As the quality of timber used in buildings declined, from solid oak heartwood in the C17th to fast growing pine sapwood today, the incidence of woodworm in buildings increased. Although a generic term applied to a number of wood boring insects, woodworm is most commonly associated with one beetle, Anobium punctatum.
The presence of woodworm has decreased in modern, centrally heated buildings but ground floor voids and roof spaces continue to be poorly ventilated and unheated, providing ideal conditions for the beetle to multiply. This insect will attack soft and hard woods leaving a network of tunnels and laying eggs in their emergence holes or fissures in timber. In common with all wood boring insects, they are poor fliers.
We are frequently called out to inspect timbers described as having insect bore holes. However, it is rare for us to specify chemical treatment which we only recommend once we have established the outbreak is active. The emergence holes will remain visible forever whereas active infestation lasts only for a period of around 3 years when the emergence holes will be sharp and bright with associated frass.
If upon inspection an infestation is confirmed to be active, the timbers (if sound) would be sprayed with a targeted preparation of a water-based fluid with the minimum of disturbance and re-entry time of 1 hour.
Key to active woodworm is a moisture source which raises the moisture content of the timber. Our priority is to correct any external fault resulting in water ingress or improve ventilation in roof or sub-floor voids.
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