If you are like me, you may be worried that woodworm can spread from furniture or other wood to your house. In fact for me it was whether it can spread from wood I collected for our log burner. Some of this wood has woodworm holes in it, so initially I was worried about bringing it into our home.
Woodworm won’t spread from furniture or other woodworm infected wood to your house timbers. Woodworm are larvae that hatch from eggs laid by the adult beetle in damp or moist nutritious wood. If the timbers in your home are dry, as they should be if live in a normally heated home, you won’t get woodworm.
How does woodworm start in a house?
Woodworm usually starts in your house if you have high-moisture content in your timbers. Between April and July adult beetles will be looking for somewhere to lay their eggs. If you have damp timbers it’s possible the female beetle will lay her eggs on this damp wood. You can have damp or moist timbers from penetrating damp, condensation or rising damp.
Understanding the woodworm life cycle
Firstly, woodworms are not actually worms. They are instead the wood-eating larval stage of many different species of the woodworm beetle.
- Adult woodworm beetles lay eggs on moist wood between April and July. They normally lay their eggs in the cracks of the wood, allowing the newly hatched larvae to burrow into the wood. At this point you probably won’t know the wood is infected by the larvae.
- The woodworm larvae spend up to five years in this stage inside the wood. The larvae will eat the wood and need the moisture to survive, as this is their only source of water. This is why you won’t find woodworm damage on dry wood. The female beetles won’t lay eggs on dry wood, as they know their larvae won’t survive.
- The larvae pupate (i.e. transform into adult beetles) and burrow their way out of the wood. It is at this stage when you’ll find the tell-tale signs of woodworm. It is when you’ll see the small oval holes that are usually about 1-2mm in diameter. As they emerge from the wood they leave a powdery dust known as frass.
- These newly formed adult beetles will lay more eggs and so the cycle continues. The adult wood boring beetle can fly, but they generally only live for about three weeks.
What time of year do woodworm beetles emerge?
Adult beetles usually emerge from infected timber between May and September. It is at this stage of the woodworm beetle’s life cycle when it becomes noticeable the wood is infected. This is because they bore out of the wood and leave the tell-tale woodworm hole.
Can woodworm be carried on clothes?
Woodworm beetles are unlikely to be carried on clothes. If you had any clothes in close proximity to woodworm infected wood they may contain the dust or frass. This can be washed out on a normal washing cycle. Any beetles emerging from the wood will not remain in the fabric of your clothes.
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