The term ‘woodworm‘ is sometimes used generically to describe woodboring insects, and this can lead to myths building up about what to expect if you do have an infestation and how it can be treated.
Myth 1: Woodworm are the causes of all timber infestations
Although people use the term ‘woodworm’ there isn’t actually a species with this name. The majority of infestations in UK properties are actually caused by Common Furniture Beetle infestations with other culprits including, Woodboring Weevil, Bark Borer, Deathwatch, Powderpost and, if you live in the Surrey area, House Longhorn.
Myth 2: Woodboring insects can be heard in timber
There is a common misconception that you can hear insects ‘eating timber’, but in fact only one type of woodboring insect makes a noise at all. This is the Deathwatch Beetle, which can sometimes be heard making a tapping sound during the months of March to June.
Myth 3: Holes in timber are made by beetles eating wood
The holes aren’t actually made by the beetles but are formed as the beetle larvae pupate and subsequently emerge from the timber. If the holes are recent then you are likely to find a powdery substance called ‘frass’ which is the excrement of the larvae. When you are aware that you have an active infestation then it is best to arrange a survey with a CSRT (Certified Surveyor in Remedial Treatments) qualified Surveyor, who can identify the type of beetle and suggest how the affected areas can be treated.
Myth 4: New homes can’t have timber infestations
Although timber is now pre-treated before being used in buildings in the UK, any reclaimed timber that is used has the potential to become infested, or may already be infested when it is installed.
Myth 5: If you leave an infestation untreated it will eventually go away
Unfortunately, once you have an infestation it won’t go away as the beetles will continue to breed which simply perpetuates the life-cycle. One way in which the life-cycle can be stopped is by treating the affected timber appropriately, which will differ dependant on the type of beetle found. Another is by reducing or removing the source of moisture/damp.