SPECIALIST WOODWORM ADVICE FOR DIAGNOSISING & TREATING WOODWORM
Surveying Woodworm Throughout Manchester, Liverpool, North Wales, Chester, Birmingham, London, Shrewsbury and Bolton
Woodworm is the universal term for a number of wood boring beetles; these beetles vary in size, flight holes, damage capability, habitats and most importantly treatment requirements.
The most common wood boring beetle is common furniture beetle (Anobium punctatum), however there are many species found in the UK, such as the Death Watch Beetle (Xestobium rufovillosum), Longhorn Beetle (Hylotrupes bajulus), Wood boring Weevil beetle (Euophryum confine and Pentarthum huttoni) and Bark Borer Beetle (Ernobius Mollus).
It is very important to have the species of woodworm correctly diagnosed, because misdiagnosis can lead to hundreds, even thousands of pounds of unnecessary timber treatments (insecticide treatment).
Many species of woodworm require no treatment at all. There are also instances where evidence of woodworm is present, but is no longer active. So with this in mind you can see how important specialist knowledge is. Woodworm is a problem that can’t be diagnosed without knowing all species treatment requirements and the ability to know whether the woodworm is active or not.
THE LIFE CYCLE OF WOOD BORING BEETLES (3-5 Years depending on Species)
1. An adult woodworm beetle will lay her eggs in cracks and crevices in the timber.
2. Eggs hatch, the woodworm larvae will burrow into the wood feeding on the timber creating galleries (tunnels)
3. When reaching maturity the woodworm beetle will emerge from the timber creating the characteristic flight holes and bore dust.
4. The adult beetle will mate and the process will start from the beginning again.
This life cycle can vary from species to species, however the woodworm cycle is fairly similar to each woodworm species. The only thing that varies is the length of time the woodworm is laid to the emergence of the adult woodworm.
The most active period of time in the UK where woodworm emerge are between May and October, in some instance you can see the adult woodworm emerging from the timber in roof void timbers and timber flooring. It is not uncommon to find beetles on window sills during the warmer months.
COMMON FURNITURE BEETLE – ANOBIUM PUNCTATUM
This woodworm is the most common beetle our surveyor comes across on timber surveys, it is found all across Britain and normally attacks the properties structural timbers. It is also found in countries all across the world such as Australia and New Zealand. This beetle infestation is responsible for about 75% damage of all UK woodworm infestations.
This beetle is the most common beetle found within a building. The Latin name for it is Anobium Punctatum. The habitat for which this beetle can survey is European hardwoods and softwoods. It usually only infests the sap woods of hardwood and softwoods, however if the timber is suffering from timber decay, common furniture beetle may be found within the heart wood. It is very rare to find common furniture beetle in tropical hardwoods.
Common furniture beetle can be frequently found in older furniture thus the name common furniture beetle. Infested furniture once transported from one property to another property has the ability to start infesting its new home.
The majority of structural timbers found within buildings can suffer common furniture beetle infestation and if left can cause horrific consequences. The structural integrity of the timbers can be lost which may lead to costly timber replacement. Your own safety along with the buildings occupants’ safety can be put at risk as a result of this.
The most common place to find this beetle infestation is timbers in contact with masonry, under the stairs, around loft access and utility boards.
Does woodworm (common furniture beetle) infest plywoods?
Woodworm will attack old ply woods containing old birch, beach and oak with animal based adhesives such as blood, fish and casein. Modern ply woods and all other panel products are usual immune from infestation, however, it is not uncommon to find adult beetles emerging through them.
Damage characteristics of common furniture beetle (Anobium Punctatum)
Emergence holes are round, 1 to 2mm in diameter. The tunnels/galleries are again circular and can be found extensive usually in the direction of the grain.
The tunnels can usually become apparent on the surfaces of floor boards when sanded and due to general wear and tear. The bore dust (frass) is usually cream coloured, gritty when rubbed between your fingers and are lemon shaped pellets when viewed under a 10x eye lens.
Most common misidentification
Powder Post Beetle (Lyctus Brunneus)
Death Watch Beetle (Xestobium Rufovillosum)
Wood Boring Weevil (Pentarthrum Huttoni/Euophryum Confine)
Ptilinus Beetle ( Ptilinus Pectinicornis)
Bark Borer Beetle (Ernobius Mollis)
Pin Hole Borer Beetle (Ambrosia Beetle)
Remedial Treatments (If found active) Pressurised insecticidal spray treatment and deep kill paste treatment.
