Woodworm larvae are around 0.28 inches long when fully grown and live within timber, feeding and increasing in size as they bore.
They usually are creamy-white, curved, soft skinned, fleshy and covered with short yellowish hairs.
Woodworm is not a specific species of insect, but the wood-eating larvae of wood-boring beetles and weevils that thrive in wooden materials and trees. It is also a generic description given to the infestation of a wooden item by these larvae.
Woodworm insects are known to have between a two and five-year life cycle. Within this time, the larvae will hatch and then eat away the wood under the surface, before re-emerging as beetles, mating, laying more eggs and then finally dying. The life cycle of the wood boring beetle is normally always near completion, before most property owners are even aware they have a problem.
Woodworms tend to attack wood with higher moisture content. Whether it is trees in the forest areas, or dead wood in damp conditions, or any other wooden items that have a high moisture content, they can get damaged by woodworms. For example, an abandoned cabin in a forest area with damp weather conditions is likely to get infested with woodworms.
Woodworm can also be found in any part of the home where there is timber, if conditions exist for the infestation.
Tips for Control
Early woodworm identification is the key to stopping them, before they cause more harm to your property. You may not realize that you have a woodworm problem, until the resulting damage becomes visible.
A fine powdery dust is the insect’s excreta and can often be found around exit holes. If there aren’t any holes, you might notice it escaping from the back or underside of old furniture. This could indicate an active woodworm infestation.
Woodworm infestation is generally controlled with chemical insecticides. However, it is also advisable to investigate and solve possible damp issues, as dry wood is not usually affected, and wood that remains damp may be re-infected at a later date.
If left untreated, woodworm can seriously weaken timber, which may lead to structural failure of timbers.
You can keep infestations away by:
Keeping humidity levels low and ensure good ventilation. A good investment is a timber moisture meter with a probe that inserts into the wood to determine moisture levels. A reading below 12% means a low risk of infestation.
Remove and replace affected wood to avoid woodworm spreading.
Installing ultraviolet insect killers to kill emerging adult beetles.