where large quantities of oak or elm beams have been used structurally. Dampness is essential for the establishment and rapid development of the attack, however it can occur in drier timbers but at a much slower rate. It is usually found in areas which are prone to damp, such as wall plates, floor joist ends, lintels and other built-in timbers.
(no woodworm treatment necessary only to treat associated wood rot)
Occasionally misidentified as the Common Furniture Beetle, though of slimmer appearance and having a long snout. Wood-boring weevils will only attack timber that is damp and decayed, with the damage they cause being secondary to that of the fungus. There is no fixed emergence period and holes are ragged, of about 1 mm in diameter. This beetle does not require chemical woodworm treatment as it will die rapidly once the affected timber has dried out. Infestation of sound, dry wood is not possible.
(no woodworm treatment necessary)
In instances where the Bark Borer is identified, then no woodworm treatment is necessary. It is only usually found in buildings where timbers have bark present. By removal of any bark the infestation will die naturally through lack of food source.
An African Import . . . . . . "False Powder-Post Beetle"
This exotic wood-boring beetle of the family Bostrychidae (one of the commonly called 'false powder-post beetles'), with its large, distinctive and rather menacing thoracic horns, is found in parts of Africa and Arabia. It is often imported to Europe (and sometimes to Britain) in timber. These can sometimes emerge from ethnic wooden bowls and ornaments that people have purchased abroad and brought back to the UK as tourist souvenirs!!!
The threat from woodworm is most severe when they attack timber in buildings. Over time, the woodworm tunnels weaken the timber and if left untreated, active infestations of woodworm can lead to structural damage.
Woodworm in furniture may be treated with a range of appropriate products available from your local hardware stores. However, woodworm which is found in the structural timbers of your home should be inspected by a professional damp and timber surveyor, who can identify the species of wood worm and recommend the correct remedial measures or woodworm treatment for that particular woodworm beetle.
Many woodworm infestations go undetected for years by which time the damage can be widespread and severe. It is important to act swiftly if you are concerned that you may have a problem with woodworm in your house, Employing a fully qualified CTIS Damp Aid surveyor will ensure you get the correct advice.
Woodworm Survey by Damp Aid
Before undertaking woodworm treatment, a Damp Aid Surveyor will conduct a timber survey inspecting all accessible floor & roof void timbers to assess the extent of the woodworm problem, the species of woodworm infestation and how far the woodworm has spread. He will also check for associated problems such as timber decay / rot or dampness and identify if any timbers need to be replaced. Only then can the appropriate decision be made as to whether the cost for woodworm treatment is required. The findings following the timber survey will be set out within a report which will satisfy the mortgage lenders/providers.
Woodworm treatment by Damp Aid
Woodworm is treated by targeting at least one stage in the development of the beetle. The infestation will be brought quickly under control, but with their long lifecycles it may take more than a year or so before a woodworm infestation completely dies out.
The woodworm treatments we use are powerful but are applied to minimise exposure to people, pets and the environment. They are generally applied as a low odour, water-based fluid sprayed onto the surfaces of the structural timbers. Should woodworm treatment be necessary, then the treatment is covered by the Damp Aid long term guarantee with an optional Insured guarantee provided if required.
The Cost of Treating Woodworm
We are often asked - How much does woodworm treatment cost?
The cost of treating woodworm will vary from property to property. A woodworm survey (timber survey) would be required to determine the type (species) of woodworm beetle and the extent of the infestation. It is also necessary to find out if the woodworm infestation is active or historic. In some cases it is not necessary to treat the whole property therefore, based on these factors the woodworm treatment costs would vary with each individual property.
A Case of Mis-identification
There have been many instances where Damp Aid have been instructed to inspect an outbreak of woodworm and provide a quotation for the woodworm treatment. These clients have already had quotations from other damp and timber companies who have offered a "free" damp and timber survey. Upon inspection, by a DampAid surveyor, it has been noted that the particular beetle infestation is such, that the woodworm treatment is not required or the wood worm infestation has been of a historic nature. In these circumstances the clients have saved hundreds of pounds by avoiding unnecessary chemical woodworm treatment. To avoid misidentification and incorrect diagnosis, employ a fully qualified CTIS/CSRT damp and timber surveyor.
Call your nearest office to book a survey or email us
Britton, EB. 1961. Domestic Wood-boring Beetles. British Museum (Natural History) Economic Series No. 11A. London, British Museum (Natural History).
Duffy, EAJ. 1953. A Monograph of the Immature Stages of British and Imported Timber Beetles. London, British Museum (Natural History).
Hickin, NE. 1975. The Insect Factor In Wood Decay. The Rentokil Library. London, Associated Business Programmes Ltd.