Woodworm / furniture beetle infestation - what to do?

A few properties I maintain have infestations of furniture beetle, varying in degree from small areas to two or three rooms.
I have a few questions about the spread of infestations and eradication of them.
How do they get in the property in the first instance? Obviously infected timbers or furniture brought into a property can introduce an infestation but can they be brought in underfoot or on clothes (if someone is working in an infested property) for instance?
Is there a risk I could take these furniture beetles home on my clothes, footwear and coveralls and infest my own home by working in an infested property? How can I best prevent taking the furniture beetles home if such a risk does exist?
The general debris from the properties are cleaned out with brush and shovel and commercial vacuum cleaner. Can the furniture beetles, their larvae etc be transferred in the brushes or vacuum cleaners? Is there something that can be applied to brushes and/or put in a vacuum cleaner bag to kill off any beetles or their young if they do get in?
The Anobium punctatum's main source of food is wood. Do they also eat paper, food scraps? What else are they partial to?
Obviously in the more infested properties timbers will have to be replaced and a commercial firm called in to spray. In the smaller infestations is there a commercial off the shelf chemical (one that doesn't require special licensing to purchase) that can be sprayed, painted or applied otherwise oneself, with proper safety precautions of course?
Are there sprays, powders or chemicals that act hormonally to prevent breeding as per flea spray?
Most properties are empty, unfurnished and uncarpeted.
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Z
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The adult beetles can fly, so they fly to the house, get in through some thing like an air brick and lay their eggs. However many beetles are tropical and come here in exotic furniture timbers, emerging from the finished piece in nice centrally heated environments. They can then only spread within the warm space of the property. If your properties are empty and unheated at this time of year, chances are everything will be dormant. Just don't take any wood from infested properties home and sit it in your heated house.

I suppose you could sit in your car with the windows closed and spray insecticide before returning home but the insecticide will affect you too. I wouldn't worry about it.

well the young are in the wood, the holes are their exit holes made as they emerge as adults, so you are very unlikely to have live grubs in your vaccuum and if you did they would be smothered by the dust, ditto any adults. But if you are worried, dispose of the bag before returning home.

You want the specialised paper feeders for that one, consult a librarian's group for lots of gruesome stories there.

Yes, the sheds carry such things. Though if you are contracting someone to treat the structure of the building they would doubtless quote for furniture as part of the job.
Peter
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Peter Ashby wrote
snip very useful & informed advice

No, they only eat wood. and generally they're quite picky about what type of wood, too. Both softwood and hardwood can be affected, but they prefer sapwood to heartwood. Because of this you very rarely see serious damage to structural timbers caused by Common Furniture Beetle (House Longhorn Beetle is a different story).. Chipboard and plywood are very vulnerable as they are largely made of sapwood. I once saw a big old house where all the electrical intake gear was hanging on its wires because the ply backboards had all been turned to dust by woodworm.
You cannot transfer an infection, except by moving infected timber. The adult beetles emerge from the flight holes from late May to early August and live about 3 - 4 weeks. They don't eat anything, but are strong fliers and can travel long distances. After mating the female lays her eggs in cracks, crevices and old flight holes in suitable timber and then dies. The larva hatch after about 4-5 weeks and then start boring galleries in the wood, gradually growing in size. Eventually they form a pupal chamber near the surface and emerge as beetles after 6 - 8 weeks and the life cycle starts all over again. The whole cycle can be as short as a year, but more often is up to 4 years.
The best DIY treatment I know of is Cuprinol Woodworm Killer http://tinyurl.com/3g3e8 All infected timber taken out of the house should ideally be burned.
Peter
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of
Thought that "bookworms" were also the larvae of the common furniture beetle, i.e. woodworm?

structural
much bigger oval flight holes for that one, I believe & particularly a problem around Camberley. My father was quite excited at first when we came across a common longhorn beetle in my garden crawling over some dead timber from a shrub I was removing.

