A woodworm infestation is one of the commonest domestic pests you’ll find in the UK. They’re actually certain types of beetle larvae. The beetle lays its eggs within the structure of the wood, providing a food source when they hatch.
The cost of woodworm treatment is around £30 per 25m2 or between £400-£900 in total. This is for an average loft of a 3 bedroom semi-detached house and using either of the 2 main woodworm treatments. Spraying is the cheapest however expect the injection method to substantially increase the price. It’ll be more expensive if the professionals have to empty your loft first. If you have an empty loft space, then a loft treatment will probably take less than a day.
The quote you receive depends on the extent and whereabouts you’ve found the infestation. This is because it’s harder to access and get rid of woodworm in the structural roof timbers in your loft than a little footstool that grandma gave you.
Woodworm is rampant in the wild. Every tree has some wood–boring beetle or larvae burrowing inside. So, it’s not surprising that they find their way into our homes. Usually, from the firewood pile or nearby trees.
So, we must get rid of them as soon as we see them. They can do expensive damage to antique furniture as well as cause structural problems to the timber supporting your house.
Fortunately, there are ways of controlling the beetle and its larvae, and as long as we catch them in the early stages, everything should be okay.
Professional Woodworm Treatment Cost
A woodworm specialist has a few different weapons at his disposal. Let’s take a look at the methodologies and how much woodworm treatment costs.
Boron’s compounds are surface agents and are water–based solutions or gels to apply to the surface. The specialist needs to correctly identify the type of beetle he’s dealing with first to get the right poison. These cost about £30 per 25m2.
This is cheaper than Borax compounds but widespread as a DIY fumigation chemical. As it’s DIY, you should only use it according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Unfortunately, many factors might affect the cost and ease of the treatment. This is why it’s almost impossible to give a meaningful estimate without surveying the premises first. For example:
Size of house
The size of the property is a significant factor to vary the treatment. If there’s more wood area to cover, there’s more chance of missing a bit.
Age of house
Old houses have more nooks and crannies to find and treat. And, often the infestation will be more widespread than relatively new ones.
Occupied or not?
Often, the floorboards need lifting and this might be difficult if the house is occupied. Also, some treatments are poisonous to mammals and it’s better if people and pets stay out of the house for a few days.
A skilled woodworm treatment specialist knows the trade ‘inside out’. They know where to look first and what to look for. Although an expert specialist will take less time to treat your house, they have a lifetime of knowledge and skill on hand to help themselves out of a sticky situation.
Many houses susceptible to woodworm also suffer from damp, whether persistent or seasonal. In this case, the treatment specialist bores holes in the wood and inserts boron rods to leave to slowly dissolve. Boron rods cost about £40 for 10 rods, which can be expensive if you find you have a large area of damp. However, it’s worth it in the end as you’ll get rid of a very troublesome insect and its young.
Woodworm Treatment Price List:
|Professional Woodworm survey||1 to 4 hours||£100 to £200|
|DIY Boron or Permethrin treatment||1 to 2 hours||£50 to £150|
|Professional treatment||1 to 3 days||£500 to £1000|
It’s very hard to give accurate figures, because of how varied your woodworm infestation might be. Therefore a survey is very important before you do any work.
Remember that professional costs will be more expensive in London than elsewhere in the UK.
Benefits of Boron Surface Treatment
Boron is a chemical element, whose compounds are widely used for treating insect and woodworm infestations. A solution of borax (sodium borate) in the water at 5% concentration requires no ‘hazardous to health’ warnings and is about as toxic as dilute table salt. However, the borax solution may cause skin irritation as it’s alkaline. It also has a bleaching effect as it converts water molecules into hydrogen peroxide.
Boron solution has a few benefits over other woodworm treatments.
- Borax in water does not affect spiders, bats or birds.
- It’s a solution in water so it has no solvent smell and leaves no odour when dry.
- The active ingredient, boron, stays in the wood and doesn’t wash out.
- Borax, both in solution and dry, is non-flammable. In fact, it acts as a flame retardant.
- Apply the borax solution by brush, spray or dipping.
- The solution absorbs well in damp wood.
- Good as a DIY treatment as it needs no special application equipment or specialist PPE. Having said that, take sensible precautions such as always using splashproof goggles, vinyl gloves, and protect your skin from splashes.
Thee are many different brand names available and you can buy them online or in many DIY home improvement stores such as B&Q or Screwfix. Typical online prices for the dry powder range from £28 for 200g (makes 5L) up to £100 for 2.5Kg (makes 62L).
Benefits of Permethrin Surface Treatment
Permethrin is a very good insecticide treatment and is widely used in woodworm and wood beetle control. Moreover, it’s used in treating infestations of cockroaches, fleas, ticks, and flies. Although, it’s also used as a treatment for scabies on the human body, it’s generally considered to be a moderately toxic pesticide that if used in incorrect dosages, can cause irritation side effects in sensitive people around the eyes, nose, mouth, and skin. It may also cause breathing problems.
How To Identify Active Woodworms
We all probably know what woodworm and wood boring insect holes look like. But not all holes mean there are active insects. They may have been treated many years ago, or the beetle may have moved on.
When the active beetle breaks through the surface, they usually spill fresh and very fine wood dust underneath. Some of the signs are characteristic of certain species and we’ll deal with these in the next section.
How to Treat Woodworm
There are four common wood boring beetles in the UK.
