This can depend on a variety of things; from the structural integrity of the property, how it was constructed to even the items you furnish it with…
Any age of building can be attacked by woodboring beetles. The conditions need to be suitable and whilst some species can infest fresh timber, others need it to age 20 years or more.
It’s a common misconception that woodworm only affects older properties; in fact specific species can just as easily cause damage to newly constructed buildings. The wooden timbers (joists or beams), furniture or floorboards could be infected with eggs or larvae without it being visible. You may not notice a woodworm infestation for several years, as the larvae stay hidden within the timber until they pupate into adult beetles.
Woodboring beetles prefer timber with a moisture content of about 12% or above, and will infest any suitable timber that fits the need of that species. So whatever age, size, style or shape of property you have – if it contains damp wood, then woodboring beetles will find it more attractive. Simply a lack of ventilation in the loft space, basement or other enclosed space within an otherwise dry property can lead to problems with dampness and wood decay.
Woodworm can sometimes be brought into a property inadvertently, in second-hand furniture, tea chests, wooden antiques or wicker-work. Some species of woodboring beetle are also quite capable of flying in through a window from nearby dead or decaying trees. The beetles may then attack items such as floorboards, panelling, skirting boards, joinery (and more seriously) structural timbers such as rafters and joists.
Checking for signs of woodworm
There are some signs of a woodworm infestation you may notice:
- Fresh exit holes in timber – round or oval shaped with sharp edges, the holes will appear clean and fresh
- Bore dust – (also known as frass) caused by emerging adult beetles, usually visible below the infested timber
- Dead beetles – usually found near the infested timber or around nearby windowsills
- Tunnels in the wood – which look like ‘galleries’ in the timber if the surface is exposed
- Crumbling wood – around corners or edges to roof joists or floorboards
However, being able to tell if the woodworm infestation is an active problem can be tricky. The safest option is to allow a Certificated Surveyors in Remedial Treatment (CSRT) to complete a woodworm survey; assessing the extent of the problem, the type of woodworm involved and if required, recommending the most effective, targeted treatment to eliminate the infestation before it can spread any further through a property.