<snip>
The old woodyard trick for keeping woodworm problem to a minimum was to leave some Ash in the corner of the yard and burn it periodically. they like Ash...
-- Richard Sampson
email me at richard at olifant d-ot co do-t uk
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I fear I have taken them home so I will need to treat my house as well :-(
I found castings, tiny sand coloured insects and dead beetles under the fridge this morning when I pulled the refrigerator out to clean and defrost it. These are the same species I have found at the properties I maintain.
I will need to treat my own house myself. Any recommendations for chemicals? I can get out the house for a week in May.
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Z
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First find out if you have woodworm or something else.

That doesn't sound like woodworm. They are small black flies which usually head for the nearest window and kill themselves flying into the glass.

Woodworm only thrive in cool damp places where timber is already rotten or soft. I trust your properties are better maintained than this?

If it is woodworm, simply drying it out and removing any soft or rotten timber will get rid of them.

You could try the method that has been used for hundreds of years. Take a bit of green ash, complete with the bark. Leave it in the house for a year, and burn it on the 31st December, complete with woodworm larvae.
J.
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John Rouse

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Z wrote:

Start here:-
http://www.onthelevel.in-uk.com/timber-treatment.htm
--
Cheers,

John.

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I think you'll find that he's wrong in his general assumption - very much so!
Central heating doesn't dry out the roof space, the beneath ground-floor space, it's only on for half the year and he completely ignores the fact that timber in bathrooms (for instance) can easily absorb enough moisture from the atmosphere to happily support these little beasts.
I believe he also spouts similar nonsense about the non-exstence of rising damp. It pays his wages though :))
Patrick

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I totally agree. Common Furniture Beetle doesn't only attack damp timber and it does not prefer newly felled trees. How does he think it got its name? It attacks furniture!!!
He's also wrong about Dry Rot. Dry rot is so called because (A) it requires drier conditions than wet rots and (B) it transports its own moisture and attacks dry timber. That's why it is necessary to eradicate it, not just cut off the source of moisture as he says. This is true only of wet rots. And to say it was named "Cancer of Buildings" by a treatment company salesman is also wrong. It is described in the Bible (Leviticus 14 vs. 33-57) as a "fretting leprosy of the house", from the appearance of the water droplets, like tears, that form on the fruiting body.
I agree with most of what he says about double glazing, plastics and wall coatings though. This bit intrigued me: "There is growing evidence that plastic pipes leach chemicals into the drinking water which can make men infertile."
Peter
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He's also wrong about Dry Rot. Dry rot is so called because (A) it requires

Not actually true. You don't often find Dry Rot for instance as a result of rising damp. It needs quite a fair amount of water to get started. When it's off and running it can do with less...
(B) it transports its own moisture and attacks dry timber.
It certainly does...
That's why it is necessary to eradicate it, not just cut

If you remove the water source, it will die eventually, as will all rots. It transports moisture via it's hyphae from the moisture source to dry wood and continues from there. If the source dries up however, so does the rest of it. It can't manufacture water from the atmosphere.
It is described in the Bible (Leviticus 14 vs. 33-57) as a "fretting

I didn't know that - quite fascinating. I know it's latin name, Serpula Lacrymans, alludes to tears but I haven't read Leviticus for quite a while (well, never actually):))

I think he's one of these people who need a large pinch of salt.
Regards
Patrick

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Meoww wrote

Yes, that's my experience too. Poor wording on my part. The largest outbreak I ever saw ocurred behind wall panelling in a historic house following a fire - there wasn't a great deal of damage due to the fire, but the water from the fire brigade's hoses took months to dry out properly. And when the walls were virtually dry (c. 22%) there suddenly appeared a mass or mycelium. This was despite opening up as much panelling etc as we could to ventilate and assist drying.

