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How To Tell If Woodworm Is Active?

How To Tell If Woodworm Is Active?

Key Takeaways

Understanding Woodworm: Woodworms are insects, primarily beetles or weevils, not worms. They lay eggs in cracks in wooden structures, and their larvae burrow into the wood, creating holes.

Spotting Woodworm Activity: Woodworm larvae remain inside the wood, making them hard to spot. Look for exit holes in the timber as a sign of woodworm activity. Adult beetles emerge from these holes and are attracted to light sources.

Treating Woodworm: Consider DIY treatment if you can isolate the infestation and know the type of woodworm. Use specific woodworm-killing sprays. Seek professional help for extensive or hidden infestations.


Timber furniture in houses across the United Kingdom is ordinary. They look good and increase the overall attractiveness of the house. But, having timber furniture or other timber-related structures on your property can also lead to woodworm infestations. Woodworm does not spread by itself; the most common cause behind it is moisture.

If your house has high moisture content, then it is a great place for female woodworm beetles to hatch their eggs during summertime. The grown-up wood boring beetles start burrowing in the timber and leave exit holes.

The problem of woodworm infestation in houses can be a headache if it is left untreated. It can impact the entire property, leaving damage everywhere. But the question here is how you can spot these tiny creatures. What signs indicate a suspected woodworm infestation activity? Let’s find out so that you can get rid of them fast.


What Exactly is Woodworm?

To be clear, it is not any kind of worm. Instead, they are insects, mainly beetles or weevils. These insects lay eggs in the cracks of furniture, timber, floorboards, etc.

After the eggs hatch, the larvae formation stage occurs, which burrows into the wood, therefore creating holes in the surface and making it look bad.


A Woodworm


What Exactly Does Woodworm Look Like?

The woodworm insects usually do not appear and won’t be seen as they are not the ones who bore the wood but instead the larvae.

These woodworm larvae always remain inside the wood, eating it and tunnelling their way through, only to pupate, turn into beetles, and bore their way out after years. They never come to the surface, and that’s why it is hard to spot them.

The larvae keep on boring inside the wood and destroy it from inside. The only way to get rid of them is to act as soon as you see exit holes in the timber. Those exit holes are your call to action unless it is too late.

After larvae pupate and turn into adult beetles, they exit the holes and fly towards sources that emit light. These beetle insects look for new territories and mates so as to form new larvae again.


Woodworm Larvae


Does Woodworm Have the Capability to Spread?

No, because it isn’t contagious or infectious. Suppose you have two separate pieces of timber, one infested with woodworm and the other not, and you place them both next to each other; there won’t be any crossing over of woodworm.

Woodworms can only spread within the timber that is already affected by it because the conditions are favourable for it.

There’s moisture that has already been accumulated in the timber, and that’s what makes it easy for woodworms to spread, but only in the same timber.


Does Woodworm Spread?


How to Tell if Woodworm is Active?

First, keep your eyes peeled for a sign of fresh woodworm activity, i.e., frass. Frass is a fancy term for the powdery stuff you might find around bore holes in wood.

Pay special attention to places where you’d typically expect this debris to be gone, like the legs of your furniture in well-used and cleaned rooms.

But this way of finding woodworms might only be handy in tight spaces like your roof or under your floorboards, where woodworms can hibernate for ages.

Now, another method is to get a bit experimental. You can plug one of those exit holes with some beeswax or tissue paper and wait to see if a new adult beetle bores its way out.

But you might need to be patient with that because you could be waiting for up to a whole year to spot any action.

Let’s keep it real – woodworm detection can be like finding a needle in a haystack. That’s why, if you’ve got any doubts or you’re just not into playing the waiting game, it’s probably best to call in the professional woodworm survey and woodworm treatment specialist first

They are the pros, and they’ll sort you out if you’re having a problem. So, don’t stress too much, and remember, frass, patience, and the specialists are your go-to tools in woodworm detection.


Woodworm Weevil


What Signs Indicate Woodworm Infestation?

Look, woodworm infestations are sneaky and cause a lot of trouble. You don’t get the kind of damage from woodworms that termites or ants do. It’s even worse.

They are more silent, hiding and operating within the timber, and you might not even notice their activity for years. At least we can see the ants or termites.

