Woodworm or wood boring beetle is a generic term used to describe an infestation in timber by the wood eating larvae of different species of wood boring beetle of which there are many different types. The beetles thrive in damp conditions and a warm temperate climate with infestations particularly common in enclosed spaces within a property where there is a lack of ventilation such as under the stairs and in the loft.

Whilst it is the adult beetles who lay their eggs on the wood, it is the larvae who tunnel inside the wood so weakening and causing serious damage to the structural timbers within a property as they do so.

A clear indicator of an infestation is the appearance of holes of various sizes within the wood, usually 1mm to 1.5mm in diameter depending on the type of infestation. An active infestation will have dust around the holes with adult beetles sometimes visible particularly in the summer months.


Two common types of woodworm

Common Furniture Beetle -  Once ready to pupate, the larvae will come nearer to the surface of the wood and then break through the surface making small exit holes producing fine wood dust. They only attack timber made from seasoned sap wood and not timber that has come from the heartwood part of a tree. Larvae can bore through timber for 3-4 years growing up to 7mm with an adult beetle growing to 4.5mm.common furniture beetle

Deathwatch Beetle - An adult beetle can be 7mm long with the larvae growing up to 11mm. Their unique characteristic is the tapping sound the adult beetle makes to attract a mate, a sound that can be heard by the human ear. They typically attack oak and elm which is already suffering from fungal decay therefore causing further damage to already weakened timbers.


Survey and Diagnosis

The different types of wood boring beetles and their larvae have different characteristics and require different treatment to stop and control an infestation.

Proten Services qualified surveyors will carry out a full diagnostic survey to identify the type of infestation, if the infestation is still active and assessment of the extent of damage caused to the timbers. A frass analysis can be undertaken where necessary to confirm the exact type of infestation.

They will also evaluate for other possible contributing factors and problems as a result such as reasons for the damp conditions, water ingress points, condensation, ventilation and signs of wood rot and decayed timbers. Reports will contain recommendations for drying timbers where necessary and specifications and estimates for replacing timbers as required to prevent the spread of infestation.


A summary of the treatment solutions Proten Services provide are as follows:

  • Elimination of all water ingress causing the damp conditions
  • Assessment for damp proofing and ventilation requirements
  • Removal and replacement of rotted timbers
  • Treatment of insitu and replacement timbers
  • Application of the appropriate fungicidal spray, timber pastes or dual purpose fungicide and insecticides
  • Timber resin repairs ideal for sympathetic replacement of timbers in historical and listed buildings
  • Monitoring of exit holes to establish level of activity
  • Frass analysis


Our Guarantee

All remedial works are recommended subject to survey from a Proten Services qualified surveyor and are carried out by Proten Services team of technicians to ensure the professional application of treatment.  Our remedial works are protected by our company guarantee with third party insurance backed guarantees are also available.

We are members of the Property Care Association (PCA) as well as being members of CHAS, Construction Line and Trust Mark.

We also offer timber treatment solutions for dry rot and wet rot.


Contact us for help and advice

For further information and advice please contact the Proten Services team: