What Are Woodworms? Despite their name, woodworms are not actually worms. In fact, the term refers to the larvae of several types of common beetle.
Most commonly, these are the larvae of the deathwatch beetle, but multiple species can be responsible for infestations. Regardless of the species responsible, woodworm infestations manifest in the same way. Woodworms can infect any species of wood and timber that insects can lay their eggs in. The name woodworm comes from the worm-like appearance of these insect larvae.
What Causes Woodworm Infestations?
Woodworm infestations are caused by beetles that prefer to lay their eggs in warm, humid conditions. Wood and timber furniture provide the ideal environment for these beetles, especially when it’s also damp. The interior of wood is well insulated, giving warmth, shelter, humidity, and protection.
Woodworm can affect virtually any wood that is exposed to damp conditions. As wood decays, it provides an increasingly attractive environment for beetles to lay their eggs. Like other animals, beetles will take the time to find somewhere safe to lay their eggs where they have the best possible chance of surviving and thriving. Wood that is damp or impacted by fungal issues is the most attractive for beetles. They also prioritise weaker wood because it’s easier for them to burrow deep within it to lay their eggs.
Treated wood is much less susceptible to woodworm infestations, although they can still occur. Any untreated wood, including firewood and other ‘loose’ wood on your property, is vulnerable to woodworm infestations.
What Are the Signs of a Woodworm Infestation?
Woodworm infestations are relatively easy to identify. If you regularly notice adult beetles crawling over timber and wood in your home, there’s a good chance you will end up with woodworms. If you catch beetles emerging from within wood, you can assume the wood is already infected with woodworm.
Another common symptom of a woodworm infestation is dark patches on the wood accompanied by numerous small holes. If you put your ear near to the wood, you will often hear a cracking sound coming from within the wood. These are strong indicators of a woodworm problem.
Some people are under the impression that if they can see holes in the wood, it means the larvae have matured and dug their way out of the wood. As a result, they assume it’s no longer worth doing anything about any future infestations. However, while the mature larvae will leave these holes as they burrow out of the wood, they also prove that this is a prime egg-laying location for the beetle. Unless you remove or treat the wood, a repeat infestation is all but guaranteed.
How to Protect Your Furniture From Woodworms
It can be difficult to treat a woodworm infestation once it’s taken hold. It’s much easier and more effective to prevent an infestation from occurring, to begin with. As we already mentioned, treating wood effectively keeps beetles out and prevents woodworm infestations from occurring. If a woodworm infestation does take hold, you will usually need a professional pest control technician to treat the infestation for you.
Other than treating wood and physically preventing beetles from creating burrows to lay their eggs, there are several things you can do to keep beetles out of your home. Beetles love warm and humid environments, so reducing humidity will make your home less inviting. Low humidity will also mean that any wood in your home is drier and less appealing to beetles looking for somewhere to lay their eggs. Unfortunately, some people are susceptible to the effects of dry air, meaning that lowering the humidity can have unintended consequences.
Once beetles have already infected timber, laid their eggs, and moved on, there’s not much you can do to reverse the damage they have already done. However, you can take steps to prevent beetles from returning to lay more eggs in the timber. Melted beeswax is useful for filling in the holes left behind from the beetles’ burrows and restoring the colour of wood discoloured by woodworm. Beeswax also serves as a potent repellent; beetles hate beeswax and won’t be eager to spend time chewing their way through it.
If you don’t have access to beeswax, you can also use wood putty. Putty will cover up any damage left behind, but this won’t provide a permanent solution. However, if you’re ok with a temporary solution, you can create your own DIY paste from wood glue and sawdust. Stir these ingredients together, fill in the holes in the paste and then wipe the wood down using a damp cloth.
Ultimately, the only way of permanently protecting wood and timber in your home is with chemical treatments.
For minor woodworm infestations that you catch early and only affect a small fraction of the wood in your home, dealing with the issue yourself is always more tempting than splashing out on a professional service. But when it comes to pest control, a professional service is more reliable and worth the extra investment. If you are going to opt for DIY woodworm treatments, make sure a professional pest control business has endorsed them.
For example, many treatment fluids are available on the market to provide robust, long-lasting protection against woodworm. Filling holes with these fluids will kill any larvae of adult specimens within and block entry into the burrow, preventing other beetles from gaining entry. These fluids are suitable for indoor and outdoor use. As an added bonus, some of these fluids will also make wood more resistant to wood-boring fungus.
Similarly, there are sprays available for killing woodworm infestations and covering timber in insect-repellent chemicals that will keep beetles from attempting to burrow into the wood.
DIY treatments are only recommended for minor infestations. If you try to tackle an advanced infestation using DIY methods, your chances of success are significantly lower.
For the most entrenched and widespread treatments, a professional service is the most reliable means of treating woodworm infestations and preventing recurrences in the future. Remember, a single species of beetle does not cause woodworm; there are numerous beetles that lay their eggs in wood and timber; any of them can cause woodworm to appear. Treating the physical damage left behind is one thing. But if you want to keep the rest of the wood and timber in your home safe from future infestations, you need to know which beetles are responsible. An experienced pest control professional will be able to ascertain the culprit with a simple visual inspection.
Having conducted an initial assessment to establish the extent and the root cause of a woodworm infestation, professional pest control technicians can then present clients with a treatment plan tailored to their individual situation. They will ensure that the right treatments are delivered to the right areas of the home.
Why Choose Bon Accord?
If you suspect an advanced woodworm infestation on your property, Bon Accord should be your first port of call. Our experienced pest control professionals have seen it all. We’ve treated woodworm infestations in old timber properties, musical instruments, and just about every other type of wood you can imagine. No matter the extent of your infestation or the precise species of beetle responsible for it, we offer reliable treatment options that are guaranteed to put an end to the problem.
As well as dealing with advanced woodworm infestations that have already infected a significant amount of the wood in your home, we can also treat localised infestations that affect treasured possessions like musical instruments and antique furniture.
As always, our service begins with a thorough assessment of the situation. This gives us the opportunity to understand exactly what’s going on, how advanced the infestation is, which beetles is likely to be responsible, and which treatment option is most likely to achieve the desired results. With this information in and, we can get started as soon as possible, eliminating the infestation and taking steps to prevent a recurrence.
Once we are satisfied that we have treated the problem to the best of our ability, we will offer clients any advice we think will help them keep the rest of the wood in their home safe from similar outbreaks in the future.
All of our pest control technicians are certified by the BPCA, so you can be sure they know what they are doing. Our experience means that we are able to suggest solutions that wouldn’t occur to many of our competitors. Unlike some pest control agencies, we strive to currently identify the issue, provide the most effective treatment possible, and then leave our clients with the advice they need so they won’t have to call us back out again to deal with a recurring issue. If you follow all the advice we offer and end up facing a recurring infestation anyway, we will make it a priority to come back out and help you deal with the problem once and for all.
If you suspect a woodwork infestation on your property, contact Bon Accord today to arrange an initial consultation and get to the bottom of why your property has a pest problem.
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Get in touch with our friendly customer service team now if you want to book an appointment or if you have any questions about pests and what can be done to get rid of them – for good.