How Does Woodworm Spread?

Dealing with a woodworm problem is never an easy task. If you don’t catch it early enough, the woodworm will spread. Many people don’t know that woodworm will spread if left untreated. Most of us don’t know what the early signs are to look out for. So how does woodworm spread, and how can you deal with woodworm?

If you were to ask a group of people what does woodworm look like, it’s quite likely they will just think it’s a type of worm. Woodworm is in fact a beetle, and it’s the larvae and grubs of these beetles that eat wood as a source of wood. Woodworm also use wood to place their eggs in as part of the woodworm life cycle.

Some woodworm species would prefer to attack wood that has more dampness to it. The most noticeable sign of a woodworm problem is small holes appearing in the surface of the wood. These holes can be between 1 millimetre to 2.5 millimetres.

Woodworm spread quickly and easily. As they spread they cause severe structural and cosmetic damage, if you don’t treat it immediately.


How To Deal With Woodworm

There’s a number of different ways you can deal with a woodworm infestation. Here are our top tips on how to deal with a woodworm issue.


woodworm in wood


The holes aren’t a sign the woodworm have left.

Woodworm make the small holes when they’re burrowing out of the wood. These holes are usually the first thing we notice about a woodworm infestation. However, many people believe that the holes are a sign that the woodworm have left the wood.

It’s a common misconception that the holes mean the woodworm are no longer active. What’s more likely is that the original woodworm have left, but they’ve left their offspring behind in the wood. The best way to see if there is any active woodworm is to look out for their droppings.

Finding their droppings will help you to find out if the woodworms are active or not. The droppings will look like fine sawdust. You will be able to see them around the holes in the infested wood.


Wood doesn’t have to be damp for a woodworm infestation.

Woodworm will thrive in damp conditions, but it isn’t needed for a woodworm problem to happen. So don’t just think because you haven’t got an issue with damp that you’re safe from a woodworm infestation.


old furniture with woodworm


Insecticides aren’t always effective.

Insecticides can be used to treat woodworm infestations, but they’re not 100% guaranteed to work. Applying insecticides on the surface of the wood won’t penetrate to the woodworm.

Surface applied insecticides will penetrate the top one or two millimetres of the wood. It may kill some of the woodworm as they are leaving the wood, but won’t reach the larvae hidden deep inside.


The type of woodworm is important.

Not all species of woodworm are the same. Knowing the different types of woodworm is important. Some beetles prefer old furniture and loft timbers, whilst other like hardwoods.

Any type of woodworm will cause severe damage if you leave it long enough. The longer you leave it undetected, the more damage will happen. This is a key to understanding how does woodworm spread.


Prevention is key.

Once you’ve treated a woodworm infestation, its’ important you prevent another one from happening. You can do this by monitoring the levels of damp and moisture after you’ve had an infestation. Damper wood is more at risk of being attacked by woodworm.


chair infested with woodwormchair infested with woodworm


Call in professional help.

Treating woodworm shouldn’t be something you do on your own. You should get a professional pest controller in to carry out the job. This is because treatment has to be very thorough, and often involves the use of chemicals. If you don’t get the woodworm treated properly, you may experience a mass breakout of woodworm and this will cause severe structural damage.


Don’t panic.  

Woodworm are difficult to treat. Even when you know how does woodworm spread, that doesn’t make it any easier. But if you catch the problem in the early stages, you can deal with it relatively easily. If you don’t, it’s important not to panic. Just get in touch with a local pest controller and get treatment underway as soon as possible.


You may need to get rid of some furniture.

Woodworm often lives in the upper layers of infected wood. This means the surrounding layers often remain untouched. If this happens, it’s possible that the wooden item will still be strong. You can salvage that after you have treated the wood.

However, if the item starts to break and crumble when you touch it, it’s unlikely that after treatment you’ll be able to keep it. The only thing you can do then is dispose of it.

Now you have a better idea of the answer to our original question of how does woodworm spread, it is time to take action. To discuss any problems you may be having with woodworm, get in touch with our team today. Our experts will be able to give you local knowledge on woodworm control in your area.