WOOD-BORING BEETLE – PENTARTHRUM HUTTONI & EUOPHRYUM CONFINE
This beetle is found in damp decayed softwoods and hardwoods, poorly ventilated sub floor areas, basements and in wood in contact with damp masonry. Infestation can only occur after timber decay has become present. Both Larvae and Adults attack the wood.
Damage characteristics of Wood Boring Weevil
Narrow oval emergence holes, about 1mm in diameter.
Tunnels/galleries tend to run along the grain often breaking through the wood surface.
Bore dust is generally circular individual pellets and is fine and gritty.
No chemical treatment is required. Identify the source of moisture for the timber decay to occur. Rectify the source of moisture and then remove the damp decayed timbers along with the infestation.
Note: Sound dry timbers cannot be infested by wood boring weevils.
HOUSE LONG HORN BEETLE – HYLOTRUPES BAJULUS
This species of woodworm can cause major damage to sapwood of most softwood. House Long Horn beetle infestations are usually restricted to the south east of the UK (mainly Surrey) and to central and southern Europe. On a warm summers day you can hear the beetle larvae feeding on infested timbers in a property. The sound can be described as a scraping noise.
Damage characteristics of House Long Horn Beetle
Very large Oval emergence holes are present usually between 6 and 10mm in diameter.
Tunnels often merge together which can totally destroy the sapwood of structural timbers. The tunnels are usually full of frass which are sausage shaped pellets readily visible to the naked eye and can be easily shaken out of the timber.
This beetle usually leaves a sound veneer of wood on the surface which appears to be corrugated where damage is severe. If this beetle is found in any building, it must be reported to the British Research Establishment (BRE).
A thorough inspection must be carried out to determine the infestation perimeter. Remove and burn all badly infested timbers and treat any adjacent treatments with an organic solvent.
DEATH WATCH BEETLE – XESTOBIUM RUFOVILLOSUM
This beetle will attack heartwoods and sapwoods of partially decayed hardwoods, mainly Oak. This beetle is often found in historical and heritage buildings where large quantities of Oak have been used for structural timbers. Soft woods are rarely infested accept when in contact with hardwoods.
Severe damage may be present within concealed structural timbers which may have been hallowed out by the tunnels.
Damage characteristics of Death Watch Beetle
Large circular emergence holes, approx. 3mm in diameter.
Very much like common furniture beetle but on a bigger scale.
Tunneling can be extensive and usually in the direction of the grain, mainly internally within the timber which can compromise its structural integrity. The frass of this beetle is very gritty, uniform in colour and its large bun shaped pellets are visible to the naked eye.
Pressurised spray of organic solvents/micro emulsions or a deep kill paste. Remove and replace damp decayed timbers.
BARK BORER BEETLE – ERNOBIUS MOLLIS
This beetle will infest seasoned softwood as long as there is bark present to attack. Is it most common to be found outdoors in recently felled trees. Evidence of this beetle can be found within buildings however is usually harmless. The beetle can score the outer part of the sapwood which is usually superficial damage.
Damage Characteristics of Bark Borer Beetle
The emergence holes are circular 1-2mm in diameter and are usually found within the bark. In some instances the emergence hole can be found in the sapwood. The tunnels are usually found in the bark if still present. The frass this beetle produces is gritty, bun shaped pellets and is of different shades depending on the colour of the bark.
Remedial Treatment - No chemical treatment is necessary.
POWDER POST BEETLE – LYCTUS BRUNNEUS
This beetle infested European and Tropical sapwoods of wide pored hardwoods such as oak which has a high starch content. This beetle is not usually found in softwood and timber over 10 years due to the depletion of natural starch with the wood.
Damage Characteristics of Powder Post Beetle
The damage is severe within the sapwood and has the tendency to run along the grain in the early stages of the infestation. The sapwood will often be completely disintegrated leaving the surface of the timber in sound condition. The Frass of this beetle is one of the tell tail signs of a positive identification it is cream coloured, has the consistency of flour and is very smooth when rubbed between your fingers in comparison to the gritty frass produced by Common Furniture Beetle. The emergence holes are round 1-2mm in diameter, the tunnels round and have the tendency to run alone the grain in its early stages after which the tunnels will frequently join one another.
If found usually it will be in a new piece of timber, I usually is found in older property because of the 10 year starch depletion so as a general rule of thumb the timber should be return to the place of purchase followed by a straight forward replacement. The timber yard will then dispose of the wood appropriately.