How Woodworm Cause Damage
Adult woodworm mate on the wood and eggs are laid immediately. The eggs are pressed into cracks and crevices, once the eggs hatch the larvae burrow into the wood. The adult burrow out when emerging from pupae. The small holes caused by the grubs are more noticeable on the likes of wooden floorboards, furniture and skirting boards. Over time, the infestation can cause wooden materials to weaken and crumble.
Signs of Infestation
Identifying a woodworm problem can be difficult. The beetles are small, and the holes that their larvae bore are even smaller. Although they are not easy to see, these holes can be identified by the human eye simply by inspecting wooden surfaces throughout the home. Woodworm leave piles of bore dust, known as frass, when they attack woodwork. This is a fine, dust-like substance, which will usually be around the holes and surrounding area. Weakened woodwork that has been attacked will also feel much more brittle, particularly if the woodworm have attacked deep inside the wood. Professional exterminators can use a tool called a borescope to look inside the holes made by woodworm. This will determine the extent of the damage caused and the treatment that should be used.
Identifying the Type of Beetle
There are several different species of beetle that attack woodwork. The most prevalent species of woodworm in the UK is the Common Furniture Beetle. An adult beetle measures between 3 and 5mm in length, and the holes they bore are around 2mm in diameter. The species is most easily identified by its uniquely shaped thorax, which looks like a monk's hood covering the beetle's head.
The slightly larger death watch beetle, measuring 7mm in length are mainly found outdoors but do infest oak, so are commonly found indoors in churches and old buildings. They are more likely to cause structural damage, but over many years of infestation. They bore deep into the wood by using a destructive enzyme that damages the material, and they can often be identified by the tapping and clacking sound they make to attract a mate.
The longhorn beetle is relatively rare in the home and mainly abundant in parts of the North-West and Surrey. The longhorn beetle is especially destructive because of the size of its larvae. They bore holes that are between 6 and 10mm, and the adult house longhorn beetle itself measures between 10 and 20mm in length. The distinctive beetle is easily identified by its size and the grey patches of hair on its wing. They favour softwoods, such as pine, and are often found in new homes. As they are a very destructive species, any infestations should be reported to the Building Research Establishment’s Timber and Protection Division.
Treating an Infestation
Small infestations that are caught quickly can be treated by spraying insecticide, such as Woodworm Destroyer Trigger Spray, on the affected areas. The chemicals penetrate the wood and kill the woodworm. More severe infestations can be harder to treat. A complete fumigation of the area is often required, and wood that has been damaged will need to be replaced to keep the structural integrity.
Pest control professionals use a range of chemicals that are higher in concentration than those that are readily available in the likes of DIY shops. Products, such as Perbio Professional Woodworm Killer Insecticide are used by professionals, but pest control experts also use various methods to apply treatment. Water-based treatments can be used directly on infested areas without affecting people and pets in the property.