Woodworm: How to recognise and prevent it?

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  • By Brooke
  • Posted in Woodworm
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Woodworm: How to recognise and prevent it?

Woodworms can do a lot of damage in a short time. Besides not looking nice and probably costing a lot of money, this can also be very dangerous. Now you may think that these small holes can lead to little danger, in many cases the construction of a house for example is also made of wood. The woodworms drill small holes in this wood, which are often just visible to the naked eye. These small holes will be quite harmless at first, but over time they can greatly reduce the carrying capacity of wood. Woodworm loves the softer core of wooden beams and so on, so the damage on the outside cannot be compared to the damage in the core of the wood. In extreme cases, this can cause structures to fail and part of a house to collapse!

Woodworm actually lives in all types of wood. Think for example of the wood of furniture such as dining room tables, cupboards, or chair legs. The woodworms can also live in the supporting beams of your house. Don't forget firewood, the cause of woodworm often comes from bringing in new wood that already has the woodworm in it. Did you know that teak wood is largely insensitive to woodworm? So with teak wood you don't have to be afraid of anything!


It is therefore of great importance to prevent woodworm, to recognize it in time, and to combat it where it has been detected. In this blog, you can read what woodworm is, where it comes from in many cases and how you can recognize, prevent and combat woodworm.


How woodworm looks like

How woodworm looks like


What is woodworm?

You will recognize the small holes. We often find them in the wood of older houses in particular, or for example in beams and timbers that have been left unprotected outside for a long time. In many cases, the small holes look very innocent, but there is more hidden than can be seen on the surface.

Woodworm is a collective name for a large group of insects living in wood. A large part of this group of insects are larvae of, for example, beetles. The small creatures boreholes in the wood for protection and food. The small larvae feed on softer wood which can be found in the middle of a beam for example. It is often thought that woodworm can only be found in dry wood, but this is not entirely true; woodworm can also be found in living trees or in freshly cut wood. It even prefers damp wood.


How do you recognize woodworm?

Identifying woodworm is actually quite simple. You look for holes in the wood, often these holes are about 2-6 mm in diameter. The holes are often close together, but in some cases, there may be only one or a few holes to find. These holes are the exit holes of the beetles that pupate from the woodworms. When the larva is big enough it will transform into a beetle and leave the wood by drilling a way out.


Is the woodworm still active in my wood?

When you have spotted the holes of woodworm it is important to know if the woodworm is still active. If there are a few holes you can easily keep an eye on them by counting how many there are and after two weeks you can check again if more holes have appeared. It is a good idea to mark or fill the holes so that you know for sure which ones you have counted. If new holes appear after a few days, you can be sure that there is still woodworm in the wood.


Are there too many holes in your wood to count, or do you still have doubts? The second way to know if woodworm is still active is to use sawdust. When the beetles drill out, sawdust is produced. In many cases, sawdust can be found on the floor near the holes. Is there nothing to be found on the ground immediately? Then put a white piece of paper or a white cloth under the holes, if the woodworm is still active you will find sawdust on the paper or the cloth after a few days.


How can you prevent and fight woodworm? 5 tips!

Prevention is of course better than cure. However, in many cases, woodworm easily sneaks in. Below you will find 5 tips on how to prevent woodworm in your house.


1. Check all the wood that enters your house thoroughly. Think about second-hand old furniture, but also new furniture. Furniture is often made of wood and is changed regularly. Ideal for woodworm to enter your home. Don't forget firewood. Firewood is an ideal habitat, often left outside and damp.

2. Give wood a protective coating. Varnish and paint provide an extra layer of protection against woodworm and often contain substances that woodworm do not like. By painting or varnishing the wood thoroughly, woodworm will have less chance.

3. Proper maintenance of wood is very effective against woodworm. As mentioned in the previous tip, woodworm loves untreated wood. A well-maintained layer of paint or varnish makes it much more difficult for the beetles to penetrate. Is woodworm already present? Then maintain all the other forms of wood in your interior well, so the woodworm has more difficulty spreading. Also give the wood where the woodworm is, a good coating of paint or varnish. This will also prevent the larvae from spreading further. Is the paint peeling or does the varnish wear off the wood? Woodworm knows how to find these spots and will quickly slip inside.


4. Ensure good ventilation. Woodworm is often found in damp environments. When you ventilate and heat your house properly, moisture will have less chance to enter. In many cases this will also keep the woodworm out.

5. Use agents against woodworm. There are several agents on the market to combat and prevent woodworm. To offer extra protection you can use a woodworm preventive. If woodworm is already present it is better to choose a product to control woodworm. It is best to throw away affected products quickly to make sure they do not spread in your house. If there is a lot of woodworm present, it is better to choose a professional.


A final way to combat woodworm is to freeze or heat the wood firmly for a longer period of time to above 60 °C. Especially for small products, this can be a practical and rather cheap way to fight woodworm.


So have you just bought a new coffee table set or are you about to buy a dining room table? Check them first for woodworm and treat the wood thoroughly with woodworm products so that the woodworm doesn't get a chance.





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