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An Ultimate Guide On Woodworm

An Ultimate Guide On Woodworm

Spreading of woodworm is a very common issue in buildings as well as houses that can eventually result in timber framework needing to be replaced. Neglecting or delaying woodworm treatment can lead to the infestation getting deeper in the timber.
When purchasing and bringing in new furniture into your home, check it thoroughly for woodworm infestations if any.

Table of Content:

Before knowing the tips for wood insect treatment, it is first necessary to know what is woodworm, where they came from, and what havoc they could cause.

What Is Woodworm?

The wood boring beetles at the larvae stage are commonly known as woodworm. These woodworms are seasonal insects that are usually found in households. From the early spring to mid-autumn, these woodworms target exposed untreated timber in the interior as well as the exterior parts of the household.

These beetles are so tiny that there are very high chances you might not notice their arrival in your household furniture. The spread of woodworm in the furniture might not always be visible to the naked eye.

Types Of Woodworms

There are eight woodworm species that usually munch upon timber. All these species are different from one another and can be figured out from their common traits.

1. Common Furniture Beetle: (Anobium punctatum)

As the name itself suggests, the common furniture beetle is the most common wood boring insect you will find in your home. This type of beetle bores in softwood as well as hardwood by creating perfect round tunnels measuring about 2mm in diameter.

2. House Longhorn Beetle: (Hylotrupes bajulus)

House Longhorn beetles are normally found in roofing timbers. These are some of the largest wood-boring insects. These insects prefer softwood and are the most damaging ones among the woodworm species. They are easy to spot because they bore 10mm wide tunnels and leave behind ‘frass’ pellets. The House Longhorn beetle is also known as the destructive beetle.

3. Wood Boring Weevil: (Pentarthrum huttoni)

The wood boring weevil beetles often attack the timber that has been attacked by fungal decay. These beetles are usually detected a few years after new construction. The wood boring beetles have a short life span of one to two years. Several years might pass, but the presence of these beetles is very hard to notice.

4. Death Watch Beetle: (Xestobium rufovillosum)

The death watch beetle prefers hardwood over softwood and causes damage to the older buildings. This beetle usually prefers to lay its eggs in the rotting wood of oak and elm. These beetles bore funnels of 2-3mm in diameter throughout the wood filling with ‘frass’ behind. This is noticeable on a closer inspection. You can hear this type of beetle on a quiet summer night as they emit a tapping sound to attract a mate.

5. Ambrosia Beetle: (Scolytinae and Platypodinae)

The ambrosia beetle belongs to the weevil family and splits into different species depending upon the location. These beetles usually breed on freshly cut logs and are seen in residential properties. These beetles prefer timber with fungus to cultivate the surrounding timber into blue or black color.

6. Bark Borer: (Ernobius Mollis)

The bark borer beetle munches on bark-covered softwood. These beetles bore 2mm diameter tunnels in the surface of the wood and leave behind rounded waste colored according to the wood they inhabit. These bark borer beetles can be found below the surface of the wood in small and rounded exit holes.

7. Powder Post Beetle: (Lyctus brunneus)

The powder post beetle prefers young hardwood saplings and tunnels deeper into the timber in a maze-like pattern to weaken the stability of the wood. The holes made by this beetle are difficult to spot as they are only 1mm in diameter, but the waste produced has a clear flour-like appearance. Such beetles usually target new furniture.

8. Wharf Borer: (Nacerdes Melanura)

The wharf borer usually stays in coastal structures and buildings. These beetles are also sometimes found in inland buildings containing serious damp problems. This beetle attacks the wood while leaving behind an 8mm wide tunnel filled with thick consistent waste.

Difference Between Woodworm And Termites

Both woodworms and termites munch on timber and are equally devastating, but figuring out the difference between both the insects will help you in finding appropriate and suitable solutions. Woodworm is the larvae of specific types of beetles while termites are a type of cockroaches living in colonies.

Termites do not bore visible holes like the woodworms in the wooden furniture. Hence, termites are much harder to detect. Termites are six-legged white-colored tiny insects bearing a pair of antennae and wings.

Woodworm, on the other hand, is the name by which the larval stage of several wood-eating beetle species is known. In this case, only the larvae consume wood, therefore, it is the larval stage of these insects that will be found inside the infected wood. 

How To Identify Active Woodworm?

Depending upon the species of the woodworm and the type of wood, the visible signs of woodworm infestation can differ from one another. However, the most obvious indication is that all the woodworms leave a mass of tiny holes in the furniture. If there is woodworm in furniture, you might notice flour-like waste particles around the affected furniture known as ‘frass’, which is caused by the larvae beetles.

The first step to identify active woodworms is to look out for the common signs. If you find neat round holes in your furniture, you can get a hint that the furniture is infected by woodworms. You might also find white powder-like particles inside these holes. These powders like particles look like fine sawdust.

If the woodworm is in its larval stage, it might appear creamy white in color and look like small grubs. But they are so tiny that they are quite difficult to spot. But, if the woodworm has grown to its beetle stage, you might find them to be in brownish-black color and a little bigger than the larvae.

What Attracts Woodworm?

Woodworms are usually drawn to a damp environment. Insufficient ventilation in your home can lead to damp wood and decay inviting woodworms to lay their eggs. Woodworms usually target older and untreated wood over new and young furniture.

