Woodworm is a generic term used for wood boring beetles. The most common form of insect timber damage in UK homes is caused by the Common Furniture Beetle (Anobium punctatum). In the Spring and Summer months adult beetles emerge from timbers and after mating the female beetle lays her eggs into the cracks and crevices of the timber she’s just left. A month or so later the eggs hatch and the larvae burrow into the timber. They can remain there for up to four years -slowly eating and burrowing beneath the surface of the wood. Eventually the mature lava will form a pupation chamber just beneath the surface of the wood. After pupation, the adult beetle cuts a hole out into the timber’s surface and emerges for the cycle to start over again.
Most homeowners first encounter evidence of woodworm when they lift carpets laying on wooden floors and find the tracks and holes of a typical infestation. The most important point to remember about woodworm damage is that any evidence of woodworm is historic, holes that have been made as the beetle larvae leaves the wood and may indicate an old infestation that does not require any treatment. Any new holes that appear and the dust or frass falling from them will often indicate the presence of a new and active infestation.
Left untreated it is conceivable that woodworm could cause serious damage to structural timbers, but the more usual result is cosmetic damage to surface timbers, necessitating floorboard replacement.
A survey will establish the type of woodworm and extent of any damage. If any treatment is required this is usually undertaken with water-based insecticides, although other treatments may be recommended.