Damp and Timber Specialists for 50 years

Is the wood in your home looking a bit worse for wear? There might be a tiny culprit to blame: woodworms. These pests feed on timber, burrowing through it and causing untold damage to the internal structure. If you don’t catch them in time, they could leave you with a repair bill in the hundreds or even thousands. 

Luckily, that’s where woodworm surveyors (like the pros at Prokil) come in. They have the know-how to quickly detect a woodworm infestation, determine how bad the damage is, and destroy the pests permanently. They can also take measures to protect your home from future recurrences, so you can have total peace of mind. 

Every infestation is different, but most surveyors follow a similar routine to find the problem and the best way to fix it. We’ve laid out the key steps they’ll follow below, so you can have a good idea of what to expect when they visit your property. 

How do surveyors detect woodworm?

Typically, a surveyor will employ a multi-pronged approach to identify woodworm. Here are the main steps they’ll take: 

     1. Visual inspection 

Firstly, a surveyor will thoroughly inspect your property for signs of woodworm activity. These include:: 

  • Small, round holes in the wood, typically around 2 mm wide. These are exit holes created by adult beetles emerging. 
  • Piles of fine wood dust (called frass) near the holes. This is a telltale sign of recent woodworm activity. 
  • Crumbling wood, which could be a sign of significant damage from woodworm. 
  • The presence of adult beetles themselves (though less common) 

The good news is that a basic inspection usually doesn’t require moving any furniture or removing surfaces. However, if the infestation is severe or hidden (like under carpets), a more thorough look might be needed. 

     2. Moisture detection 

Woodworms can be found in many places, but they thrive best in damp environments. After the visual inspection, your surveyor will typically use a moisture metre to identify areas with high moisture content, a potential breeding ground for woodworm. This step is especially important because it can also reveal if you’re dealing with issues like rising damp, penetrating damp, or condensation. These can lead to rot and mould, which can harm your home’s structure and, in the case of mould, pose a risk to you and your family’s health. 

     3. Sound testing 

In some cases, your surveyor may also tap on the wood to reveal hollowness caused by woodworm burrowing. While not definitive, it can raise a red flag for further investigation.

How can you tell if there are woodworms under your carpet?

Detecting woodworms under carpet can be tricky since they’re typically hidden from view, but there are several signs you can watch out for. Some of these can be seen without touching anything, but others will require you to lift the carpet and look underneath it:

  • Exit holes: Look for small, round holes (usually 1-2 mm) in wooden skirting boards, furniture legs, or exposed floorboards.
  • Frass: This is the fine, powdery wood dust produced by woodworm larvae as they tunnel through the wood. You might find it around holes, on the floor near infested areas, or even under the carpet itself. Old, inactive frass might be darker and crumblier.
  • Tunnels: In severe infestations, you might see shallow tunnels in the wood surface.
  • Live or dead beetles: Occasionally, you might spot adult woodworm beetles near infested areas. They’re small, brown, and about 3-5 mm long.
  • Uneven carpet: If the woodworm damage is significant, the carpet might feel uneven or springy in affected areas.
  • Tiny carpet holes: In rare cases, woodworm larvae might chew through the carpet backing, leaving tiny holes.

What happens after the woodworm survey?

Once a woodworm infestation is confirmed, the surveyor will recommend the most effective treatment plan based on the severity and type of woodworm. Here are the two most common methods: 

  • Chemical treatments: Insecticides applied by spraying or injection directly target and eradicate woodworm larvae and adult beetles. 
  • Heat Treatments: In extreme cases, professional heat treatment can raise the core temperature of the wood to a level lethal to woodworm at all life stages. 

The damaged wood will usually need to be replaced. Your treatment team may also recommend a preservative treatment be applied afterwards to prevent damage and keep your home woodworm-free. 

Trust Prokil for expert woodworm surveys and treatment

Worried about woodworm? Prokil’s team of experienced surveyors have a proven track record of identifying and eradicating woodworm infestations. We use the latest detection techniques and have the expertise to keep these destructive pests out of your home, so you can be confident that your house is safe for you and your family. 

Our damp, mould, and woodworm services cover much of the South, including Dorset, Hampshire, Wiltshire, Devon, Sussex, Kent, Surrey, south Wales, London, and many more locations. You can discover some of the many cases we’ve treated in the past by reading through our case studies. 

Don’t let woodworm go from nuisance to nightmare. Book a survey online or call us on 0800 048 9488, and let us protect your home for years to come!

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