If you happen to own furniture that had already been infested by woodworms earlier, it is susceptible to return because the woodworms happily tend to lay their eggs in pre-existing boreholes. Ensure to regularly apply varnish to older furniture items. Also make sure that whenever you bring in any new timber piece to your household, it has been suitably treated with insecticide.

You are unlikely to suffer from woodworm infestation in a dry and warm household because these insects prefer damp and moisture-holding timber over dry woods. Ensure to always purchase high-quality timber doors for your household.

How Does Woodworm Spread?

Woodworm grows from tiny larvae to a fully emerged wood-boring beetle insect. Its life cycle consists of four stages. These beetles are known to have a life cycle of 2 to 5 years. During this time, the larvae hatch and eat the wood under the surface before developing into a beetle.

The whole life cycle of a woodworm gets completed even before most of the property owners even realize that their furniture has been infested. As the larvae stay buried inside the infested wood, there are chances that the wood can dry out even before the larvae have matured into their adult form.

The female woodworms can only lay eggs if that furniture is damp and has a certain moisture level. If this infested goes unnoticed and if the woodworm treatment is not carried out soon, the woodworms start infecting its neighboring wooden area.

How To Prevent Woodworm?

Preventing woodworm from infecting your furniture is far better than the process of woodworm treatment. The woodworms lay their eggs in the holes and cracks on the furniture and not on the external surface of the furniture.

    • Polish your timber regularly

To protect both the old and new furniture pieces in your household, you should regularly maintain and polish your furniture with a protective varnish to prevent the woodworms from laying their eggs. 

    • Keep the surroundings dry:

As long as your home is dry and well maintained, the woodworm infestation if any should remain in the affected area rather than spreading further. 

    • Maintain proper ventilation:

As these woodworms require certain humidity to breed, remove humidity from your household with proper ventilation and heating. This will make your household less attractive to these beetle insects.

Seeking a proper woodworm treatment is the best applicable option to avoid and prevent such circumstances. You can even test the humidity levels in your area with the help of a timber moisture meter. This device can assist in detecting humidity in both the new and old furniture pieces.

How To Get Rid Of Woodworm?

If you are confident that the woodworm infestation is small and you can treat it all by yourself, there is no harm in trying. 

          • Liquid Pesticide:

Use low odor boron-based liquid pesticides to treat the infected areas of the furniture. But, try this method only if the infestation is to a small area and not a larger portion of your furniture. While performing this treatment, keep your kids away from it.

          • Fly Traps:

You can also try to put out fly traps in those rooms that do not receive proper ventilation. These traps might catch some of the adult beetles, but they won’t be able to reach the larvae resting inside the wood. You can always consider the option of hiring an expert in such circumstances.

Both these methods do not penetrate much into the infested wooden surfaces, but if the infestation is minimal they are worth a shot. The longer your self-methods take to work and show the results, the longer time the woodworms will get to breed and multiply.

How To Treat Woodworm?

As different species of woodworms infest different types of timber, the woodworm treatment methods also vary depending upon the scenario. 

            • Gel Treatment:

Some of the species may warrant a gel treatment that is injected into the timber and spread across the surface of the material. 

            • Chemical Spray: 

Another way of treating woodworm in furniture involves exposing the affected areas to a chemical spray that will exterminate the insects upon exit, thus breaking the cycle. If you prefer to choose this treatment, ensure to vacant your premises for at least an hour.  

            • Expert Professional: 

An expert professional will inspect your property thoroughly and figure out the infected areas and provide you with details as to which species of woodworm is present in your household furniture and the best appropriate woodworm treatment for clearing them out.


If you suspect a woodworm infestation, it's always worth asking a trusted professional before attempting any treatment on your own. It is advisable to always take the help of an expert before the beetles multiply and the infestation increases. Get a proper woodworm treatment before the spread of these insects increases and the remaining portion of your furniture also gets infected.


  1. How much does a woodworm treatment cost?

Without a proper survey and inspection of your home, it is difficult to provide you with the exact estimation for woodworm treatment. Each treatment is different from the other as all households are different from one another. Also, the extent of damage also varies and hence repairs and materials differ. You can receive the rough estimate after an expert inspects your property and provides you with a quotation for the treatment.

  1. Is woodworm treatment safe for pets?

It is understandable that many homeowners who own pets worry whether their beloved pets will be safe in this environment or not. While carrying out the wood insects treatment it is recommended that no pet animals like dogs, cats, hamsters, or even fishes are allowed in the woodworm treatment area for roughly around 8 hours after the treatment has been completed.

  1. Do I have to move out during the woodworm treatment?

In most cases, you need not move out of your property while the woodworm treatment is taking place. However, it is recommended that no one stays in the infested area for at least up to 8 hours. If the infestation in your home has spread and you would like to have your whole home treated at one time, we would suggest that you decant the property for the day.


Shabana Kauser is the dynamic owner of Emerald Doors, the famous door-selling company in the UK with immense knowledge and experience in working with architecture, interior design, and home decor. She continues to share tips and technical know-how of balancing interior elements, door fittings, room aesthetics, and the like. Personally, she loves coffee, always dabbling with several blends. 


Author: Shabana kauser

Shabana Kauser, the Director of Emerald Doors, brings over 20 years of invaluable expertise in the door industry. Her visionary leadership has steered the company to new heights, offering an extensive range of internal and external doors while prioritizing quality and customer satisfaction. The website's glowing reviews stand as a testament to her commitment to excellence. To learn more about Emerald Doors, connect with us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.