House Longhorn Beetle
These cause problems in fresh softwood timber and their lifecycle lasts from 2 to 10 years. Only the larvae feed on the wood and pupate just beneath the surface. Thus, allowing the beetle to emerge in late summer. The emergence holes are ragged, oval and irregular. Their tunnels usually show up as a powdery mass under a sound wood skin. Use Permethrin to treat these, either as a surface or injection treatment.
Common Furniture Beetle
This is what most people think of as woodworm. They form small holes of about 1 to 2mm across. Live infestations show a light cream borehole dust around the holes (called frass). The adult beetle doesn’t feed on wood. But, they lay their eggs in the wood and the larvae eat the wood. They pupate just below the surface and emerge as fully formed adults. Permethrin is best used for treatment and prevention.
These insects attack damp hardwoods that have already suffered fungal infestation. The beetle creates distinctive tapping sounds on quiet summer evenings and the borehole dust consists of distinctive disk–shaped pellets. Treat the same way as the Longhorn beetle.
Wood Boring Weevil
These attack damp and decaying timbers. You can usually find them in cellars and wood in contact with damp floors and walls. The distinctive signs are long tunnels in the direction of the grain. Emergence holes are about 1mm in diameter and ragged. They only live in damp conditions so the best way to get rid of them is to remove the damp and allow the timber to dry out. Then, replace with new wood.
Treating Woodworm In Floorboards
The best way to treat floorboards is to remove every other board across the room. Check the boards and joists for structural weakness. Usually, repair involves replacing a few boards now and again. Next, spray the underside of the lifted board as well as the two on either side. Also, soak the joists with the sprayer even if there’s no sign.
Re-Entry After Treatment
It doesn’t matter what anyone says. All woodworm treatments are poisonous. The manufacturer supplies written health and safety instructions and guidelines published by the HSE. You must always follow these if you want to remain safe.
The time between completing the treatment and being able to move back indoors will vary depending on which treatment you use and how it’s applied. A safe re-entry time could vary from a few hours up to a few days. Read the instructions supplied with the product for full details.
UK Woodworm Survey Cost
You might consider a woodworm survey to be a waste of time. After all, you can buy plenty of DIY treatments. This is true to a degree. However, you don’t have the specialist knowledge that allows you to know the extent of the infestation and the damage to your property. You might treat for the Common Furniture Beetle without knowing it’s the House Longhorn Beetle. You definitely need professional help with that one.
All the professional woodworm treatment companies provide a survey to discover the type of beetle, the extent of the infestation, the size of your home and to advise on the best treatment.
Woodworm specialists need to know which species they’re dealing with and any other information such as dry rot or damp that might make the infestation harder to remove. So, a professional survey will tell you all this information and more. A typical survey costs between £100 and £200 and takes between 1 and 4 hours. If you decide on the same company to treat the infestation, they often provide a discount for the survey.
DIY vs Hiring a Professional
Anyone can pop along to their local DIY store and buy some woodworm killer. While you’re at it, don’t forget the application equipment, gloves, goggles, overalls, and face mask. It’s ok to use the DIY approach if you have a dining chair with a few woodworm holes. But, a more extensive infestation will need a more drastic attack. Unfortunately, the average amateur isn’t geared up for this.
To do an effective job, you need special training and experience. You’ll then know how to recognise the various insects, and how best to eradicate them. A professional will also have access to stronger insecticides and know how to use them. You’ll also know that the chemicals have been used properly and safely.
By all means, use a DIY method for little jobs, but always use a professional for more extensive infestations.
Most DIY chemicals cost between £8 and £40 depending on the brand and type. Brushes and protection such as gloves and masks are between £10 and £15, while you can buy spray guns for £25 to £50.
Professionals will charge a total price and include all the materials. Usually, these are anything up to £1000, plus a survey.
Woodworm Treatment Cost FAQs
Should I buy a house with woodworm?
An infestation should show up on your survey. If so, talk to a specialist about how bad it is, as structural timbers might be involved. If you get a full treatment quote from the specialist, you should be able to reduce the selling price by that amount and some extra for the inconvenience.
Can I treat woodworm myself?
It’s easy to treat a small piece of furniture yourself or even if you have a small patch on exposed timbers. However, a professional should treat anything more extreme after carrying out a woodworm survey to find its full extent.
How long do woodworm treatments last?
If you’ve had the work done professionally, you’ll receive a guarantee. Usually, these last for about 20 years. Unfortunately, a DIY job has no guarantee at all.
Can you treat woodworm with vinegar?
You can spray a mixture of white vinegar and lemon juice onto the wood surface to repel woodworm beetle. Unfortunately, it’s not so good at killing an infestation.
How do you stop woodworm from spreading?
The best ways are to remove all infected non-structural pieces of timber or furniture and treat the rest. In the loft space and other ventilated areas install electric fly traps to trap and zap the emerging flying beetles.
Can you claim on insurance for woodworm?
No. You’ll find a clause in the policy specifically exempting gradual and preventable damage. Usually, these include vermin, insects, rust and corrosion. Their viewpoint is that if it’s preventable, you should have prevented it!
What do woodworm flies look like?
Actually, they’re small flying beetles ranging from 3mm to 20mm long depending on the species. The various types live in different conditions and need different treatment methods.
Find Local Woodworm Specialists
If you have an infestation problem in your house, it’s best to call in a pest control expert. Completing the form at the top of the page will allow you to ascertain the woodworm treatment cost in your area. You’ll get 3-4 quotes from vetted infestation experts totally free.