How do I treat woodworm?

Discussion in 'Carpenters' Talk' started by Sean, Apr 22, 2005.

  1. Sean

    Sean New Member

    I've just bought a new house and found that the floorboards at ground level have signs of woodworm but only the underside, the top of the floorboards have no signs of any holes. I've removed some of the really bad boards and the rest seem to be strong enough so I've left them. Whats the best course of action? A diy manual states that I have to inject the holes every 3-4 inches but this will take forever! Can I just spray or brush it on the whole floor or will I have to remove the floorboards to coat the underside too? I assume I will have to treat the joists too? Lastly whats the best stuff to use. Any advice would be appreciated.
  2. devil's advocate

    devil's advocate New Member

    Hi Sean.

    I'm sure others will have more professional experience and advice for this situation but, to answer a couple of points: you can just spray the whole surface - no need to target individual holes, and I've used SFD's MicroEmulsion Woodworm Killer Concentrate (12848) and found it very good to use.

    It is diluted in water, is low-odour and soaks in really well into the timber. I used a pump-up pressure sprayer with a lance and found it very easy to use. You DO need to wear a mask!!! I cannot comment on how effective it is as a product - I guess I'll know if the little b***ds came back...
  3. diyhopeful

    diyhopeful Active Member


    Is it a NEW house ? or just new to you ?

    It's not too expensive to get a professional in to spray but they do need access under the floors you would get a guarantee though.

    It's worth getting a quote.

    If it is a new house then surely you should have some comeback on the builders ?
  4. Goddo

    Goddo New Member

    Hi Sean

    Woodworm take two to three years to emerge an it sounds as if they have been there sometime. Yep normal for the holes to be on the underside. dd is correct no need to target holes with the water based stuff sounds like the book had got confused with the solvent based stuff for fine furniture.

    The MicroEmulsion Woodworm Killer Concentrate mentioned again by dd contains a low persistence synthetic insecticide; lasts about two weeks and then breaks down safely unlike solvent based stuff.

    Yes you need to treat the underside. Personally I would treat all the woodwork in the house twice at fortnightly intervals.
  5. dunc

    dunc New Member

    This should have been picked up in the survey and subsequently a firm recommended to you. Let the specialists do it. They should do it in one hit.
  6. Goddo

    Goddo New Member

    Sorry meant to say safe to peeps and pets after two weeks!

    Problem with solvent base stuff especially the combined killer and preservative types is the fumes have to go somewhere. Of course The Blue Book applies to everyone so the government says, but anyone here still remember DDT etc.?

    It makes you think!

    NOGGIN New Member


    The life cycle of the common furniture beetle is approx 6 weeks, The adult (small fly) lays it eggs in the timber, the resulting holes are made by the lave eating the timber not worms.

    The best method is to remove as much as practicable if not all of the infested timber.(By this I mean any seriously infested, thus weakened timber).

    Treat all of the remaining timber and go at least 1 metre beyond the last infested area with a suitable water based insecticide.

    (sorry I cant recommend a particular brand, but you only ever get what you pay for)

    Treat any new floorboards or joists before you fix them and you should be fine.
  8. Goddo

    Goddo New Member


    A small fly that lays its eggs IN timber? Where do you get it from mate! Lol.

    Okay listen up ladies and gents Anobium punctatum 101 is about to begin...

    This is the most common of the wood-boring beetles. It is found in furniture-not exclusively in antique furniture as some people imagine-and in the structural timbers of houses. In its natural state it lives in the dead branches of trees, but in populated areas is now more frequently found in housing timbers, furniture and in wooden outbuildings

    The life-cycle of this insect is illustrated here. The adult beetle lays it's eggs, commonly 20-40, but may be up to 80, on end grain or in cracks and crevices in the wood where they are likely to be able to hatch out without being harmed. Hatching takes place in three to four weeks and a small white grub emerges which proceeds to burrow into the wood where it eats and grows for several years, typically three. The wood is digested and is excreted in the form of minute cigar-shaped pellets. (The shape of these pellets is a useful means of identifying the different species of beetles attacking timber).

    The life of the grub continues for a year when, as spring approaches, a change in it's way of life takes place. The grub's borings take it nearer to the surface of the wood, where it hallows out a chamber in which it can change into a pupa or chrysalis.

    It is here that the extraordinary change from grub to beetle occurs. The white grub becomes dormant, it no longer eats and during a period of from two to three weeks it lies in a mummy like form, and gradually assumes all the characteristics of the beetle. One this transformation is completed, the insect bites a round hole in the thin veneer of wood that covers the pupal chamber and comes crawling out on to the surface a small brown beetle. The adult is capable of flying and while it may mate and lay eggs on the piece of wood from which it emerged, it may fly away to lay eggs on another piece of wood and so spread the infestation.

    PS The two things you must never ever do are feed it after midnight or coat it in PVA ay NOGGIN ;)

    NOGGIN New Member

    Gwapple me Gwape nuts Goddo, David Bellamy couldn't have done better.(I know he's a botanist)

    Hats of to you for the excellent and very detailed post.

    I was trying to remember the latin name for the beetle. it has been a lot of years since college, but the point I was trying to make was I belive the adult lives for about 6 weeks, I couldn't remember anything about the grub living so long though, maybe its me age.

    If I remember this correctly the small cigar shaped pellets are called frass! Are you sure about the PVA though?

    Bottom line for Sean though is cut out the ****, treat as much as poss including new timber and he's sorted.

