What to do if you find woodworm?

As any homeowner will know, properties each come with their share of problems. Some forms of timber decay – such as woodworm –  can seem insurmountable. However with the right advice, you’ll soon discover that woodworm is an easy issue to remedy, and rarely causes structural damage to your home.

With that in mind, we’ve created a quick guide on what to do if you find woodworm in your current, or future home.

Modern lounge with wooden floorboards

First of all, what is woodworm?

Woodworm is an issue which affects thousands of households in the UK – both old and new. The term is used to describe the larvae of any wood-boring beetle – including the Common Furniture Beetle, the Deathwatch Beetle and the House Longhorn Beetle. 

How do you get woodworm?

Believe it or not, woodworm isn’t just found on older properties. In fact, some newly constructed buildings have had their share of damage from woodworm infestations. 

Generally speaking, woodworm is more common in wood with a high moisture content - which is why, if you have a damp problem, you may be more susceptible to contracting woodworm too. Timber with a 20% moisture content provides perfect conditions for the female beetle to lay her eggs – and when these hatch, damage is caused as the larvae burrows through the wood. 

On the plus side, woodworm is not normally infectious. So, if you find woodworm in one area in your home, it’s unlikely to spread to the rest of your property. 

Signs of woodworm

Obviously, you’ll need to bring in a professional to know for sure if you have woodworm and to seek appropriate action to fix it. However, there are some tell-tale signs of woodworm to look out for, which include: 

Round or oval exit holes in timber: These will be freshly-made and may have sharp edges. 

Wood dust: Caused by adult beetles boring into the timber, this is normally found beneath the affected wood. 

Damaged or weak timber: In some cases, floorboards may feel weak underfoot. 

So, how do you get rid of woodworm?

Luckily, woodworm is an easy problem to remedy. Simply get in touch with a specialist firm to carry out a full report and quote for the work. Your local Wards estate agent will be able to help you find one. As with choosing a damp-proofing contractor, make sure that the company you go for offers a 20-year guarantee for the work. 

So, how do you get rid of woodworm for good? Currently, there are two woodworm treatments which should do the job:

Fogging: This involves putting a treatment agent under your floorboards, allowing the fog to penetrate the timber from beneath. If you’re unable to vacate your home, this might be the best option for you since the entire process takes less than a day. 

Fumigation: If your woodworm problem is severe enough to warrant fumigation, you’ll need to find somewhere else to stay for a few days. 

There are various water-based treatments which you can apply yourself, but we don’t advise this. Highly toxic and tricky to apply, you may do more harm than good unless you’ve had experience with these kind of treatments before. 

How much will a woodworm treatment set you back?

Although prices can vary - depending on the size of your home and the extent of the problem - bringing in the professionals to treat your home with pesticides can set you back anywhere between £500 and £1000.  

 Selling or buying a home with woodworm? We can help. Get in touch or pop in to see us in branch for some advice tailored to your own situation.