woodworm

Woodworm Treatment

Woodworm treatment

The term woodworm might conjure up cartoon-type images, but it is, in fact, something of a misnomer since it tends to be a different type of creepy crawly - beetles - that inflict the damage.
And there is one main offender: Anobium punctatum aka the Common Furniture Beetle. Although it mainly thrives outdoors, infesting the likes of tree trunks, branches and the like, the Common Furniture Beetle can cause serious damage if ever it creeps and crawls its way to indoor timber.
So how might that happen? Spring and summer is the time of year when the reproductive process starts – the beetles emerging from the wood crevices that are normally their habitat before the females return to lay eggs, which usually number around 30.
The eggs will hatch about a month later and the grubs will then bury themselves even further into the timber. They will spend about two to four years there, eating the wood and slowly maturing into lavae.
The lava will then dig a chamber just beneath the surface of the wood and the pupation process will begin – culminating when the adult beetle cuts a hole in the surface of the wood. Thus the process repeats itself.
It’s the by-product of the reproductive cycle – the beetle’s emergence holes and the dust (known as frass) they create – that are the tell-tale signs of woodworm infestation.
The infestation can be highly significant because, depending upon the conditions, it can occur in a number of different timber types and products: from wooden ornaments, through furniture and building timbers.
It goes without saying that the latter can prove a particular problem: if left unchecked, an infestation of building timbers can compromise your building’s structural integrity, leading, in the most extreme cases, to total collapse.
In highlighting such an eventuality, it must be pointed out that there are other offenders besides the Common Furniture Beetle. There is, for example, the Death Watch Beetle, or Xestobium rufovillosum, which tends to be found in older buildings, particularly those with hardwoods that are either damp or have been affected by fungal decay.
And there is also the House Longhorn Beetle aka Hylotrupes bajulus. Larger than the other species, it can infest sapwood (the soft outer layers of recently formed wood between the heartwood and the bark) and is mainly associated with roofing timbers.
The good news, demographically-speaking for a North Yorkshire-based company like Danford, Brewer & Ives, however, is that the House Longhorn Beetle limits its habitat to just a small part of South East England. Even so, spare a thought for the owners of properties that suffer infestations: if left unchecked, they can lead to severe structural weakening in just a short period of time.
So how to go about treating such an infestation? When one is discovered, a particular course of action should always be recommended by a team of experts, who will assess the conditions and circumstances surrounding the case.
First of all, a surveyor will make a thorough inspection of the infested timber, noting the type of wood, its accessibility and assessing the various risks.
Then, the timbers will need to be cleaned thoroughly to remove excess debris, before preservatives are applied.
A common and cost-effective form of treatment involves either spraying or using a brush to apply water-based insecticides.
Treatment of smaller items such as furniture or even ornaments can, meanwhile, be undertaken using either heat or freezing treatment, as well as gas fumigation.
All such methods require both training and a high measure of competency and it goes without saying that DB&I’s team are more than capable of undertaking such specialist work. Moreover, we’re always keeping our eyes peeled for any new innovations and methodologies.
If you would like more information on woodworm - or any of the other building services Danford Brewer & Ives offer, such as timber treatment, basement conversions, extensions or building maintenance – then please contact us. As always, we’re more than happy to help