What To Look For to Detect Signs of Woodworm
To help identify the signs we have included detailed information below but, in the first instance, you could check for the following:
- Look for signs of exit holes in timbers - either round or oval and seem clean and recent.
- Look for dust left by emerging beetle - either around tiny holes or on the floor below.
- Look for floorboards that seem to have been weakened.
- Look for gouged tunnels in wooden timbers.
- Look at the edges of timber - do they look as though they are disintegrating slightly?
- Look for any type of larvae that are curved and cream in colour.
What is Woodworm?
Woodworm is basically the wood-eating larvae of any of many different species of woodboring beetle.
It is a description given to the infestation of a wooden item by these larvae.
Usually the adult beetles lay eggs on or just under the surface of a wooden item. When the grubs hatch they feed on
the wood causing damage before they hatch as beetles which then themselves breed and lay more eggs.
To survive and breed, most of these beetles need a higher moisture content than is normally found in the home.
Many buildings affected have a higher degree of damp than normal with perhaps a lack of ventilation - often in an enclosed space, such as a cellar or
roof space,inside an otherwise dry building.
Woodboring beetles with larvae commonly known as woodworms include the Common Furniture Beetle (Anobium Punctatum) and the
Deathwatch Beetle (Xestobium Rufovillosum).
About the Common Furniture Beetle (Anobium Punctatum)
The Common Furniture Beetle is found in general softwoods and European hardwoods.
It is usually only sapwood that is affected by the Common Furniture Beetle, unless wood rot is present when it may also be found in heartwood.
The Common Furniture Beetle is frequently found in older furniture and all constructional timbers, particularly around loft accesses,
timbers in contact with solid walls, under the stairs, inside cupboards and in other areas affected by damp. It's extremely rare in tropical hardwoods.
The Common Furniture Beetle attacks only old birch, beech and oak plywoods with animal based adhesives (blood, fish or casein). Modern plywoods and
all other panel products are immune, although they may be penetrated by emerging adults.
The Common Furniture Beetle holes are circular, between 1 and 2mm in diameter (old, extinct damage is often accompanied by fine pinholes of parasitic wasps).
Their tunnels are circular, between 1 and 2mm in diameter and are often extensive, with random orientation but mainly in the direction of the grain.
They are often exposed on the surface of floorboards by general wear.
The Common Furniture Beetle's bore dust is cream in colour - lemon-shaped pellets which are gritty when rubbed between fingers.
The adult Common Furniture Beetle is between 3 and 5mm in length, is dull brown with lines of pits on its wing covers.
It is often confused with the Stegobium species. It's found on and around damaged timber during late March to early August, particularly in warm weather and
is attracted to windows and white surfaces.
Their larva are up to 6mm long and are curved - pale cream. With three pairs of legs and a narrow dark band over their mouth parts.
They are found all year round in infested wood. Often they are few in number and are absent in extinct infestation.
About the Deathwatch Beetle (Xestobium Rufovillosum)
Deathwatch Beetles are found in general sapwood and heartwood of partially decayed hardwoods, mainly oak.
They are often found in historic buildings where large quantities of oak or elm have been used structurally.
Softwoods are rarely attacked except when they are in contact with infested hardwood.
Dampness is essential for the establishment of death watch beetles and this promotes rapid development, although an attack can continue, albeit slowly
in drier timber.
The Deathwatch Beetle is found particularly in areas prone to dampness, such as wall plates, ends of floor joists, lintels and other built-in timbers.
Damage is often extreme in concealed bearing ends of timbers into damp walls.
If in conjunction with fungus, the death watch beetle may hollow out the centres of large section beams.
Deathwatch Beetle emergence holes are circular and approx. 3mm in diameter.
Their tunnels are also circular and approx. 3mm in diameter, often extensive, with random orientation, mainly in the direction of the grain.
The bore dust of the Deathwatch Beetle is cream in colour - disc-shaped pellets. They are gritty when rubbed between fingers.
Adult Deathwatch Beetles are between 6 and 9 mm in length and are chocolate brown in colour with patches of yellow hairs.
They have a similar shape to dermestids but have slightly different antennae and thorax.
Deathwatch Beetle are found on or beneath timbers. From March to June, particularly in warm weather, they may be heard tapping.
Deathwatch Beetle larva are up to 9mm in length and are curved - pale cream in colour.
They have three pairs of small legs and are covered in fine gold hairs.
They can be confused with bark borer beetles.
Deathwatch Beetle larva are found in timber all year round but may be deep inside larger timbers.
They occasionally fall from severely damaged wood, to be found on the floor beneath.