10 Things You Really Need To Know About Woodworm
I have always had a fascination with the natural world. You really need to when your life is all about mediating between Mother Nature and homeowners.
And there is nothing more fascinating than forest dwelling insects coming into our home and taking up residence.
I feel quite sorry for any insect that wanders into our domain unknowingly.
Our first approach is always to ‘GET THEM OUT’, and hope they never return. We overreact to their actual destructive capabilities and in doing so, we let the damp proofing industry loose with their potions of woodworm treatments.
This can range from spraying, brushing, injecting, fogging and sometimes, whole house fumigation. When we have this reaction, it will always come with adverse side effects.
There will always be a kick back from nature in ways we didn’t intend.
In a nutshell, woodworms are the babies of forest dwelling insects. They know no better. The female lays her eggs in a desirable environment that resembles the forest realm.
And this is where we must hold up our hand. As it is us, again, that recreates this environment that they think is their natural home.
So what do you do when you have a woodworm infestation? Do you go for spray treatments?
Or, do you go down the expensive route of showering the little critters in toxic juice and holding on dear to the guarantees that come with this method.
Or, do we move with the time, think about the use of science and take a more low impact, less hazardous rational approach?
These are my top 10 Things You Really Need To Know About Woodworm
- Woodworm in your home is an indicator, alerting you that there is too much moisture, liquid or atmospheric, in that particular area of your property.
- When we ignore damp issues around our homes, we inevitably start to recreate the outdoors, indoors. We raise the moisture contents in all neighbouring timbers so they start to slowly and naturally break down, this is then a cue to the natural world to come in and do their job.
- You can blanket spray insecticides a dozen times, it only goes so far, the humidity is the larger problem, not the insects. They are simply acting as indicators to a greater and more pressing issue in your home.
- All common woodworms cannot survive in dry, well ventilated areas with low wood moisture contents. A dry home is not on their agenda.
- In a nutshell, the sapwood is the new sugary part of the tree in which the woodworm get fat and survive on. When you have a woodworm problem, they will all eat this starchy part of the timber.
- You will know the severity of your woodworm issues if you see signs of lots of fine dust piling up under any timber. Spiders webs full of little black insects. Window sills peppered with insects trying to escape.Or, falling through your wooden floor!
- Paying close attention to the ventilation and extraction pathways should be the way forward for everyone having an issue with woodworm. This is not only cheaper, but also mutually beneficial for insects and homeowners.
- Typically, woodworm treatments consist of pumping chemicals into your home. They may be safer than they used to be, but it is still a chemical insecticide. What would you rather have? Fresh air, or chemicals in your home?
- A wood boring insect’s main predator is the common spider, the daddy long legs will consume as many adult flying beetles and provide a great service to you and your home. Let them do the job they were designed to do. (as seen in the below image.)
- Too much internal humidity and its absorption effect on the moisture content of the surrounding timbers is the principal issue with woodworm. Improve your heating, ventilation and ensure that the property is well maintained and you won’t have any unwanted squatters.
Signature damage left behind from a woodworm infestation does not mean that it is still infested with woodworm.
The woodworm may have died out naturally many years ago due to a depletion in the food source and natural predation. It may also be the case that the wood is now too dry and cannot support the woodworm’s life cycle, so is no longer vulnerable to any future attack.
Thousands of woodworm treatments are specified every year, many of which are simply not needed. Tweaking the environment and monitoring is far more beneficial to everyone, including the natural environment.
If all wood boring insects were not fussy about the wood they infested then all construction timber in buildings, including millions of older ones, would have been entirely eaten away years ago.
Be proactive now, and you’ll be less reactive in the future when you want to sell. I can always help you with this advice and guide you in the right direction. You need a nerd to prevent small issues turning into larger ones.
I am always waiting in the wings if you need any help and assistance with a property issue.
(This is a snap of a spider, Tegenaria, who’d span a web under a woodworm infested piece of oak timber in a client’s basement. On its own ,it has probably killed more common furniture beetles than any spray treatment could have done.)
Dry rot, or Serpula Lacrymans, has been given a huge amount of bad press worldwide. I want to be the one that sticks up for this fascinating and enigmatic underdog. It was us that snatched it out of its native home and transported it over land...