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Woodworm And How To Deal With Them

Woodworm And How To Deal With Them

Woodworm are the larvae of several different species of beetle, wood boring beetles lay their eggs in the natural grooves and crevices that can be found on wood. Once the eggs hatch the larvae can cause serious structural damage to a property, a woodworm infestation is bad news and should be treated as soon as it is found. The tell-tale little holes that woodworm leave are actually exit holes so many people don't notice an infestation until after the larvae have hatched, wood boring larvae can live in wood for up to ten years so can cause serious damage before they are spotted.

Beetles That Eat Wood or Lay Wood Eating Larvae

Many wood boring beetles take flight and start looking for spots to lay their eggs around April time, keep your eyes open and you might see some of the below over the next few months.

Ambrosia Beetles

Platypus cylindrus is the only member of the ambrosia beetle family found in Britain. The larvae of this beetle don't actually eat wood, the ambrosia beetle digs tiny holes into the wood and then infests it with a ambrosia fungi. The beetles and fungi have a kind of symbiotic relationship since the fungi needs the beetle to spread it and the beetle eats the fungi. You can learn more about the ambrosia beetle here.

Ambrosia beetles like damp conditions so as long as you keep your home dry you should not have a problem with them, look for leaks in the roof, around your washing machine and keep condensation under control.

Woodboring Weevils

Pentarthrum huttoni is not a species indigenous to the U.K, this beetle is indigenous to New Zealand. The first recorded U.K sighting of this species was in 1937. The first domestic U.K infestion of pentarthrum huttoni was recorded in 1947. This beetle grows up to 3.6 mm in length, it has very small protruding eyes and is dark brown in colour.

Common Furniture Beetle

This beetle has a 3 to 4 year life cycle and lays its eggs in the exit holes produced by previous larvae, adult furniture beetles do not feed they only reproduce.

Death Watch Beetle

If you have a modern home you are probably safe from an infestation of this species, the death watch beetle larvae only likes to feed on rotting hardwood. Larvae can spend up to 10 years inside infected timber and when they emerge as adults they can measure up to 7mm in length. To attract a mate, the death watch beetle bangs its head against wood, this banging produces a tapping sound.

House Borer 

This beetle is common in modern homes because it likes to lay its eggs in softwood timber. The house borer beetle can have a lifespan of up to 10 years. The house borer is dark brown in colour, it has long antennae on the front of its head and white hairs on its body.

Powderpost Beetle

This beetle is similar to the death watch beetle in that it likes to attack hardwood but unlike the death watch beetle it is not common in old houses. The powderpost beetle likes to lay its egg on wood with a high starch content, as wood ages it dries and loses its starch content.

Treatment of a Woodworm Infestation

As we said above many species of wood boring insect like decaying, rotten wood. If you have an infestion you will want to remove any damp and rotten material from your home. Damp is not good for the health, it can cause all sorts of respiratory problems, rot wood and other building materials. Dry rot and wet rot can cause just as much damage as woodworm so the removal of any damp is a good idea regardless.

Once you have located and removed any damp, you will want to remove any structurally damaged wood and treat the area around an infestation with an insecticide. Insecticides such as Boron Gel can be bought cheaply online or from your local hardware store, many insecticides can be sprayed on to an infestation or applied with a paint brush. You can treat an infestation yourself quite easily but woodworm can cause serious structural damage, to ensure an infestation is fully eliminated it maybe best to call a in a specialist.

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This post was written and supplied on behalf of Peter Cox, woodworm control and treatment specialists.

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