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Wood worm - How to spot and treat it - Diy Tip 48




The main thing to realise about wood worm is it cannot only be found in old and new properties but is also seen in the likes of new doors that are made from Hardwoods or Softwoods, if the door is indeed new then the infestation will have been treated and there is no need to worry.

Wood worm infestation in structural timbers is the most serious issue, if structural timbers are affected then treatment is not so easy and is normally outwith the realms of the DIY'r.

The very common wood worm pest will have affected most properties at one time or another. There are 4 main types of wood worm in the UK;

  • Common Furniture Beetle
  • Death Watch Beetle
  • House Longhorn Beetle
  • Powderpost Beetle




Identifying wood worm is easy as tiny holes which are known as flight  holes are visible all over the timber, some saw dust may also be present below the timber. Wood worm infestation is common in both soft and hardwood but mostly soft wood, the holes are left behind when the larvae of the beetle exits the timber, these holes are normally 1.5 - 2.0 mm in diameter.

There are many specialist companies which exist solely to treat wet rot, dry rot, wood worm and rising damp, these companies will probably try to tell you that wood worm needs treating by a specialist as the correct species of beetle needs identifying, this isn't always true as you can buy wood worm treatments off the shelf  which is not intended for any particular species of beetle.

The best option is to choose a wood preserver and insecticide that covers wood worm, Dry rot and Wet rot, this will allow you to treat all the timber in one go!

To see if the wood needs replacing or to find out just how much damage has been caused by the wood worm drive a screwdriver in to the suspect area and see exactly how much timber has been affected, if the wood crumbles badly into little pieces the timber may need replacing but in most cases it is not too serious.



Wood worm normally only affects the outside of the timber leaving the heart of the timber intact, you may be unlucky and find the timber needs replacing, this could be a job for a specialist.

Often you will find that the wood worm infestation occurred decades ago and is no longer a problem, still treat all timber to give yourself peace of mind and prevent future re-infestations.

Treatment is normally not too difficult but can mean that you cannot live in the building for a day or so after treatment as the chemicals used are harmful to health, please be aware of the need to wear protective masks, goggles, gloves and clothing.

Obviously because the property cannot be occupied for a day or so after treatment it is a good idea to treat all of the property in one go, all pets should be removed from the property and all people who are not doing the job.



Lift about every 3 or 4th floorboard throughout the property and obtain a sprayer with a hose and lance, maybe something like a garden sprayer as this can be used an any angle and can easily be used in the void between the ceiling and the floor above, I have to repeat again, ensure you have the correct face mask, goggles, gloves and clothing to allow you to safely all of the timber in the house with the treatment, then secure the property and leave it empty for as long as the manufacturer of the treatment specifies.

The most important thing to realise is that if you cannot do the work yourself then you should try to call in an expert company with registration to the "Property Care Association"


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Any questions, email and ask "Chippy"