    Regards NOGGIN
  10. Goddo

    Goddo New Member

    Frass, that brings back memories! Lol Have to agree with you on the cutting out NOGGIN The tunnels will be much more extensive that the holes show. Do you remember the old way where every hole was filled with paraffin and turps then sealed with a coat of beeswax NOGGIN? Complete waste of time but at least we never tried to sell a guarantee with it! Lol.

    Now there's an idea; a syringe, small canula and some PVA squirt it down the holes and hey prescott it's glued back together! Hmmm better tell sid... ;)
  11. NOGGIN

    NOGGIN New Member


    I am not sure what they had us treat the timber with, all I can remember is an awful (definitely oil or solvent based) taste, plus it really used to soak into your clothes and skin.

    Could you imagine the precautions needed today, the risk assessment, COSHH assessment, method statement and PPE required just to get the job done.

    Regarding PVA I thought it could solve everything including world poverty, the middle east problem and obesity.

    You should patent your treatment idea though!

    Regards NOGGIN.
  12. Goddo

    Goddo New Member


    Could you imagine the precautions needed today, the risk assessment, COSHH assessment, method statement and PPE required just to get the job done.

    Doesn't bare thinking about does it. All dressed up like an extra from 'Virus' then a couple of days later the customer and their family are backing breathing in the fumes, evaporating it with their central heating, etc all while dressed in muffy of course!

    Even better Wickes now sell solvent based stuff in drums... a bit a blubbery, some nice new trainers and your pikey tarmacman is a chav version of rentokil. Lol.

    You know your right about PVA so many uses why waste it under tiles... The obese, glue their mouths shut... aids, no need for condoms you pontificate just glue their winky/muffs together with PVA... Is there no end to this wonder material?
  13. 4sugarsta

    4sugarsta New Member

    If your damp course is sound just replace the timbers with treated.

    For deeper problems check out

    It's £100, diy, to treat a lot of badly infested timber, borax poison, water-based, drenching rather than atmospheric spray, therefore no more than normal precautions required.

    "normal" :let the wet stuff dry, there's no fumes.
  14. Goddo

    Goddo New Member

    Hi 4sugarsta

    Borax is an inorganic pesticide and a very sound choice as long as the wood can be kepted at a low humidity. In other words -whatever anyone tells you- your home must have good ventilation + no damp otherwise it's a waste of money.

    Think I'll stick to the PVA for now though! Lolololol
  15. 4sugarsta

    4sugarsta New Member

    "Think I'll stick to the PVA for now though! Lolololol "

    Well if you change your mindyou might try rubbing the affected parts with olive oil.

    Actually I've been using the Probor in the attic. But you seem to know a lot about the wee beasties: Does the borax kill them on their way in, or their way out, or just as they're cruising around?
  16. Goddo

    Goddo New Member

    ...if you change your mindyou might try rubbing the affected parts with olive oil

    You will never guess, went to the patient office today and Rentokill have nicked my idea!!!! ;)

    Does the borax kill them on their way in, or their way out, or just as they're cruising around?

    Borax is a mineral (Hence inorganic. DDT is an organochloride) I don't think you really want the gory bits just an outline don't you?

    When it is used as a insecticide the insect ingests the borax and the moisture in the insect activates it; death is inevitable unlike most organic types where the insects build a natural resistance. Borax is used with a bait to entice the victim-for cockroaches and ants sugar for example. In you case it is the lava that feed on the wood so it is not important to get full penetration but complete coverage as it eats its way in from the surface. As NOGGIN said if the wood is badly holed replace don't treat, the tunnels will have damaged the wood.

    Now the downside. Borax is partially water soluble (think dispersible asprin. Lol) and will leach from the wood in less than a year if it gets to damp. It will also break down into the relatively harmless boron in about ten years faster if its excessively wet.

    I hope you were given proper H&S advise with it. Borax will cause contact dermatitis and respiratory probs if your not careful.

    Is this what you were after or do you want more of the entomology stuff. Lol I get the feeling I might wind up a few peeps if I don't keep my postings tight you see.
  17. 4sugarsta

    4sugarsta New Member

    Thanks for that, Goddo. I guess that means the beasties alredy in there will be ok till they come out, while new infections are doomed, doomed.

    Just wore a mask and overalls, took a shower after. There's a bit more to do, so if you think that's inadequate do tell. Used a pump-action drenching spray.
  18. Dewy

    Dewy New Member

    Borax and sugar in solution is what Nippon ant killer is.
    The ants eat the syrup, take it back to the nest to feed the others and its goodbye ants.
  19. Goddo

    Goddo New Member

    Your welcome 4sugarsta

    Yep that's about it.

    Mask and overalls are good and in the case of borax so is the shower. If you only have a bit to do wear the cheapy marigold type gloves (35p I think!) and some good googles (indirect vent type) If your drench is working well shouldn't be any mist so a minimum of FFP2 (protection rating) mask should be okay. If you use the paper type throw them after four hours use and at the end of each job. (FFP3 is the minimum for use as a fungicide because of the spores).

    One last thing not positive of where you are (I've guessed your Scottish. Lol) but you may have to take the left overs to a council site for disposal so check before you bin it.

    Nippon ah yes Dewy; picnics on the lawn just about to eat when out came the Nippon all over everything! Lol grandmother never realised they had to eat the stuff first. She would sprinkle it round like a magic ring protecting us from the evil that is the ant! Lolololol
  20. WoodwormTreatmentHQ

    WoodwormTreatmentHQ New Member

    Hi everyone,

    I bought a piece of furniture a few months ago with woodworm and it really felt like there wasn't a good online resource learning more about woodworm and how to treat it.

    I've made a site with some content about woodworm treatment on it I thought maybe anyone stumbling upon this would be interested in, so I'd love to hear your feedback.   

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