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Woodworm holes found in timber are caused by the larvae of beetles that feed on the timber.
Larger holes on the surface of the timber are formed when the adult beetle emerges from the timber to mate.
There are a number of species of woodworm, and the precise method of treatment will depend on which species is attacking the timber.
By far the most common species of woodworm in the UK is the Common Furniture Beetle (Anobium punctatum).
This species can be identified by the small, round holes that are left on the surface of the timber (approx. 1.5 - 2mm diameter) and the "gritty" bore-dust that it leaves behind (showing up as lemon-shaped pellets under magnification).
In most cases treatment of Common Furniture Beetle is fairly straightforward. Any structurally-weakened timber should be removed and replaced with pre-treated timber. All surfaces of the affected timber should then be sprayed with an appropriate woodworm treatment.
Other types of woodworm common to the UK include the Deathwatch Beetle (Xestobium rufuvillosum), the House Longhorn Beetle (Hylotrupes bajulus), and the Powderpost beetle (Lyctus brunneus). Whilst the Powderpost Beetle can be treated in much the same way as the Common Furniture Beetle, House Longhorn and Deathwatch beetle infestations require more extensive treatment.
The main problems encountered when treating woodworm are identifying the species involved, deciding whether the infestation is still active, and deciding which timbers have been structurally weakened and need replacing. All of these factors will influence the type of treatment carried out (if any). For this reason, we would recommend that a survey is carried out by our experienced timber treatment specialist whenever an active woodworm infestation is suspected.