I'm not sure this is true. I believe it can survive for hundreds of years in a dry state. I also read somewhere that it survives in humid air, without any other obvious moisture source. If you have any research papers or information on that I would be very pleased to know.
In practice, of course, it is very hard to cut off every source of dampness, especially in old buildings. And nobody whose livelihood depends on advising clients or carrying out a dry rot eradication service is going to be able to say "OK, now I've cut off all the moisture it needs no further treatment."
Also current research on treating by ventilation is inconclusive in my view - certainly not conclusive enough to be able to recommend it to clients. Good ventilation stunts its growth, but it then tries to "escape" from the fresh air and move to less ventilated places. It can even spread in places that can't be ventilated, like behind plaster, and I've heard of cases of it getting through solid brickwork.
Peter
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Most fungi can survive as spores for considerable periods of time. The dry rot spores are everywhere in the atmosphere, so there is no way to eradicated them. They are there for a purpose - to break down dead wood, mainly in forest-floor conditions. The unfortunate thing is that people tend to try and recreate these conditions in their homes by increasing the humidity and reducing the ventilation, urged on my government "Energy Efficiency" programmes.

However a number of the better informed consultants are now saying "The ventilation is now sufficient to prevent future growth".

Indeed in our house it had grown between the plaster and the brickwork, but once the wall had been dried out the dry-rot died.
I have also seen if cross a twenty foot (enclosed) pipe bridge, carrying its own water supply, but once the source of moisture was removed and the ventilation improved it withered and died.
J.
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John Rouse

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If you cut out the source of moisture, where is it going to carry its water from?

No it isn't. I can't really believe you are what you claim to be when you are so clueless. However I can believe you get much of your income from the timber treatment lobby, as you have clearly swallowed their stories hook, line and sinker.
J.
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There is extensive dry rot in Brighton Pavilion but they cannot do as you suggest (remove it)- all they do is carefully maintain the temperature and humidity.
--
Andrew

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Meoww wrote:

I get the feeling that he "over eggs" the argument a little for dramatic effect (as you say it pays the wages). Having said that I think he is right that many people assume the little blighters will eat the whole house if unchecked. Perhaps he ought to say they will just eat the bathroom! ;-)

What he seems to say about rising damp is that it is very rare to find genuine rising damp - and is often mis-diagnosed when the real reason is more likely to be some other source of dampness (penetration, bridging etc). He also suggests that the "damp" treatment industry is full of cowboys.... no sure he is going to get much disagreement there.
ISTR that there was a university research project that attempted to study "rising damp". It involved building lots of brick (and other materials) piers which were then sat in a shallow tank of water. They then measured the moisture content drawn up into the pier. The general conclusions were that it was actually quite difficult to get much moisture to rise in most common building materials. They did manage it by using a very soft brick with a mortar of very nearly plain sand with a bit of lime though.
--
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John.

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This presumes there may not be actiove 'woodworm'. A few weeks ago I saw a larvae seemingly munching away at the pastry board. There are castings, live beetles and dead beetles under the sofa and armchair and some in a bedroom.
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Z
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Only damp wood I think.
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stuart noble wrote

No that's not right Stuart. Anobium punctatum is the Common Furniture Beetle or "woodworm", which attacks dry wood. The commonest beetles that attack only damp wood are the family of Weevils
Peter
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Peter Taylor wrote in message ...

Beetle or

Oh! Bit of a rarity these days though. I'd always attributed that to the dryness of our houses. Had a cabinet once where the body was untouched but the relatively new ply back was full of worm. Maybe they like adhesive too.
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You may find something in my reply to a previous thread on this topic:
http://groups.google.co.uk/groups?hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&threadm?4608fb.1514812%40news.cis.dfn.de&rnum=2&prev=/groups%3Fq%3Dwoodworm%2Bgroup:uk.d-i-y%26hl%3Den%26lr%3D%26ie%3DUTF-8%26group%3Duk.d-i-y%26selm%3D3f4608fb.1514812%2540news.cis.dfn.de%26rnum%3D2
Regards
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