Woodworm fact

The most common misconseption about woodworm is that the holes you see are where they got into the wood…..WRONG, the entry holes are microscopic or invisible as the larvae can enter through minute holes naturally within the timber. The holes you see are exit holes where the mature adult has left the timber to find a mate. And guess what, every hole is for an individual beetle!

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Is this to be a bumper year for woodworm

woodworm beetle

Here they come

Statistics have shown increased woodworm activity was noted during 2005. After the eggs of anobium punctatum (common furniture beetle) have been laid, the larvae burrows into the timber, it then takes 3  to 5 years for the larvae to fully develop and a further year or so to burrow back out, therefore  this year (sixth year since 2005) could potentially see a much larger crop of emerging insects than usual.

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Damp patches or areas on your wall?

If you suspect dampness on a wall in your house, one of the first things you should do is to check the outside of the wall and make sure their is nothing bridging your damp proof course. Common problems include;- Flower beds, driveways or paths installed at the wrong level (usually on top of an old path thus raising the level) and rubbish/items stacked against the wall. You should also look for defective rainwater goods i.e. gutters or downpipes causing water to run down the front of your property every time it rains.

Often it is something simple causing he problem and it can be resolved at little or no cost!!!

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Its like locking the prison doors after a jailbreak

When you find woodworm holes you are looking at the places where the beetles have exited the timber, that means the beetle has gone and if you try to treat the hole you are wasting your time, as the title suggests.

You cannot see woodworm when it is in the timber without a microscope, if you do see anything it is most likely to be the beetle as it emerges. Woodworm are like catterpillars which pupate into a butterfly just as the worm pupates into a beetle. If you want to kill the worm you have to get it before it enters the timber.

Read more www.advicefrom.co.uk

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Buying your next home

We are often asked to carry out pre-purchase surveys, basically the client is buying a property and is either making themselves fully aware of the condition of the poperty prior to laying out thousands of their hard earned cash or they have been notified of suspected problems by a Chartered Surveyor or Valuer who has requested an expert opinion.

We inspect the property and send through a report detailing problems found (if any) and remedial works required. This is often a small patch or area of damp and requires minor work to correct. Unfortunately the majority of these surveys are a waste of our time, the purchasor uses the report to negotiate a discount off the purchase price, buys the property,  moves in and then does not do the work. After moving in one of the first things many people do is to redecorate and put their own stamp on the property. Low and behold the coming months (especially the winter) cause the problems we identified to re-appear and often worsen (as you can imagine these problems seldom get better by themselves) and affect the new decoration. All that time, money and effort wasted.

If you have a survey and problems are found, you then negotiate the discount from the vendor to cover the cost, the work is effectively free, why then would you waste the opportunity to rectify such problems prior to carrying out redecorations and improvements to your property. Come on people, use your loaf , do the right thing and don’t waste other peoples time if you have no intention of doing the work in the first place. Read more about Dampness at http://advicefrom.co.uk/Dampness-in-Buildings.html

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Q. Why does my house (which is semi detached) have little black spots above the skirting boards and they only appear in the winter, if I wipe them off with some bleach and water they stay away all summer?

Mrs P from Wessex

A. This sounds like condensation Blackspot Mould, usually occurs at the area you have described if you have rising damp, or if you have cold bridging within your cavity wall.

If you send me some pictures I will give you an online diagnosis.



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Questions answered

Stone Walls
May 8th, 2010 Help,

I have an old property made of stone walls and a tiled roof, I had a firm out to do some damp proofing three years ago and they replastered and injected the walls. The problem is that what looks like dampness is appearing on the walls at about a metre high and it is going up to 1.8 m high.

The firm say it is not rising damp at that height as rising damp only goes up to 1 metre high?

What could it be?


Dear Mr Hughes,

I am afraid you are being incorrectly advised. Rising damp can travel up walls to a lot higher than 1m, it is actually dependant on the type of wall and the footprint of the wall. A stone wall will normally have a greater footprint than a brick wall of similar height.

A lot of contributing factors need to be considered but in breif – moisture travels up a wall through a capillary action and the wider the wall the greater amount of moisture can be absorbed from the earth on which it is standing. The moisture travels up the wall and evaporates through the wall faces into the room or externally into the atmosphere. If someone has applied a damp proof render to the wall this will stop the evaporation process and can cause the moisture to travel higher up the wall, evaporating above the applied render. I have seen rising damp at 2.2 metres high in an internally rendered 600mm stone wall (random stone rubble filled).

Obviously the wall would need to be checked to provide a reliable confirmation however I would suggest the injected DPC has probably not worked and the moisture within the wall is travelling above the internal render.

A good local contractor to yourself is Dryspace Maintain Ltd you can contact them at  www.dryspacemaintain.com

Hope this helps

Tags: Damp in stone walls, penetrating damp., rising damp, stone wall problem
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Previous Q&A’s
August 3rd, 2009 This website is here to help and inform, if you have any questions not covered in the site send them in and I will answer them and publish the question and answer for the benefit of others who may have the same or similar questions and as a reference for the many professionals who regularly refer to the site. All personally identifying names, addresses and email addresses are removed for obvious reasons, however originals are held on file. As all questions are pasted unaltered and as received into this website you may find spelling mistakes in some of the questions.


Subject: RE: deathwatch beetle

how easy or complicated is it to eradicate deathwatch beetle, and is the
process expensive.


