How do you spot woodworm in the home?

PUBLISHED: 15:13 02 March 2018 | UPDATED: 15:19 02 March 2018

Woodworm can be very damaging, so how do you spot it in the home? PIC: www.thinkstockphotos.co.uk

Woodworm can be very damaging, so how do you spot it in the home? PIC: www.thinkstockphotos.co.uk

Dealing with woodworm can be a difficult task, as it’s often hard to spot the signs of an infestation. So what are woodworm? And how can you spot them in your home? Richard Walker, from Peter Cox, lets us know the tell tale signs.

richard walker richard walker

Woodworm is the generic term given to all wood-boring larvae, and there are several common species of these in the UK. They use timber as a source of food and to lay their eggs in. Woodworm can spread quickly and can potentially cause severe structural and cosmetic damage if left untreated.

One apparent sign of woodworm activity is small exit holes in the timber, but these don’t always mean that the infestation is active. The best way to spot an active infestation is to look for woodworm ‘frass’ (fine sawdust) around the exit holes. This indicates that an infestation is recent, and that woodworm larvae may still be present in the timber.

Different species of woodworm vary in size, so the exit holes also vary in size based on this. The holes and galleries created by larvae under the surface may eventually cause structural damage to timber if left untreated. If you have noticed furniture or flooring becoming weakened, and there is evidence of fine dust, it could be a sign of woodworm damage.

The most common treatment process uses an insecticide applied to the affected timber. The insecticide coats the surface, and when the adult beetle emerges out of the wood at the end of its life-cycle, it eats the treatment, killing the insects before they can mate and re-infest.

This process must be undertaken by a professional as the treatment needs to be very thorough and involves spraying chemicals, meaning Health and Safety rules need to be followed. In the case of a mass outbreak of woodworm, structural damage can occur and you should go straight to a professional. If structural timber is severely damaged it may have to be replaced, historic or large sectioned timber may be repaired using epoxy resin repair methods.

For more information on woodworm identification, or if you’d like a specialist surveyor to take a look at a potential woodworm problem then get in touch with your local Peter Cox branch, sponsors of this column. You can contact them on 01603 857142. www.petercox.com

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Caroline Culot


I am the property editor in charge of delivering some exciting and informative content within Archant’s varied titles. We have 16-17 pages of stories, features and columns in the EDP Property supplement out every Friday free in your EDP so please don’t miss it.