Woodworm: The 3 Biggest Hitters in the UK
We’ve all heard the stories about termites – those little creatures that have, on countless occasions, brought whole buildings crashing down due to their destructive nature. Fortunately, the UK has had exceptionally few reports of these attacks – although that doesn’t mean to say that your home is completely safe.
Termites might be the most serious beetle out of the lot, but there are plenty others that regularly target houses in this country. All it takes is a bit of neglect, intentional or unintentional, and they’ll be munching on your furniture and more importantly structural timber before you even realise.
Fortunately, the defect has become a little more understood over the years and experts now have plenty of symptoms to pass onto homeowners in a bid to diagnose the correct type of beetle infestation. Additionally, once the problem has been pinpointed, looking for a wood filler to disguise the damage is now much easier with numerous retailers providing such products.
Bearing the above in mind, we’re now going to take a look at the three most common beetles that like to infiltrate your property’s timbers. As you’ll soon see, each leaves different signs and some are regarded as being much more damaging than others…
Common Furniture Beetle
While the initial intention was not to put this list in any particular order, the Common Furniture Beetle should probably be mentioned first as it is the most common (surprise, surprise) of the lot. Unfortunately, despite what its name might indicate, its damage isn’t reserved for just your wooden furniture and it can quite easily make its way towards any hardwoods or softwoods that it comes into contact with. As such, structural timbers are still at risk.
One of the biggest telling signs that this beetle leaves is that it runs along the grain. Additionally, if you see any dust left behind, it’s likely to be very loose and almost of a gritty texture. If the beetle has already bored significant holes in the timber, they are generally between 1.5m and 2mm in diameter.
Unfortunately, this isn’t generally a problem that goes away quickly. The average lifespan for the Common Furniture Beetle is over three years, meaning that you need to act as soon as you see any of the above symptoms.
It might not be quite as common as the species mentioned previously, but the general consensus is that the Deathwatch Beetle causes even more damage. Unfortunately, it’s another which can target absolutely anything made out of timber – meaning that those timber beams are most definitely in its range.
The nature of the Deathwatch Beetle means that it usually has to be treated by specialist teams. Therefore, if you do see timbers with deep tunnelling in, there’s every chance you’ll have to recruit the experts. The tunnels are usually 3mm in diameter and round, but the main sign probably relates to the dust that they leave behind. Unlike many other beetles, the Deathwatch leaves small pellets behind and this makes the diagnosis a doddle.
To make matters even worse, this isn’t a beetle that will go away after a full months. Given the right conditions, it’s not uncommon for many to live beyond four years. Additionally, just because you only see several of the exit holes – don’t think that the problem will be a simple one to resolve. The Deathwatch Beetle has the habit of doing most of its tunnelling inside the timber and the exit holes don’t often give a true reflection of the damage they have made.
House Longhorn Beetle
The final type we’re going to look at is the House Longhorn Beetle and if you are unlucky enough to suspect that this has infiltrated your timbers, you could be set for an expensive job.
The fact that exit holes can be up to 9mm in diameter says everything you need to know about the damage these beetles can make. Even if you still can’t diagnose the problem (unlikely, as few beetles leave any sort of holes that are this size), then the ‘sausage’ pellets should give the game away.
As you may expect, they will absolutely tear away timber and in some cases it’s not unheard of for just a small portion of the original material to remain. They can prompt buildings to fall down and again they’re there for the long haul (perhaps that was given away in the name), with most living for over four years again.
The good thing, if you can call it that, is that the House Longhorn Beetle is quite localised. It generally affects properties in the South East of the country, although if you don’t reside here don’t immediately think that you’re out of jail as there have been reports, albeit on a smaller scale, in other areas of the UK.