The Homeowner’s Woodworm Guide

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While woodworm is by no means one of the most common defects that can be discovered in a home, it can be one of the most destructive. Fortunately, it generally only occurs in damp conditions meaning that if you can spot the moisture in certain areas of your building, you can stop the problem before it starts to get serious. Unfortunately, there’s every chance that wood-boring insects can find their way to disguised timbers. For example, one of the most commonly affected areas are the floor joists and if woodworm find their way to this region, the structural integrity of your home is immediately at risk. Bearing this in mind, it’s important to know the ins and outs of the problem, as we take a look at woodworm infestation in more detail.

What is woodworm?

Woodworm is exactly how it is described – a wood-boring insect that is found throughout timbers across the country. There are numerous species that can be found, with the Deathwatch Beetle and Common Furniture Beetle being two of the most common in the UK. Each species will react with the wood differently, with some carving large holes, while others will create smaller ones but leave a trail of dust. Suffice to say, all of the species can be fatal to a property if they are not treated.

How can woodworm be diagnosed?

Fortunately, the different beetles usually leave very obvious signs. Small holes in any timber in your property is probably the most telling sign, while it might even be possible to see some of the beetles as they emerge from the timbers. Some affected wood will also take on a different form and become crumbly, forcing dust to gather around the area.

What are the treatment options?

The first step is to stop the source of the problem, with this most commonly related to moisture. The beetles need damp conditions to survive so if you can prevent water from coming into contact with your timbers, you should at least halt the problem. There are also several chemicals out there on the market that will aim to eradicate any active beetles, with having a selection of products that fall into this category. Unfortunately, if the damage proves to be severe, you might have to completely replace timbers which can result in significant expenses when the affected wood is based in the structure of the property – such as in the floor joists.

How can woodworm be prevented?

The good thing about woodworm is that it is very easy to prevent the problem in the first place. The most important step you can take is to regularly check your home for any moisture ingress, with this being the primary reason why infestations occur. Similarly, make sure that the house is properly ventilated to keep the humidity levels as low as possible.


In a bid to protect against the Common Furniture Beetle, you should be very wary about any old furniture you have recently bought as this is how this type of woodworm travels from location to location. Look out for the signs that were detailed earlier in this blog post and if you do notice any, remove it from your property as quickly as possible to ensure the infestation does not spread to the structural timbers.

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