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Guest Pests – How to Prevent and Treat Woodworm Then Hide The Evidence

See our printable PDF version of How to Prevent and Treat Woodworm 

Purchasing products from reputable sources (such as UK Oak Doors) using good wood and reliable treatments is the best preventative action to the introduction of wood pests into the home. But whether by flying insects or the introduction of new furniture in the home, any modern house may inadvertently bring wood pests into the house, particularly if home designers prefer a more classic look with antique furniture. This guide offers advice to prevent or treat woodworm, the most common form of wood pest.

You can reduce the possibility of suffering woodworm by the following steps...

  1. Applying varnish or preservative to exposed bare wood including the underside of chairs or other furniture and especially plywood backing to furniture as this provides comfortable living for furniture beetle eggs.
  2. Applying a preservative to exposed wood in areas such as floors and doors in attics (low traffic areas)
  3. Checking for the presence of woodworm in old furniture, especially wicker items, chairs or plywood boxes, as these offer perfect places for the female to lay its eggs.
woodworm An example of woodworm at work

Treating Woodworm

Woodworm is a serious issue that spreads throughout a home if untreated. Serious enough to affect whether a mortgage company will lend a person money and serious enough to be requiring a qualified surveyed to determine the value of a house.

There is a choice between treating it yourself or employing a remedial treatment company. In some cases this decision will be made for you by a mortgage company that will refuse to lend money for the purchase of a property until they have a guarantee from a professional treatment company that any woodworm has been killed off if discovered during a survey.

woodworm damage Tree at risk of collapse due to woodworm

If you decide to treat it yourself there are a number of products available to use once you have thoroughly checked the house for affected areas. Common places for infestations are roof timbers and floor timbers because they do not suffer from regular disturbances. In the case of floor timbers the upper side has regular use but the under side is perfect to harbour woodworm though beetles my exit through the top surface. In the case of roof timbers any objects stored in the attic space should be removed as well as insulating materials between the joists.

Badly affected areas of timber should be removed with a sharp Stanley knife but if the woodworm has extensively damaged the timber significantly reducing the strength then replacement rather than treatment is the only option. With both roof and floor timbers use a sprayer with a long lance to treat difficult to reach areas hence reducing the need for step ladders in the attic or unnecessary removal of flooring. Wet affected areas with the treatment taking care not to drip on to wiring and other electrics.

Minor outbreaks

In some cases the outbreak of woodworm can be caught early and the remedy is straightforward and simple with Woodworm Fluid. But this is only applicable when checks have been made that infestation has not spread. Woodworm fluid can be injected in to ‘exit holes’ that should penetrate into tunnels. This will not reverse problems where larvae have spread but will prevent spread into treated areas again.

Disguising Woodworm Holes

Woodworm or other wood pests whether active or inactive will leave holes in timber as the beetles exit. Provided infestations are now extinct some believe the holes add character to furniture but most would rather the effects of woodworm were hidden. Simply adding extra layers of varnish will affect the look of objects and is not an option for antiques. However, after the wood has been treated a neat trick is to use candle wax as wax will not be broken down by furniture polish or cleaning detergents. Purchase a candle of a similar colour to the wood and rub the base of the candle over affected areas to fill the holes.


This entry was posted in 'How To' Guides, Blog, Oak Door Articles, Resources on May 17, 2013 by will.

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