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What are woodworms?
Woodworms are a common species in the UK which usually attack furniture, building structures including joists and floorboards. The UK’s most common woodworm is the Furniture Beetle. You can easily detect if there are furniture beetles attacking your timber as small, round holes will be left on the surface of the timber.
Other types of worms include the Deathwatch Beetle and the House Longhorn Beetle. These infestations require extensive treatment; however extensive doesn’t mean impossible. There are solutions which are inexpensive, simple to do, promising lasting results.
Treatment can be a problem because people are unsure what species of beetle they are dealing with, whether or not the infestation is still active and what timbers or structures have been damaged and need replacing. You must identify which woodworm infestation you are dealing with as each species requires a different treatment.
The Furniture Beetle
The furniture beetle is mostly likely to be found within loft timbers because they prefer damp wood. This species also prefers furniture where the varnish has either been worn off or not applied. Although damages caused by the furniture beetle are less serious, if the timber has high moisture content and a small profile, they can cause structural weakening so it is important to get the damage treated immediately. To treat damage caused furniture beetles, simply brush, dip or spray woodworm treatment onto the affected area. It is highly recommended that you apply the treatment to non- affected areas as it will act as a protection against future outbreaks.
The Death Watch Beetle
Usually attacking already decayed timber, this species is more likely to infest within the interiors of large beams built into damp walls. Treatment is simple if you use an injection. You can inject the woodworm spray into the holes, which treats the most susceptible areas of the wood. Alternatively you can drill through the timer to provide access to the danger zone then inject with either a gel or paste woodworm treatment.
The House Long Horn Beetle
Known for being the most damaging beetle, this species attacks the sapwood off dry softwood. The beetle can grow up to 30mm long, causing it to leave big holes of up to 10mm in diameter. You can treat this in the same way as you would the Death Watch Beetle, but just be sure that the structural integrity of the whole building is inspected and treated. The larvae from House Long Horn beetle can seriously damage timber within their growth period, even entirely destroying the sapwood and only leaving the veneer so it is highly recommended for safety reasons that you ask a specialist to inspect the property.
View treatment for woodworm or read our guide on How to Treat Woodworm or find out How to Restore Woodworm-Infested Antique Furniture.