While sanding down the floorboards in my 104-yr old house, I
discovered that some of the boards had wooworm holes. Other boards
were completely unaffected.
I'm not sure if the woodworm is still active or not. I didn't see any
evidence of woodworm in the joists or in the loft, but I din't look
very carefully. When bought the house, 12 years ago, the surbey
reported wood-boring beetle evidence. I called in a profwssional
woodworm killer. He looked around in the loft and basically said " I
wouldn't worry about it if I were you!"
How serious is woodworm? Not as serious as dry-rot, I think, but how
By how much does woodworm devalue a house by?
All houses of that age have woodworm.
However, they will have died when central heating was installed.
The areas still liable to attack are those outside of the heated
zone, or wood which was already damp.
if you have central heating now . it is a 99.9% chance that those are old
holes from long long ago ... the wood worm is long gone ....and it adds a
quaint rustic charm to your property :-)
you were actually quite lucky that the professional said not to worry .. and
i would echo that ... there are companies out there that would have charged
you an arm and a leg to treat it, knowing it was no longer a problem.
I'm not entirely convinced by this argument. My 1930 house has had CH for at
least 30 years. The floorboards are original and are so dry they seem to have
the same density as balsa wood! And yet there was some active woodworm in some
boards. how do I know...? fresh sawdust and I''ve seen the damn things flying
around the house.
The guy down the road replaced the whole of the downstairs floor and joists
because of woodworm. The subsite concrete was yellow with sawdust and the
floor not strong enough to walk on in some places it was that bad! Was it
active? Yes we found plenty of the worms while breaking up the floor and
throwing it in a skip! The house was heated, although not centrally.
I treated my floor... this hopefully will kill them al off over the next year
I would say that your floor boards need replacing too if this is the case
... it sounds to me like they have some form of rot ... and yes that would
encourage wood worm ....... have you checked under the floor to see if there
is any signs of dampness down there and to see if your underfloor
ventilation is ok? ... if it's damp at all down there then find the cause
and cure it, it might be a blocked or broken drain on your guttering system
. or your air bricks are blocked up, cure it, dry it all out with a heater
under the floor for a few days and replace any flooring that "has the same
density as balsa wood".
IMHO, if you're not finding actual active woodworm (ie dust evidence of new
emergences) then you have little to worry about, as long as they have not
damaged the floor to the extent that it is structurally unsound (ie you can
stick a screwdriver through the boards!)
I sanded our bedroom floor and found exactly what you have found, but with
evidence that they had also been in the joists. The joists were sound, and
I had the boards up to relay them tighter, with some replacements, so whilst
I was at it I gave the joists and undersides of the boards a painting with a
Sanding the boards revealed a labyrinth of tunnels, mostly near the edges of
the boards, but I left them without filling. The boards were darkened with
about 3 coats of danish oil mixed with a spirit based wood dye, and then
varnished with a satin poly finish, and they look fine. The worm highways
merely add to the overall effect, and all looks tremendous.
Wouldn't lose any sleep over it, and as another has said, you were lucky
that the pest pro didn't try to sting you for a precautionary overall house
email me at
richard at olifant d-ot co do-t uk
firstname.lastname@example.org (Frank Watson) wrote in message
The 'biggy' is whether you have active worm or not. They hatch out in
May/June. So, firstly, do any of the exit holes look fresh? - does
the edge of the hole look clean/newly bored? Secondly, if you treat
the exit holes with some wood worm solution, they will turn much
If you have lots of fresh holes treat all affected wood and keep going
til you don't see any more holes - check under floor boards and joists
too. Take boards up about every metre to spray joists and undersides
of boards. If you're not sure whether its active or not, just treat
the holes visible. Next May/June, keep your eyes on things, if new
clean holes are evident then, you need to go back to my previous
suggestion and do the job thoroughly.
If you are going to diy, Screwfix do wood worm solution. You can
spray it on with a garden fertiliser sprayer - the type with a
pressurised bottle and lance.
Wood worm has a 5 year lifecycle. So, even after treatment they will
continue emerging for up to 5 years. The beetle only emerge when
their 5 years of wood chewing is up. They then lay their eggs and
die. The treatment just poisons the surface of the wood, so that new
lavae die when they try to bore into it. There are 2 important
consequences of these facts. Firstly, any infested, but treated
furniture should not be moved outside the treated area until the 5
years are up. Secondly any untreated wooden items should not be moved
into the treated area particularly during the May/June 'emergence
season' - again this can be relaxed after the 5 years.
Dealt with properly, wood worm is not a serious problem, but if active
and allowed to go unchecked, could mean major work replacing infested
boards and possibly joists in the future
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