What are they?
Furniture beetle or woodworm, as it is more commonly known, occurs in domestic properties and is the result of the larval stage or woodworm boring through the wood as it feeds.
Although not a public health hazard, it can cause significant damage within the home, infesting wooden furniture, picture frames and the timbers that support the house. In severe cases it could cause structural damage and lead to the property becoming unsafe.
Adult furniture beetles are unable to fly very far but can enter properties through open windows, on washing or old furniture/timber that has used in a previously infested house and then reused.
Female beetles lay their eggs, which are not visible to the naked eye, in the crevices of timber. As the two to four years lifecycle comes to an end the larvae pupates and turns into a beetle, which bites through the timber creating the small round exit holes that we all associate with the presence of woodworm.
Typical signs might be:
- New exit holes in timber surfaces which resemble small dart holes
- Dead beetles collecting on window sills or be seen flying about in May or June.
- Powdery dust (frass) around holes or on the ground.
- Crumbling edges to boards and joists.
- Damaged or week floor boards / wood (if the floor is giving way this could indicate a serious problem).
A few simple precautions can help prevent the problem:
- If you are buying second hand furniture or picture frames ensure you check for any signs of woodworm before bringing it into your home.
- In damp areas such as bathrooms, ensure you keep the areas well ventilated and dry, as furniture beetles like damp wood.
- If you suspect that a piece of furniture or non-structural timber is infested with woodworm, remove it as a matter of urgency, to prevent the woodworm spreading.
- Use a chemical preserver to treat any new timber or buy pre-treated tantalised timber.
Can I treat them?
If you suspect a woodworm problem, you should always seek professional advice as an infestation could be far worse than it first appears and treatment could be required in inaccessible areas.
If the infestation is minor or localized then it would be possible to treat the problem yourself and chemical sprays* which can be found in most DIY and Garden Centres.
Woodworm in furniture is treated by injecting woodworm fluid directly into the open holes/galleries the adults make when they emerge.
Untreated wood can be painted with the fluid to protect it further.
Always seek professional help and advice due to the severe complications which can arise when dealing with an infestation.
*Always refer to the product instructions BEFORE use and follow these at ALL times.
Last Updated on Wednesday, October 19, 2022