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Woodworm is the generic name under which all wood boring insects are commonly known.  Woodworm is the commonest form of insect attack of timber in buildings, attacking structural timbers, roof timbers, floors and joists. There are many wood boring insects which will attack well seasoned timber, including hardwood. Below for your information we have listed three of the most commonly found.

The numerous varieties of wood boring insect will use wood as a primary food source. Some insect infestations may require expensive remedial measures, while others require no treatment at all.  Virtually all insects will attack sound wood, with some having a preference for damp wood.


Typical damage caused by woodworm

The Life Cycle

The female adult lays her eggs in the cracks etc. of the timber.  The eggs hatch over a period into larvae, which then burrow into the timber, feeding on the cellulose content and subsequently weakening the timber. At the end of the pupal stage the adult emerges from the timber through flight holes, ready to commence the life cycle again. This ongoing cycle will lead to the progressive breakdown of the timber structure infested, ultimately resulting in complete collapse.

Damage caused by woodworm example Damage caused by woodworm

Three of the most common varieties of wood boring insects are listed below:

Common Furniture Beetle – (Anobium punctatum)

By far the most common of all insects that will attack seasoned timber.  Frequently also found in older furniture as well as all constructional timbers.  Common Furniture Beetle will attack sound dry timber, although it has a preference for decayed and damp wood.

House Longhorn Beetle – (Hylotrupes bajulus)

Internationally, this is one of the most widely distributed and destructive insect pests of seasoned timber. Fortunately, in Britain, its occurrence is restricted mainly to certain parts of southern England.  Due to the insects relatively large size and long life cycle, vast amounts of damage can occur within a short period of time.

 Death Watch Beetle – (Xestobium rufovillosum)

Death Watch beetle is often found in historic buildings, such as churches etc.  It principally attacks hardwoods such as oak and elm.  Softwoods may be attacked when in contact with infested hardwoods.  Damp conditions are essential in order to promote rapid development, although any attack will continue, at a slower rate, under drier conditions.

Identifying the Variety of Wood Boring Insect

One of our team of highly qualified and experienced surveyors will identify the species of insect infestation present, plus also ascertain the extent of any damage.

Our surveyors’ comprehensive report will also contain their recommendations for the appropriate treatment plus the fixed costings involved.

Typical Wood-boring Insect Life Cycle

The Eradication & Treatment of Wood Boring Insects

All affected timbers are brushed down and cleaned, and appropriate floorboards are lifted in order to facilitate treatment to the undersides, plus also to the joists beneath.  The removed floorboards are then re-laid and the top surface treated.

In roof areas, all insulation material is removed prior to any treatment.

Where access to the undersides of a staircase is restricted by a soffit, a small hole will be drilled in the riser to facilitate treatment, and a top surface treatment applied.

Any unsafe or unsustainable timber will be removed and replacement will be with new timbers, which are then treated insitu.

For more detailed information please see our Timber Treatment Specification, attached to your survey report.

Evidence of flight holes created by emerging insects

Evidence of flight holes created by emerging insects

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