Lifecote have been treating woodworm infestations for over 14 years and have safe environmental solutions to all species of woodworm.
The life cycle of the Woodworm starts as a batch of approximately 20 - 60 eggs laid in small groups within cracks, crevices, joints and unprotected wood areas. The eggs can be seen by the naked eye as an oval pearl shape and after about five weeks they begin to hatch, with the larvae emerging from the base of the egg and immediately commencing to tunnel their way into the wood.
The woodworm larvae (greyish-white in colour) spends its entire life (approximately 2 - 5 years) eating up and down the grain of the wood, in colder weather the rate of tunnelling may be considerably slower than in warmer weather. Around spring time when the larvae are due to mature it will start to bore towards the outside of the wood, stopping just short of the surface, where it will build a pupa chamber and change into a chrysalis.
After about 6 - 8 weeks the chrysalis opens to allow the adult Woodworm beetle to emerge. After a period of resting to allow the hardening of the shell, wings and etc. the beetle (brown in colour) will bite its way out into the open air, leaving behind an approximate 1.5mm diameter flight hole. The adult fly can start mating within hours of emerging and has a life span of 2 -3 weeks. The female fly will lay her eggs and again the life cycle has started and will continue.
There are three common types of woodworm in this country these are:
The House Longhorn Beetle (Hylotropes bajulus)
The house Longhorn Beetle is principally found in roof timbers where it attacks the sapwood of exclusively softwood timbers often resulting in structural weakness. The holes and tunnels of this beetle are significantly larger than the furniture beetle. Treatment for this beetle is highly specialist and Building Societies will insist on a specialist company if structural timber has been affected.
The Deathwatch beetle (Xestobium rufuvillosum)
The Deathwatch Beetle attacks large hardwood timbers such as Elm and Oak. The beetle, having started in hardwoods like these may move across to neighbouring softwoods in a kind of feeding frenzy! This beetle much prefers very damp conditions and even better when there is some kind of fungal decay or "wet rot" in the timbers. The beetle needs these conditions to develop rapidly. Treatment, as with the others, can be done in the form of a paste, spray on application or paint on preservative. It is strongly suggested that you call in a specialist such as Lifecote if you think you have Deathwatch Beetle.
The Furniture Beetle (Annobium punctatum) & Wharf borer
Furniture Beetle adults are very small and brownish in colour with an almost cylindrical body. The thorax is typically arched to form a hood, which almost conceals the head, and they have medium length unclubbed antennae. The larvae of different species of furniture beetle are very difficult to distinguish between; but, they are all soft, curved, have very small legs, and are known collectively as woodworm.
The frass (dust) from the borehole consists of lemon shaped-gritty pellets. Adults emerge from timber in the spring and early summer. Eggs are laid into crevices immediately after mating. Sawed ends of manufactured timber are an example of a typical oviposition site. Females lay around 30 eggs in small groups. Emergence will occur 2 - 4 weeks later, when the young larvae will bore into the timber. Full life cycle indoors takes between 2 and 4 years. Final instar larvae will tunnel toward the surface and construct a pupation chamber near to the surface. Adults emerge, completing the cycle leaving a characteristic bore hole and gritty powder in the vicinity of the hole.
Wharf borers vary in length from 7-12mm and are rather soft in texture. They are yellowish brown in colour but their wing tips are black. The antennae of the male has 12 segments, whilst the female has 11 segments. The eyes, sides of the thorax, legs and ventral parts are blackish, and the whole body is covered with dense yellow down.
The furniture beetle is a very common timber and furniture pest and is, or was, present in the majority of houses. The adult beetle emerges during the summer months after eating its way out of the timber through circular flight holes. It is at this point that wood dust falls out of the timber. The beetles can fly, and only live for a couple of weeks. Shortly after emergence from the wood they mate, and the eggs are laid in crevices on the end grain or on unplaned timber - often in old exit holes. While the larvae prefer softwoods and can live in hardwoods, they do not attack the heartwood.
The Wharf borer larvae do not attack sound timber, instead they will only attack timber that is damp and has started to decay. They do not bore definite sized or shaped galleries but tend to work indeterminate spaces that are plugged here and there with long torn fibres of the wood. Again infestations tend to take place in softwoods but occasionally in oak. They also thrive in pilings and in structural timber in damp cellars.
The furniture beetle, woodworm and wharf borer have no impact on public health and are simply a household pest on the grounds of nuisance and distruction. The wharf borer only attacks rotten wood and not sound timber but the furniture beetle can cause far more damage. Neither insect will attack the heartwood.