This is a term used for the destructive larvae of several species of wood boring beetle. The first sign of woodworm is the appearance of neat round holes 1-2 mm across in wooden surfaces, often accompanied by tiny piles of wood dust. The adult Furniture Beetle is a small brown insect about 5 mm long who can fly and lay eggs on rough, unpolished wood.
The grubs bore straight into the wood – leaving no trace until they emerge as beetles three or more years later, usually between May and September. They are usually introduced into the house in second-hand furniture, tea-chests and the like but they can also fly in through windows from nearby dead branches of trees. They may attack floorboards, joinery and, more seriously, structural timbers.
In furniture, woodworm can be cured by application of a woodworm killer which will penetrates quickly and can be applied using a brush or spray. As the pest is inside the wood, the liquid should be applied quite generously. You can also buy an insecticide polish as a precaution against woodworm. You can buy proprietary fluid used by the experts and treat woodworm in structural timbers yourself. All timbers should be cleaned first and any roof insulation material will have to be removed temporarily so that you can get at the joists. Cover electric cables and the cold water storage tank. Lift floorboards to get at the undersides and joists. You can have detailed surveys, reports and estimates carried out by specialist wood preservation companies and many cover their treatments by long term guarantees – this may help if you sell the house so it is worth considering the additional initial cost for a subsequent benefit.