What is Woodworm?
A number of differing species have evolved, but, in this country, the most widespread by far and therefore the most important one to deal with is the common woodworm or furniture beetle (Anobium Punctatum). This develops mainly in softwoods or in the sapwood of hardwoods such as oak or elm, but it is partial to heartwood which has been softened by fungal attack.
The life cycle of Woodworm
The female of the adult beetle begins the cycle by laying a batch of up to 80 eggs in cracks and crevices on the surfaces of the timber that she has chosen as the home for her offspring. She will instinctively shy away from any timber surface which has been treated with an appropriate insecticide and will look elsewhere.
The eggs hatch into tiny grubs (larvae) which eat their way into the timber, where they will stay for two or three years, eating and growing, at the same time creating tunnels through the wood, generally along the line of the grain.
This goes on unnoticed from the outside surface of the timber, but, when the grubs reach maturity they turn towards an outer surface and then go through a metamorphosis similar to that which takes place when a caterpillar turns into a moth or a butterfly.
In this case, the insect emerging is a small beetle, between 2.5 and 4mm in length, which cuts the last few millimetres of wood to emerge through the familiar circular ‘flight holes’, about 1.5 to 2mm in diameter. Emergence of the beetles usually takes place during the months of May to August, but this period may be extended in centrally heated property.
Signs of Woodworm Beetle in Your Property
- Fresh Exit Holes – Holes can be found all year round but often form from May to October.
- Tunnels in Wood – Tunnels in timber are the result of boring woodworm larvae.
- Bore Dust (Frass) – Woodworm beetles leave bore dust when emerging from timber.
- Weak and damaged floor boards – This could indicate of a serious infestation.
- Live adult beetles – Woodworm beetles will often be looking to mate.
- Dead Beetles – On occasion adult woodworm beetles cannot escape the property and die.
- Eggs – These are often difficult to spot.
- Woodworm Larvae – Can be called wood grub and are usually a creamy-white colour.
After identifying the species of woodworm the correct remediation can be specified and applied. This may be one of the following.
- Spray treatments using water based insecticide (1 hour re-entry)
- Timber replacement as necessary
- Spray treatments using a spirit based insecticide