You’ve almost certainly heard of woodworm, but you might think it’s a thing of the past, found only in very antique wooden furniture and neglected floorboards. You’d be wrong, in that case, as it’s still a problem that you need to watch out for.
Where do they come from?
Woodworm live in infested timber; this could be the old chair you bought at a flea market and plan to upcycle, or it could be the firewood resting by your burner.
If you have adult beetles, they’ll come out of the wood to look for new paces to lay eggs. Cracks in skirting boards, floorboards, chair legs and tables will do very nicely and once the eggs hatch out, the larvae eat downwards into the wood, pupate after two to five years. All the while, they’re eating track-lines through your wood! Once the adults emerge, they start all over again.
How do I know if I’ve got woodworm?
You might, if you have the deathwatch beetle, be able to hear a clicking or ticking noise as it butts its head against the insides of your furniture! Most often, however, it’s visual signs that give these pests away.
The maturing larvae make these holes of 1-3mm in diameter as they come out of the wood to find a mate. Just having the holes doesn’t mean there’s an active infestation, so look for lighter-coloured holes, as these are recently made.
Another indication of an active infestation is frass, or the faeces of the larvae. It looks like gritty sawdust and gathers around the exit holes and any surfaces that it might fall on. If you see this, you need to act fast.
Living beetles or larvae
If you see the beetles or larvae themselves, then you’ve definitely got an infestation! Look for larvae around the furniture and the holes, as well as beetles suddenly appearing indoors and flying towards sunlight or indoor lights.
What’s the treatment?
There are several treatment methods for woodworm, but the most common one is a water-soluble spray that absorbs into the wood and kills all life stages of the woodworm, including eggs.
Is it a serious problem?
If you have priceless antiques in your house, then it could be very bad news indeed! However, if you’re an average Joe or Joanna, then all you need to do is to call a pest control company and then you, your furniture and floors can be woodworm-free for many years.