Woodworm is the collective name for a number of species of wood boring insects that attack wood. Woodworm are seasonal pests and from May to October each year, they can be seen exiting from flooring and roof timbers in properties all across the UK.
Woodworm can cause serious damage to both internal & external timber as well as your home furnishings.
Although the adult beetles do not fly very far, they can get into houses through open windows, brought in on washing that has been drying outside or old furniture that has been infested in a previous house. Sometimes infested wicker fishing baskets stored in roof spaces have caused the infestation. As the larvae hatches out from egg and develops within the timber it is unlikely this will be seen unless the timber is broken and the larvae may be visible in the galleries underneath the surface of the timber. As the life cycle comes to an end the larvae pupates and evolves into a beetle, which bites through the surface of the timber creating the small round holes associated with woodworm. Wood boring insects use wood as a food source or as a home and they often leave signs of their presence. Summary: In this Do It Yourself guide to Woodworm treatment find out all you need to know about these pests including how to deal with woodworm and how to get rid of woodworm through learning how to treat woodworm effectively. If you still require additional expert advice on woodworm please contact Property Repair Systems on: 01626 336180. There are three types of woodworm beetle in the UK and we have pictured them below for easy identification and to help you diagnose the different types of infestation if you think you have woodworm evidence in your home.
The House Longhorn Beetle is rarer but much more destructive, more on this later in the project.
There is a common misconception that woodworm is inactive once the holes appear in the wood. I remember carrying out work for a letting agent in Somerset where a tenant was so concerned about the woodworm that was in the furniture that she lay in wait for confirmation of the beetles emerging so she could confront the landlord with it. If the wood was good for woodworm once it will be a good feeding ground again if it remains untreated. If you see very small holes scattered across the surface of timber or furniture, you have evidence of woodworm.
As mentioned at the beginning, these holes are where the adult beetle has emerged from the wood after spending the primary part of their lifecycle as a larva within the wood.
While conditions do not need to be damp for woodworm to survive they will certainly thrive where the timber is moist. Beetles are most likely to choose untreated wood to lay their eggs so you are most likely to find woodworm in furniture where the polish or finish has worn off, and where it is kept in damp conditions. If you have woodworm in furniture but you have other timber in the house that makes a better home for the beetles to lay their eggs they will find it! We would recommend that for DIY purposes the best woodworm killer and timber treatment to use is Boron Ultra 12 because it is a water-based product that only kills wood boring insects, does not give off unpleasant fumes or smells and quickly soaks into the timber.
Many contractors use a chemical called Permethrin but this has unpleasant vapours and smells and it is also hazardous to other insects and even mammals, which is a consideration if you have bats in your belfry.
If you are using powder dilute a 5% solution and apply two coats of the Boron Ultra 12 by brush or spray. The 1kg bag pictured above dilutes in water to make 25 litres of Boron treatment at 5% solution.
The Boron Ultra 12 powder can be dissolved at the following rates to treat the following areas. For commercial use the Boron Ultra 12 can be mixed and used at 10% solution, which is useful where infestation is heavier. We would suggest that very heavily infested areas of timber are also treated with Boron Ultra Gel, to provide further active ingredients to ensure the whole infestation is cleared in one treatment. Boron Gel treatment is available from Property Repair Systems for DIY purposes as a 5% solution and for trade at 20% in quantities of 500ml, 1 litre and 2 litres.
The Gel should be applied by brush liberally to the affected area, but do not leave excess on the timber as it can crystallise. It is advisable to treat the area with Boron Ultra gel where there is damp present in the timber as it will act as a preservative and provide extra protection against rot and infestation.
You can return to the area which has been treated with pesticide in one hour or when the product is dry whichever takes longer. While pets, birds and fish are not at risk from Boron-based preservatives, Permethrin-based woodworm treatments can be harmful to pets. For those of you who do not live in Surrey you will be pleased to know that the House Longhorn Beetle (Hylotrupes Bajulus) is not very common in the UK. If you do live in Surrey and you have woodworm you should be very careful to make sure you get correct diagnosis of your woodworm.

