Woodworm!

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bp122

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Hi all

I haven't been on here for a while now. So I apologize for jumping in with a question.

I got a couple of long ish planks of elm from a chap who had found them in the house he moved into a couple of months ago.

I took them home but didn't put them with the rest of my timber or my wooden shed as he mentioned it may have woodworm.

Now, I had never come across any in my limited experience, so don't know what they look like and how to (if at all possible) clean them / get rid of them.

This is the worst one of the two before i got rid of some things that were stuck on it.

20220415_114424.jpg
20220415_114230.jpg


This is the same plank after I had had a go at removing what looked like foreign particles. Still had a distinctive ridges on it like a dessert dune, right under where it was covered with the alien looking thing.

I used an old thin knife you see as a scraper and a steel brush to get into some crevices.

20220415_114427.jpg
20220415_114421.jpg
20220415_114438.jpg



The second plank wasn't as bad but has these holes visible after the clean.

20220415_114236.jpg 20220415_114243.jpg 20220415_114300.jpg 20220415_114256.jpg

It was bad on the edge you see and very few and far between elsewhere.

My questions are:

1. How bad is this?
2. How can one assess internal damage to the plank
3. What can I do (if I can, at all) to fix it
4. Where and how to store it (to avoid contaminating my wood storage area which has quite a bit now, and to avoid getting woodworm into my new shed)
5. How to identify and avoid it in the future?
6. What can't I use this wood for?
7. There is a small thin slab of sapele with this lot, bit doesn't show any worminess. Is it tainted by association?

At the moment I have stored it in the open (away from anything timber) as there is little risk of rain, bit intend to cover up with a tarp or something until I know the course of action.

If really appreciate sessions advisers to the questions above.

Best regards
Bharath
 

Tris

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The marks left look very much like you would see under the bark of a dead elm, would suspect Dutch elm beetle. The holes on the end look more like typical woodworm (anobium punctata?). Is that wood soft there?.
 
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Yojevol

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I would say the regular lines are only on surface and have been caused by somebody chewing it away, possibly wasps gathering pulp for nest construction.
The damage on the end might have been caused by worm but the fact that some of it is on the surface suggests it was there before the timber was milled. I don't think the damage goes much beyond what you can see.
The 2 individual holes look too large for normal woodworm, could be Dutch Elm beetle but, again, present before it was milled.
I don't think there is any problem in storing it with your other timber. Anyway, woodworm flies will find your timber and attack it if they think it will provide a good nursery for their baby grubs. The only way to stop them is to treat the timber.
Brian
 

bp122

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The marks left look very much like you would see under the bark of a dead elm, would suspect Dutch elm beetle. The holes on the end look more like typical woodworm (anobium punctata?). Is that wood soft there?.
Thanks for responding. No it doesn't feel soft there. It feels as hard as anywhere else.
 

bp122

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I would say the regular lines are only on surface and have been caused by somebody chewing it away, possibly wasps gathering pulp for nest construction.
The damage on the end might have been caused by worm but the fact that some of it is on the surface suggests it was there before the timber was milled. I don't think the damage goes much beyond what you can see.
The 2 individual holes look too large for normal woodworm, could be Dutch Elm beetle but, again, present before it was milled.
I don't think there is any problem in storing it with your other timber. Anyway, woodworm flies will find your timber and attack it if they think it will provide a good nursery for their baby grubs. The only way to stop them is to treat the timber.
Brian
Thanks, Brian.
I am assuming treating timber like this is beyond mere mortal like me?

Also, the other side where the soft sticky stuff I removed from the first plank, you don't think it's anything serious?
 

Ozi

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I have treated woodworm successfully on a few occasions, there are several ways to do it depending on the circumstances.There are two things you need to achieve. First kill anything that's there, second make it unattractive to re-infestation. Where you see flight holes the beetles have left but usually they leave eggs behind, you sometimes see generations of spread in badly eaten wood.

You can take items to be gassed at various commercial places that kills pretty much everything and leaves no residue. good in some ways but they can re-infest. They do need a minimum moisture content but it's very low, really good drying is supposed to stop them but I don't trust that myself.

