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All About Woodworm

12th October 2023

Categories  Latest News/Woodworm

All About Woodworm: Identification, Treatment, and Prevention

Woodworm is a term that might sound harmless, but for homeowners and property managers, it can represent a significant threat to the integrity of wooden structures. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore everything you need to know about woodworm, from its appearance and causes to how to treat and prevent it. We’ll address key questions like “what does woodworm look like,” “how to treat woodworm,” “how to get rid of woodworm,” “how to tell if woodworm is active,” “what is woodworm,” “how to kill woodworm,” and “should I buy a house with woodworm?”

All About Woodworm

What is Woodworm?

Well firstly its not actually a worm! Its a collective term for the larvae of wood-boring beetles. These larvae feed on wood, creating tunnels and galleries as they grow. While the adult beetles do not cause significant damage, it’s the larvae that can weaken wooden structures, potentially leading to structural issues.

What Does Woodworm Look Like?

Identifying the type of beetle can be challenging because the larvae are hidden within the wood. However, you may notice small, round exit holes (typically 2-3mm in diameter) on the surface of affected wood when the adult beetles emerge. These exit holes are one of the primary signs of a woodworm infestation.

What Causes Woodworm?

Infestations occur when wood-boring beetles lay their eggs on or within timber. The larvae hatch from the eggs and tunnel into the wood to feed. Various species of wood-boring beetles exist, each with different preferences for the types of wood they infest.

Common causes include:

Moisture: Damp or moist wood is more susceptible to infestation.

Lack of Ventilation: Poor ventilation in areas with wooden structures can create favourable conditions for wood-boring beetles.

Unseasoned Timber: Using unseasoned or inadequately treated timber can attract wood-boring beetles.

How to Treat Woodworm

Treating infestations typically involves the following steps:

Identification: Confirm the presence through visual inspection, paying attention to exit holes and any signs of frass (fine powdery dust) near affected areas.

Assessment: Determine the extent of the infestation and whether it is active (recently emerged adult beetles) or historic (no recent activity).

Treatment: Depending on the assessment, treatment options may include applying treatment products, injecting insecticides, or fumigating affected areas. However, its worth noting that not all infestations require a chemical treatment.

Prevention: Implement measures to prevent future infestations, such as addressing moisture issues, improving ventilation, and using treated timber.

How to Get Rid of Woodworm

This involves the same steps as treatment, but with a focus on eradicating the infestation entirely. It’s crucial to ensure that the treatment is effective in killing both active and dormant larvae to prevent re-infestation.

How to Tell if Woodworm is Active

Determining whether the infestation is active or historic is essential for effective treatment. Active infestations exhibit the following signs:

Fresh exit holes with clean edges

Recent sightings of adult beetles emerging from the wood

Fresh frass around exit holes

Historic infestations may have exit holes with signs of age and no recent adult beetle activity.

How to Kill Woodworm

Killing requires the application of appropriate treatment products or insecticides. It’s crucial to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and, if in doubt, seek professional assistance to ensure the infestation is completely eradicated.

Should I Buy a House with Woodworm?

Buying a house with a history of infestations is not necessarily a deal-breaker. It depends on several factors:

The extent of the infestation and whether it has been effectively treated.

The structural integrity of the affected wood.

Whether preventive measures have been implemented to reduce the risk of future infestations.

It’s advisable to have a professional PCA accredited  surveyor like those working for Proten services assess the property and provide guidance on whether your issue poses significant concerns.


Infestations can be a cause for concern, but they are treatable and preventable. Understanding how to identify it and the steps to treat and prevent infestations is essential for homeowners and property managers. Prompt action and proper treatment can help protect wooden structures from further damage and ensure the longevity of your property.

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