So, how do you identify a woodworm infestation? Well, there are a few signs to keep an eye out for, and let’s look at them what they are:

  • Tiny circular perforations in your woodworking, usually measuring between 1mm to 2mm in diameter
  • Delicate, powdery residue surrounding these openings is commonly referred to as “frass.”
  • Brittle, disintegrating margins of your boards and joists
  • Passageways etched into the wood
  • Weakened or impaired timber and flooring

More Woodworm Infestation Signs that Might be Helpful

Dead Woodworm Beetles

The little beetles or weevils wreak havoc on the precious wooden furniture during their prime season, which runs from May to October.

They burrow into the wood as larvae, chomping away at it from the inside. But during the summer months, these larvae mature and eventually transform into adult wood-boring beetles.

When these adult beetles emerge from their wooden hideouts, they get attracted towards the light, which in a house is either emitted from the bulbs lamps or comes in from the windows.

So, if a house has a woodworm infestation, they will surely notice some of the dead adult beetles somewhere around their window frames. Look out for those dead beetles, and if they are there, there’s undoubtedly an infestation going on in your house.

Presence of Frass

If you’re inspecting old furniture, make sure to check the back or the underside for powdery stuff called “frass.” It’s basically like insect sawdust, and it’s a significant indicator of a woodworm infestation that happened at some point.

But finding these holes and frass doesn’t necessarily mean you’re in an emergency situation. They might just be signs of a past woodworm invasion that’s long gone.

So, before you start freaking out and making a bonfire of your furniture, it’s probably a good idea to consult with a woodworm specialist. They’ll give you the perfect report of the wood boring situation and let you know if you need to take any action.


What Areas of a House Are More Susceptible to Woodworms?

Woodworm infestations are known to target various areas, primarily wooden surfaces such as:

  • Furniture
  • Floorboards
  • Roof timbers
  • Joists/beams
  • Wooden tools
  • Painted wooden areas
  • Decorative woodwork
  • Structural timbers


Woodworm Activity: Holes in Wood Furniture


How to Prevent Woodworms?

When it comes to preventing woodworms, the key to success lies in how much you can block the moisture entering the timber.

Most of the larvae formed by woodworm insects prefer moist conditions and damp wood as they are a favourable environment for them to thrive in. Wetness makes the wood soft and easy for the woodworm larvae to chew through and create holes.

So, anywhere above 28% of moisture in a timber structure is harmful as it will invite more and more woodworm infestation.

Even if the moisture content in the wood is lowered, for example, to 12%, the woodworm will still be able to survive in that type of condition but won’t be able to feed on the timber that much.

Therefore, the moisture content in the wood should simply be zero because that’s when no previous woodworm infestation will come.

To keep woodworms away from timber, increase the ventilation of the house and keep it warm with internal heating. That will not allow unnecessary moisture to accumulate inside the house and will prevent woodworm insects from appearing.


Woodworm Beetle


Can You Treat Woodworm by Yourself?

Again, it depends. You can buy woodworm-killing sprays from a nearby local DIY store, but it will be beneficial only when you know that the isolation of woodworm infestation is only on a specific part of a piece of furniture. The only requirement in these cases is that you know how to apply the killing spray.

But if you don’t know how far the woodworm infestation has gone and to what extent some of it might even be hidden, you won’t be able to get rid of it by yourself.

A wide variety of chemicals that can treat woodworms are available for sale in the market, but they won’t be of any use if you aren’t aware of the extent of the issue.

Also, the type of woodworm insect is something to identify because each woodworm killing spray is made for a specific type of woodworm. Is it beetle or weevil? Or anything else? If the wrong chemical is used, it won’t work, and the potential woodworm beetle infestation just won’t get treated.

So, it’s essential to know the specifics. Only then can you treat woodworm unless you’ll be wasting your money and time and maybe even creating more mess?


Can Woodworm Be Treated By Yourself?


What is the Cost of Getting a Woodworm Infestation Treated?

So, if you’ve got a woodworm problem, you might be wondering how much it’s going to cost to fix that mess.

Well, on average, you’re looking at anywhere from £500 to £1,000 for the whole woodworm treatment costs. That’s for treatments that also involve fogging, fumigation, etc.

But if you’re thinking about using just a Boron agent, it’s going to run you about £30 for every 25 square meters. That’s a more budget-friendly option, but it might actually not work for every situation, and the situation has really escalated.

A pro tip would be to check your home insurance policy. Some of them come with a Home Emergency Cover, and that can include pest control, like dealing with woodworms. So, you might actually have some coverage there and save some cash.

What’s the Per-Hour Rate for Pest Control?