You can buy excellent woodworm killers to paint on or inject, very effective if they get to the beetle, grubs or eggs and leaves a residue to be certain give it a good coat and treat again next spring.

You can also freeze small pieces -20 deg C for a week.

I have just seen Adams post.

My first reaction when I find myself disagreeing with someone who knows a lot more than I do is that I'm going to be wrong, I can see what he means about the surface damage the furrows are not woodworm damage but the holes do look like flight holes to me. If your friend has good reason to think there were worms about I would still want to treat it for piece of mind.
 

Glenhyrst

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They look like caterpillar caccoons. They typically appear on wood in bunches and "crisply" attached to matching indentations in the wood.
Your first two pics show it well.
Scrape off and all will be as new - apart from the residual surface indentations.
Phil
 

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They look like caterpillar caccoons. They typically appear on wood in bunches and "crisply" attached to matching indentations in the wood.
Your first two pics show it well.
Scrape off and all will be as new - apart from the residual surface indentations.
Phil
That sounds more like it - ties in with the debris and the patterns of the grooves.
Brian
 

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General points on woodworm according to the Rentokil chap:
They are fussy about their wood. There is better nutrition in sapwood than heartwood so the damage tends to concentrate there. Likewise some timbers are more "popular" than others where there's a choice.
Spray on treatments can be very effective, but they are surface treatments which kill or sterilise on the way in and the way out. The woodworm that are already in the timber when you spray it will carry on munching potentially for another 5 years but will be dealt with when they burrow their way out to fly and mate.
Rentokil use the Probor range of chemicals based on boron : Probore 10 spray, Probore 20 gel...
Very recent worm holes have a telltale sign - namely very fine, light coloured wood dust in the hole ("frass"). Looking carefully you can tell old and new exit holes apart.
MDF and Chipboard seem to be immune for practical purposes.
 

pgrbff

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General points on woodworm according to the Rentokil chap:
They are fussy about their wood. There is better nutrition in sapwood than heartwood so the damage tends to concentrate there. Likewise some timbers are more "popular" than others where there's a choice.
Spray on treatments can be very effective, but they are surface treatments which kill or sterilise on the way in and the way out. The woodworm that are already in the timber when you spray it will carry on munching potentially for another 5 years but will be dealt with when they burrow their way out to fly and mate.
Rentokil use the Probor range of chemicals based on boron : Probore 10 spray, Probore 20 gel...
Very recent worm holes have a telltale sign - namely very fine, light coloured wood dust in the hole ("frass"). Looking carefully you can tell old and new exit holes apart.
MDF and Chipboard seem to be immune for practical purposes.
I wonder if they use probore because it is supposed to be less toxic or because it is more effective?
 

Sideways

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I wonder if they use probore because it is supposed to be less toxic or because it is more effective?
Rentokil offer a 30 yr warranty which is why we used them so hopefully it's for the effectiveness of the treatment, but anything that's less toxic to the installers is also a good thing. They wore disposable coveralls and half masks whichever.
During treatment of an old family property we were asked to keep out of the upper floor as far as possible during the work, and afterward, the loft was closed and we were told to keep out for a couple (?) of weeks before reinstating the loft insulation..
I assume like the treatment for ants, the boron compound makes the emerging insects infertile and kills any eggs laid so breaking the cycle.
 

pgrbff

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Rentokil offer a 30 yr warranty which is why we used them so hopefully it's for the effectiveness of the treatment, but anything that's less toxic to the installers is also a good thing. They wore disposable coveralls and half masks whichever.
During treatment of an old family property we were asked to keep out of the upper floor as far as possible during the work, and afterward, the loft was closed and we were told to keep out for a couple (?) of weeks before reinstating the loft insulation..
I assume like the treatment for ants, the boron compound makes the emerging insects infertile and kills any eggs laid so breaking the cycle.
It's also used for dry rot.
 

bp122

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Thanks guys.

