If thoroughly inspected the majority of older properties will be found to have some evidence of ‘woodworm; but is it serious and does it need treating? There are many species of ‘woodworm’ but the most common, often found in flooring timbers, roof timbers and furniture, is the Common Furniture Beetle (Anobium punctatum). Detecting an infestation of woodworm isn’t too difficult because there will be holes about the size of a small match head on the surface of the timber, but determining if the infestation is active or not can be. A sure sign that it is active is that the holes look fresh. These are ‘exit’ holes where the adult beetle has bored out to fly and mate and if ‘new’ will be clean, similar to a freshly drilled hole. There could also be some clean wood dust (Frass) around the hole which is a sure sign that the infestation is active and needs treating.
When carrying out woodworm surveys in occupied properties it obviously isn’t possible to inspect all the timber because of floor coverings and furniture etc so often we can only lift corners making our survey very limited. However the roof frame and undersides of staircases timers in the majority of properties are accessible and should give some indication if woodworm is present.
If woodworm is found is it active? If the holes don’t look fresh this doesn’t necessarily mean that the infestation isn’t active to inaccessible areas like sub-floors where most of the timber is. In our opinion, if the timbers haven’t been treated by a reputable company or there are no current guarantees, they should be retreated. Woodworm ‘treatment’ by Tapco HomeDry is not a difficult process and it’s carried out using only the very safest preservatives. This is not usually an expensive process but replacing timbers can be.
If you live in Surrey, parts of SW London and the Home Counties you are probably aware of the far more serious species of ‘woodworm’ the House Longhorn Beetle (Hylotrupus bajulus) which can affect your roof timbers. The actual woodworm (grub) can grow up to 22m/m long and be as thick as a pencil, often causing severe structural damage to ‘softwood’ roofing timbers as it bores up and down the grain eating its own weight of timber every day. When the adult beetle makes it’s exit it leaves a hole about the size of your small finger nail with a pile of rough grain frass. Unfortunately when is found, severe structural damage has already occurred and replacement of timber is required, which can be very costly. Treatment of this infestation is far more intense than that of the Common Furniture Beetle and in our opinion precautionary treatment of all roof timbers in Surrey, SW London and the Home Counties should be a priority.