RE: deathwatch beetle
Hi Paul

Deathwatch beetle is particularly destructive if left to its own devices and under the right conditions. The cost of treatment is not necessarily expensive , however the overall cost will usually be determined by any timbers that require replacement through loss of structural integrity.
This cannot be calculated without a site inspection.
If you would like to arrange an inspection from myself or one of my colleagues please fill in the form on www.advicefrom.co.uk or forward your details to me and I will ask one of our call centre girls to ring you and arrange a convenient appointment.

If the problem is at your home we will carry out the inspection and supply you with a written report free of charge – so you are best to get it checked
Kind regards

Subject: RE: woodworm.

Dear Mike,

We have recently refurbished parkquet flooring by sanding and coating with a clear varnish. This was done about 3 months ago . However I have noticed clusters of dark pinholes have appeared on the floor which look like woodworm. They were not presant when the floor was varnished , I have not noticed any dust presant on the floor.

I was wondering if this could be live woodworm or possibly previously treated woodworm.



Hi Julie

Woodworm will stay within the timber for a period of time, depending on the species anything up to 11 years prior to emerging. The most common beetle anobium punctatum (which leaves a 1 to 2mm hole) will remain within the floor 18 months to 3 years on average. The worm larvae will then change to a beetle which will nibble its way out and fly to look for a mate.
If your floor has been treated recently – ie within the last three or four years it is possibly post emergence, this is when larvae that were already within the timber at the time of treatment emerge after the treatment, this will not be later than 5 years after treatment for this type of beetle. It is unlikely that these beetles will re-infest.

My first course of action here would be to check the floors of adjoining rooms / areas to see if there is any other infestation, the beetle is unlikely to access the floor through a stained, painted or polished surface and so may have entered from adjoining floors through the untreated sides of the parquet.

I hope this helps,

Kind regards
Hi Mike,
Many thanks for your reply which was most informative and a great help.

Subject: Appearing Mould

Good Morning I wonder if you would be able to help me solve this problem.
My husband and I have just brought a brand new ground floor flat and moved in April of this year. Over the last week I have noticed a mould like substance appearing in several places and on different materials.
I have my washing on a clothes horse in the spare bedroom to allow to dry and have the window open either just enough for air to come in or sometimes open a few inches.

This mould like substances has appeared on the bedding, bed and mattress. On some things in the wardrobe, but also in the hallway on the coats that are hanging up on the hooks.

At the moment I do not have the heating on as its still warm enough in the flat, and most of the windows are either closed completely or open a little bit.

Please can you help us solve this problem.

Hi Alison

From the description that you have given the mould would appear to possibly be either mildew or penicillium mould or similar. The cause is likely to be due to a high level of humidity to the flat.
You have described the flat as new, as such I expect it will have double glazing, and no open flues, the moisture within the flat has literally no escape other than manual ventilation (windows doors, etc.).
Refer to my website www.advicefrom.co.uk and look at the condensation section, the measures for your problem will be the same as for condensation, I would also recommend that you do not dry clothes in the property and that you open a window when cooking, showering, or bathing, an extractor to the bathroom that works at all times the room is in use is a necessity.
If your windows have a vent setting ensure this is utilised as often as possible.
Do not fully close cupboard doors to allow circulation, ventilate the flat as much as possible.Whilst ventilation is not always desirable in cold whether it is necessary to eliminate humidity related problems. The property needs to breathe!

Best wishes



Hi Mike,
I am pleased to have discovered your concise and informative web site.
I have a question about the use of an alternative to lead for the purposes of making a seal between a neighbour’s roof and mygable.
My neighbour and I are in dispute because we are sufferingfrom damp in one of our gables and it is my belief (and also that of a FRICS whom we engaged to look at the problem) that the problem arises from a poorjoin between his roof and our gable. I have attached a photo of the areaconcerned and you will see that there is a parapet wall which has slates mortaredonto it. Our surveyor says that there should be overlapping lead flashing thatis turned into our gable whilst the neighbour’s advisor is recommendingsimply rendering the whole area incorporating Feb bond SBR (in accordance withthe manufacturer’s guidelines for waterproof tanking) and providing apolysulphide point at the internal corners.

Our property was existant in 1732 and is in a conservation area.

My strong preference is for the lead-based solution. Wouldyou agree?

Obviously, any answer that you give will be treated only as informal advice and will not be quoted.

Many thanks,
Name on file


Hi ????, I have looked at your picture (very helpful) and if I had been asked to quote for the rectification of this problem, I would specify as follows:-
1. Cut render to your right gable back to approx 300mm above coping stones
2. Remove embedded slates from coping stones and discard, point/make good any gaps.
3. Dress coping stones with lead to leave an upstand against your gable. (to form a continuous soaker)
4. Install a lead flashing to cover the soaker, If the house construction is brick I would specify a stepped flashing, if the construction is stone I would specify a slot be cut through the length of the abutment at 150mm above the coping stones into which the lead be dressed and wedged with folded lead wedges
5. Point in flashings
6 .Finish off render to suit installed flashing.
It should also be noted that this is in fact a party wall and is therefore covered by the party wall act deails at http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts1996/ukpga_19960040_en_1 with particular reference to section 2. This can be helpful as the neighbour should inform you in detail of anything he does with regards to the party wall, this can give you a chance to react to any proposals prior to commencement and to serve as a good record/reference for future dealings.

I trust the above will be of help and look forward to hearing how you get on.
 Best wishes

Tags: Damp, damp proofing, decay, dry rot, insects, rising damp, wet rot, Woodworm
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Please feel free to post a question and I will publish a reply so that others with a similar problem may benefit from the advice given.

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