Today I spotted a few things crawling in my workshop. But this time I took a photo of it before I killed a few.
20220619_232021.jpg


They were craling around on the workbench and some other places as well.

I did a quick Google search for woodworm images and these looked very similar. Now I'm really worried about the workshop, the stock of wood I have here and in the room next door under the sane garage roof etc.

I killed off probably 6 or 7, but I am sure there are tons more. Only thing in reject is bringing in an old piece of timber into the workshop a couple of weeks ago.

What are my options realistically? There is enough wood to fill a medium sized van in two rooms combined, mostly hardwoods (oak, sapele, walnut, Ash, poplar) and some pine and sycamore here and there.

The main hardwoods that I have had for a while are all on overhead storage or wall mounted racks.

I'm quite worried and disappointed now.
 

Ttrees

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Start looking for sapwood to cut off is what I would be doing.
Seal ends of some of the less dense stuff, they might not like the sapele and oak compared to
some timbers.
A damp hospitable environment plus food maybe the largest factor here?
 

bp122

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Thanks, but please excuse my lack of knowledge, but sapwood is stuff closer to the bark? Is that the same thing they use for live edge furniture etc
 

M_Chavez

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Nasty pippers.

But if you had no woodworm in your shop before, then the environment has got to be unsuitable for them to lay eggs and hatch? Too dry? So you should be fine anyway, even with these pippers crawling around...
Just a thought.
Kill as many as you can find - it's quite satisfying.

A while ago I've been given access to a couple £k worth of top end stock that came from an old instrument maker. Highly figured stuff, bird's eye maple, absolutely top end tonewoods, lots of ply jigs.
Almost all (About 95% of it) turned out to be heavily infected with woodworm and ended up going to the tip. Even if there were only a few holes on the surface, resawing the blanks was uncovering dozens of tunnels.
 

Jacob

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Thanks guys.

Today I spotted a few things crawling in my workshop. But this time I took a photo of it before I killed a few. View attachment 137979

They were craling around on the workbench and some other places as well.

I did a quick Google search for woodworm images and these looked very similar. Now I'm really worried about the workshop, the stock of wood I have here and in the room next door under the sane garage roof etc.

I killed off probably 6 or 7, but I am sure there are tons more. Only thing in reject is bringing in an old piece of timber into the workshop a couple of weeks ago.

What are my options realistically? There is enough wood to fill a medium sized van in two rooms combined, mostly hardwoods (oak, sapele, walnut, Ash, poplar) and some pine and sycamore here and there.

The main hardwoods that I have had for a while are all on overhead storage or wall mounted racks.

I'm quite worried and disappointed now.
That's a woodworm beetle. They pop out at this time of year to mate and lay their eggs in the wood. I've just been squashing a few in a pile of sycamore.
Main thing is to keep wood dry and watch out for any heavy activity with a lot of holes as this may need taking out and burning.
They seem to prefer some timbers rather than others so there is an argument for leaving oak sapwood scraps lying about as it's favourite.
 

hawkschris8

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Can’t comment on the species of the critters you have evidence of. I tend to be more than a little paranoid about what’s dormant and what’s not on timber that comes into my home workshop.

Stuff harvested from local woodland is a favourite of course and there’s lots of recently cut Ash around here. Also timber my local Saw Mill occasionally shows signs but, it’s likely it was active before the timber got cut up just leaving the evidence of these little blighters behind - they’ve probably long since gone.

This isn’t always true though, where I find evidence of old or fresh activity, I spray the area and that stops me worrying and ensures no further infestation - an approach that hasn’t failed for me so far. I don’t tend to use all my timber straight after sourcing it. I’m only talking hardwood here, Oak, Ash etc. Sycamore can be very prone to it.

My solution? It’s no cheap but it works & only use this as and when I need to …

Sika Sikagard woodworm treatment from Screwfix 5 Ltr £27.99

Sika Sikagard Woodworm Killer Clear 5Ltr

I keep it ready in a sprayer.

If you’ve ever had it in the house it can be a nightmare! Hence my paranoia

Hope this helps
 

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