FAQ’s – Woodworm & Wet Rot
What is woodworm?
There a many species of wood boring insects, Woodworm, but the four that Tapco HomeDry deal with the most, are:
- Common Furniture Beetle (Anobium punctatum) Woodworm, by far the most common of all wood boring insects and attacks, floors, roof timbers, furniture, in fact any timber, inside and out.
- Wood Boring Weevil (Euophryum confine) Always found accompanying wet, rotting timber, boring along the grain, further weakening the structure.
- House Longhorn Beetle (Hylotrupes bajulus). This very destructive wood boring insect is mainly found in Surrey and the surrounding areas although cases are often reported further afield. If left, it causes severe damage to.
- softwood timbers, rapidly boring up and down the grain as it considerably weakens the structural strength of the timber.
- Death Watch Beetle (Xestobium rufovillosum) usually found affecting old, damp oak timbers of houses and churches throughout the country.
Some cause more rapid damage than other, all need eradicating. If left untreated they can be highly destructive and ultimately affect the integrity of your property’s structure. Infestations often attack untreated roof and flooring timbers and can spread to other items such as furniture and joinery.
The beetles’ larvae (woodworm) bore through the timber and then peppering them with holes as the adult beetles emerge from the wood. Over time, innumerable channels made by the larvae, weaken the tensile strength of the timber, which in extreme cases can cause floors and roofs to collapse and furniture to become brittle and crumble under pressure.
Signs of woodworm?
Most of us have seen the tiny (bore) holes left by woodworm, which can be found in numerous places in both internal and external timber and furniture. These holes are made as the adult beetles bores out, which unfortunately is after the damage has been done. You may see some fine powdery dust (‘frass’) near the holes which if clean, together with the size and shape of the hole, will confirm the type of infestation it is and if it is active. Adult beetles emerge between April and September but treatment can be applied at any time.
In Surrey and the surrounding areas, Tapco HomeDry often come across the very destructive House Longhorn Beetle (Hylotrupes bajulus). This insect’s larvae can grow up to 25mm long and as thick as a pencil, rapidly boring up and down the grain of the timber, undetected, for up to 14-years. It often causes serious damage to the structure of roof timbers, which if left untreated can collapse and cost thousands of pounds to replace. If your property is in Surrey or one of the surrounding areas and was not constructed with pre-treated timber, we strongly recommend that you carry out precautionary preservation treatment to your roof timbers, to prevent an infestation of this destructive wood boring insect.
What is wet rot?
Wet Rot is the most common type of timber decay found in buildings and is a general term covering several varieties of Brown or White Rot fungus. It usually occurs because of a building defect or long term Rising Damp. Timbers that are most vulnerable are those that are built into walls, or touching masonry that is damp.
Over time they become progressively wetter and slowly soften and decay, to the point of floor collapse. Joinery timbers that are in contact with damp masonry can also be affected and both are considerably aggravated, if the sub-floor ventilation is inadequate or the local water table is high, as this will cause humidity under the floors. Not to be confused with Dry Rot, which is far more serious and invasive, wet rot still needs to be dealt with, before the risk of Dry Rot occurs.
Signs of wet rot?
A constant damp or musty smell when you first walk into the property. Floors that are ‘springy’ when you walk on them, distorted or cracked joinery timbers and the presence of wood lice or silver fish. If you recognise any of these, they are sure signs you may have damp and your floors have an attack of Wet Rot Fungus.
How to deal with wet rot?
It is important to source and repair the cause the moisture damp. Floorboards are lifted to locate the extent of the weakened timbers, which are removed and carefully disposed of.
The oversite is cleared of excess rubble and the sub-floor ventilation will be checked and improved as necessary. The remaining sound timbers are then cleaned and treated with a fungicidal/insecticidal preservative, prior to replacing new pre-treated timber, where the old had been removed. Affected joinery timbers are replaced with new, to match existing as closely as possible.