What to do if you have a Woodworm Infestation
It can be difficult to deal with a woodworm infestation if you don’t pick up on the signs early enough. The name woodworm refers to the damage that insect larvae cause living under the surface of the wood. If left untreated, it can damage the wood.
The most noticeable sign of woodworm infestation is the appearance of small holes on the surface of the wood. It can spread very quickly and causes serve structural and cosmetic damage if it isn’t treated. This article explains what to do if you identify woodworm and how to deal with the issue.
Determine the type
It is very important to determine the type of woodworm infestation. It may look like all types of woodworm at the same but there are actually different types. The common furniture beetle can usually be found on old furniture and loft timbers. The Death Watch beetles tend to be found on hardwoods like oak and ash. The house Longhorn beetle can cause the most severe damage if left untreated.
You can detect the type of woodworm you are dealing with by looking at the conditions and type of wood they are living in and the area of the country you live in. Death Watch beetles are more common in Central and Southern England. House Longhorn beetles are usually in the South East of England.
Is the woodworm active?
You also need to know if the woodworm is active or not. It is a common misconception that the holes are a sign that the woodworm has left and are inactive. However, it is very likely that the original woodworm has left its offspring behind in the wood.
A good way to tell is to look for droppings; they look like fine sawdust and are usually around the holes in the infected wood. You can also fill the exit holes with beeswax or tissue paper, leaving it for a year and seeing if any adult beetles bore through in the next year.
Choose the best type of method
Insecticides can be used to treat infestations, but they are not always 100% guaranteed to work. This is because surface applied insecticides do not have much penetration. It usually only penetrates the top one or two millimeters of the wood so does not reach the larvae deep inside.
Another method is to use Vapor Strip ‘fly traps’, you place them in loft spaces and in under-ventilated areas of your home or workplace. The fly traps can kill the emerging adult beetles.
In some cases, you may need to seek professional help. This is because the treatment of woodworm infestation can need to be very thorough and involves spraying chemicals. A mass outbreak of woodworm that has caused any structural damage needs to be treated very carefully and for this, you should go straight to a professional.
Be prepared to have to lose some furniture
If the wood in furniture starts to crumble or break off when touched, then it is unlikely that even after successful treatment you’ll be able to salvage the furniture. The only action, in this case, is to get rid of the furniture.
If the woodworm is only found among the upper layer of the infected wood and leaves the surrounding layers untouched, then it is less likely you will have to get rid of the furniture. The wood will probably still be quite strong and capable after the wood is treated.
While infestations can sometimes be difficult to treat, if you catch the problem early enough, it is relatively fast and easy to deal with. Just be sure to get a treatment plan underway as soon as possible.
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Be sure to check Martin’s previous Renovation Ideas article