The pest control experts charge you by the hour, and it can vary a bit. You’re looking at around 30 to 70 pounds per hour. If you’re in London or the South East, be ready to pay for the higher end of that price range.


Per-Hour Rate for Pest Controlling Woodworm Infested Wood


What is the Cost of a Woodworm Survey?

Woodworm infestation can only be investigated with a woodworm survey cost.

It is not just to find out if woodworms are there or not but to find the extent of woodworm damage and how far the holes are in the timber.

A specialized woodworm survey generally costs around £80 – £250, which depends on how much area has to be investigated. As a whole, it includes:

  • The woodworm surveys
  • The report of the survey
  • Diagnosis of insect that is causing woodworm
  • Inspection of objects and areas affected due to woodworm, such as roof, flooring, etc.


What is the Cost of Treating Loft Woodworms?

The woodworm treatment cost in a loft varies between £400 – £900, which is for a 3-bedroom house. So, the woodworm treatment cost will change if the number of bedrooms is increased or decreased.

The size of the loft will also decide the pricing. Therefore, the exact cost can only be determined after proper inspection of the property, which a professional can do.


Loft Woodworms


What is the Cost of Treating Roof Woodworms?

Again, it varies between £400 and £900, which is also for a 3-bedroom house. However, the cost will change if the extent of the woodworm infestation on the roof is high.

It will cost more if more surface area is affected due to woodworm, and also, the timber type will affect the pricing if it is a costlier one.

For accurate pricing of roof woodworm treatment services, get help from a professional who can break the cost down for you after an inspection.


Call Woodworm Treatment Specialists If You are Facing Woodworm Infestation


Woodworm Treatment Specialist


If there is a lot of moisture in your house, and that has assisted in giving rise to the woodworm beetles, it would be a wise move to call the woodworm specialists immediately. Do not wait too long and just make the move.

The longer you ignore the problem, the more it has the potential to increase the extent of the damage. Professionals who deal in the woodworm treatment and eradication are experts in finding the root cause, no matter which area of the property it is in.

Hire the professionals, allow them for a timber survey, let them investigate, ask for the cost estimate of the proposed fixes, and get the fixes done. Woodworm treatment is as easy as that.


What Signs Indicate Active Woodworm?

Frass. Yes, that's the most common sign that indicates an active woodworm. It is a powdery substance that is left by the woodworms after exiting the holes that they bore. Frass can be found on the surface as well as inside the holes of the timber.

How to Find Dormant Woodworms?

Look for holes in the flooring timber and structures of the house, maybe find some cracks too. Any fault in the furniture or involvement of substances that indicates the infestation of bugs means there are dormant woodworms in the house.

How Does a Woodworm Survey Work?

These surveys are conducted by professionals who look for woodworm infestation in the timber furniture and other exposed timber structures of the house. As a whole, they look for pest presence in the timber. What indicates the presence of woodworms is the holes they bore, frass, or chemical secretions that secrete.

Does Home Insurance Cover Woodworm Infestation?

Yes, it does. Conventional homeowners' insurance and maybe other types also provide coverage against woodworm treatments and-boring infestations. However, it might be limited to a certain extent only. The extent varies and may depend on how much structural damage or deterioration has been caused by woodworm.

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About Loftera

Loftera bridges the gap between homeowners and trusted tradesmen, serving as the go-to platform for top-notch home improvement advice and solutions. With a foundation rooted in hands-on construction expertise and a commitment to transparency, Loftera connects you with local, vetted professionals, ensuring quality and reliability for every project. Explore our carefully curated articles, benefit from expert insights, and discover a seamless way to transform your living spaces. Whether you’re contemplating a renovation or seeking the best tradesperson in your vicinity, Loftera stands as your reliable guide in the realm of home improvements.

Joe Bruckland

Joe Bruckland

Construction Expert and founder of Loftera

Having immersed myself in the construction and home improvement world for over two decades, I’ve developed a deep-seated passion and expertise in the intricacies of the industry. My journey, beginning on construction sites and evolving to helm significant home renovation projects, has provided me with a hands-on perspective and a wealth of knowledge that I bring to Loftera. Holding certifications from premier industry bodies, I’ve been a go-to consultant for leading construction magazines, participated in industry forums, and collaborated with renowned tradesmen and architects across the UK. My mission is simple: to demystify the complexities of home improvement, ensuring homeowners are empowered with information that is both current and reliable. Through Loftera, I aim to provide insights that are a blend of field experience and data-driven research, cementing my commitment to be an authoritative voice in the home improvement landscape.

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