One question we are asked quite a bit is “How do I know I have woodworm?”

The obvious signs of woodworm are small holes in the wood. Whilst these show woodworm has been present, it will not tell you if there is any new activity as the wood may have been treated previously. The next sign is a fine dust which is either on the wood, the floor or other surface. It is pretty unmistakeable once you know what to look for – see pictures:

Woodworm signs

Woodworm are not worms, but small beetles. They fall into a whole class of wood-boring insects which include Furniture Beetles and Death Watch Beetles, all of which are a major pest problem and must be treated at the first sign of an infestation.

Woodworm dust

The lifecycle of each species is similar.

In the spring and early summer, the Female beetle will lays her eggs into cracks in wood or inside old woodworm holes – (30 – 40 eggs per female). The eggs hatch after about three weeks, each producing a 1 mm long larva (hence the worm reference). These larvae will bore through timber for about three to four years, growing to about 7  mm in length, at which point they are ready to metamorphosise into a pupae. They excavate small spaces just under the wood surface and can take up to eight weeks to pupate. The adult beetle then breaks through the surface, making a 1mm to 1.5 mm exit hole and spilling dust, the first visible signs of an infestation. In some cases, a “tapping” noise may be heard, indicating the impending exit from the wood, but this is not always the case.

We often see the adult beetles on window sills trying to get outside in early summer, again this would identify a problem. They attack both hard and soft wood and are commonly found in older furniture and antiques, as well as in older houses where they will infest timbers in the roof.

DeathWatch Beetles follow a similar pattern, but the exit holes are significantly bigger and so the damage to timber is greater due to the size of the excavations.

All wood boring beetles pose a serious threat to structural timbers and unless treated will result in crumbling and failing beams and structures. It is important to identify each species to ensure the correct and most appropriate treatment is carried out.Treatment is well recognised and powerful penetrating substances with long residual effects are used, either applied by brush or spray (or injected) – treating of structures in situ is very labour intensive and requires experienced operators to perform this correctly.

One obvious issue when treating woodworm in loft areas is the possibility of bats being present. Before any treatment is even considered, a bat specialist  must be consulted to ensure that no bats will be disturbed or affected by a treatment. At Rapid Pest Control, we work closely with a bat consultant who will provide a detailed survey of any bat activity, then provide advice on the most suitable chemical treatments to use and at what time they can be used so as not to cause harm to the bats.

So if you think you might have woodworm in your furniture, loft space or cellar, contact Rapid Pest Control now for expert advice on woodworm control. with Offices in Newbury, Oxford, Reading, Basingstoke and Swindon, you can be sure of a fast response from your local pest control specialists – call now or visit us on our website now.