Where the House Longhorn Beetle is in evidence it prefers roof timbers and only attacks softwoods. If you suspect infestation you should contact your local council and get professional advice as soon as possible. For a qualified Timber Treatment company you can find your nearest PCA Member or Property Repair Systems would be happy to provide you with details for your nearest registered member.
You can read a factsheet from Defra (Department for Environment and Rural Affairs) about the various types of longhorn beetles to be found in Britain including some which are notifiable pests here. Death Watch Beetle sounds so terrible but in fact it is not a serious as a Longhorm Beetle infestation. Death Watch Beetle is relatively common in Southern England, whereas the North of England and Scotland are largely unaffected.
Unlike the Common Furniture Beetle this woodworm has a ten-year life cycle which does make treatment a bit more difficult. The feeding patterns of the Death Watch Larva will leave sections of the timber hollow so to find out which areas need treating tap or 'Sound' the timber with a hammer. Test these hollow areas by drilling into the affected areas with an 8 - 10mm diameter auger, so you can establish the parameters of the infestation.
When you have worked out where you need to treat you can inject Boron Ultra Paste into the affected areas. Drill 10mm diameter holes to within 15mm of the opposing face, using the drilling pattern provided by Property Repair Systems which is available to download free here.
The guide is also provided in the treatment kit from PRS provided with the Boron Ultra Paste. Once any paste left on the surface is dry, brush on two coats of Boron Ultra Gel to all affected areas. Because the lifecycle of the Death Watch Beetle is so long, you should continue to check for infestation on an annual basis for at least ten years. If you spot signs of activity you will need to re-apply any treatment where necessary using the above pointers.
Please note - Surface treatment alone is not sufficient to deal with Death Watch Beetle, you do need to get the treatment into the core of the timber. We advise that you carry out annual inspections for signs of woodworm activity, and treat again as necessary. See the woodworm treatment products and quantities available on the Property Repair System Website. We hope that you have found this project on woodworm advice, treatment and diagnosis guides for the different types of beetle useful. The main objective of this website is in furthering environmental awareness and education through the medium of photography.
View detailsWykabor 10 may also be used in conjunction with Wykabor 40 as past of an eradicant treatment against fungal decay.
The term “woodworm” refers to the larval or “worm” stage of the insects’ life when they bore and eat wood. Once they have emerged, they can often be found near windows, windowsills or around loft hatches, as they are attracted to light.
If left untreated, they can seriously weaken timber leading to the eventual failure of the structure of a building.
Included also you will find information about their lifecycles and habits and how damp can play a part in providing them with the ideal conditions they need to live and grow. Read the guide below with woodworm advice and a full explanation of how to treat for wood boring insects in your home.
Pictured also is the damage each one causes to the timber, because it does differ for each different type of woodworm. I think most people realise that the worm bit in woodworm refers to the larvae state when the beetle is a grub that looks more like a maggot, so is known as a wood 'worm'. While it means that that particular 'worm' has grown up and left the nest as a beetle it does not mean there are not more in the wood, and in fact that same beetle may be back to lay its eggs starting the whole woodworm lifecycle off again. If the woodworm is still active there will be signs of droppings or frass, which looks like fine sawdust, around the affected area. Indeed she captured her evidence and brought it into the Letting Agent's office in a jar, at which point the landlord had to agree to treat the woodworm! As woodworm and damp often go together an attack is a good indicator that your timber is not in good condition.
The damage they do is mainly cosmetic unless there is also damp in the wood, or the timber is very slender. They attack softwood timber like pine but they are very at home in plywood and may stay within it for prolonged periods of time especially if the conditions are slightly damp.

Therefore damp floorboards or loft timbers are prime real estate for woodworm, but of course they will also make a home in our furniture, and because this is under our noses we are more likely to spot woodworm damage in furniture. However the woodworm will live in other conditions, so don't discount it just because the conditions are not ideal for it. Bats are a protected species and it would be illegal to carry out work or treatments that would cause harm or disturbance to roosting bats, so bear this in mind if you are treating woodworm in your loft or attic.
This is known as the re-entry time The guideline is set by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
Unlike the Common Furniture Beetle the larvae of this species causes holes and tunnels in the wood that are much bigger than the furniture beetle and infestation does cause severe structural damage to the timbers. As it is so destructive it should only be handled by a professional who can advise on the structural damage caused as well as the treatment necessary. The Death Watch Beetle is also much more destructive while it is feeding on the timber and can cause severe structural damage to timber including large structural timbers. Making sure the hole is completely full from the bottom to the top, using an extension tube (see below). Apply the gel onto sound timber by at least 300mm all the way around the area that was subject to attack. If you do not want to tackle this task as a DIY project, you should get professional help and advice from a knowledgable and reputable specialist. If you are still unsure about woodworm infestation or treatment and would like additional help and advice then contact Property Repair Systems qualified staff. We work with Checkatrade to ensure that we recommend only reliable and trustworthy tradesmen. Sometimes the difference between species is obvious but many species can only be determined by observing microscopic characteristics that are specific to any one species. For treatment of wood for the eradication and prevention of wood-boring beetles including common furniture beetle and powder-post beetle (aka Woodworm). It is not unusual to find hundreds of adult Weevils crawling about on the surface of the rotten wood. Additionally you will also learn how to detect woodworm in timber and furniture and how to tell if it is still active or not. Obviously it is still better to treat the wood, but it is not usually cause for alarm if you find evidence of this common furniture beetle.
The BRE monitor the spread of this destructive beetle and they produce reports on the spread of the beetle across the home counties.
Imported timbers are more likely to be attacked, with French Oak being a particular delicacy for the beetles.
It generally prefers damp, rather than dry wood and the grub will head for, and stays in, plywood for longer than any other timber.Areas where the Common Furniture beetle is foundDamp floorboards, damp loft timbers and old furniture where the polished finish has worn off, are good areas where the common furniture woodworm beetle can be found. Also, get help in diagnosing different types of Woodworm infestation from the Common Furniture Beetle, House Longhorn Beetle and Death Watch Beetle.
So to truly thrive this beetle wants conditions that you would not want in your house in any event, so it is not a very common pest for that reason. They offer completely free, no obligation advice and we have worked with them for many years now and can confirm that they really do know their stuff!!
How to recognise where wood boring insects thrive and learn how to prevent re-infestation by using an effective woodworm killer. They are therefore associated with quiet, sleepless nights and are named for the vigil (watch) keeping beside the dying or dead with the superstitious therefore naming it the Death Watch beetle.The Death Watch woodworm beetle much prefers very damp conditions which are improved when there is some kind of fungal decay such as wet rot in the timbers.
The larvae tend to tunnel towards the centre of the timber resulting in damage that may be more extensive than is apparent from the exterior.
The woodworm larvae usually matures in the spring and the mature adults then cut holes 6-10mm in diameter to exit the wood.
The larvae bore through seasoned wood such as ash, elm and oak.Areas where the Powderpost beetle is foundDamage almost always originates in timber yards, stockyards or storerooms however, the Powderpost woodworm beetle can also cause considerable damage to furniture, sports equipment, wood block floors and joinery made of wide pored hardwoods. The guy who actually did the work was friendly and informative and the work has been done to an apparently high standard.
Anne Reid I have dealt with Wise property care for a number of years now and have found them to be very professional in all aspects of their business.

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