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Woodworm

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Philly

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Hey all,
Managed to sneak out to the 'shop yesterday for the yearly cleanup. I was halfway through re-shuffling the wood stack when I came across what looked like mould on top of some lovely Cherry I've been hording. My garage is pretty dry so I was quite surprised! But upon closer investigation it was little piles of very fine sawdust. The plank of reclaimed pine that was sitting above the cherry was riddled with Woodworm! I checked through the rest of my timber and found it had spread to some of my Elm as well. Needless to say, I have thrown out the affected timber. But is there anything else I should do or check? has anyone else had experience with woodworm?
I look forward to your replys,
Philly
 
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Anonymous

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Philly,

First of all my sympathies for having to chuck out wood, especially elm too. I bought some wood a few years back which included some spalted beech that was riddled with holes. A few piles of sawdust later and I realised that the shop's claim that the woodworm was old damage and no longer a threat :(

Anyway, I didn't want to lose the wood as it has lovely figure, so I bought some woodworm killer and liberally dosed the timber with it - literally soaked the surface and made sure it got into all the holes. The wood was only an inch thick and after over two years there's been no signs of further damage, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that there's no more activity in my woodpile.

I also did some reading up on the blighters afterwards. Woodworm are the larvae stage of a number of beetles. They prefer wood that's damp - if your wood is under 12% moisture content they're unlikely to want to infest it - they're more likely to go after rotting old branches or external timbers etc.

Of more concern is that the holes are made by the adult beetles emerging, and are called flight holes. Depending upon the size of the holes you can work out which species of beetle are blighting your woodpile. Once they emerge they'll want to mate and lay eggs to begin the cycle once again. They will typically lay eggs on cracks in the timber, or on endgrain, or in flight-holes. You won't normally see any evidence of the eggs having been laid, nor will you know if there are larvae in your timber. The cycle from egg, through munching your wood before turning to beetles can be 2-4 years, depending on conditions and the species. Therefore you can't be sure you're clear.

The first thing I did when I read that the moisture content is the biggest inhibitor for woodworm was to buy a moisture meter. At £50 for the Veritas TimberCheck it wasn't cheap, but it seemed pretty important at the time.

I now heat my workshop through winter and made an effort to close up the gaps around the garage doors to reduce/prevent drafts. These measures keep the wood in my pile to 11% moisture content or better, and as a side-effect the workshop's always warm enough to work in wearing just a T-shirt and smock/apron.

I've not seen evidence of woodworm for at least two and a half years, but I still check every month or so for little piles of sawdust.

I don't know if this will help any, but if you're able to heat your workshop that will make a big difference. Apparently the reason that modern houses rarely suffer with the blighters is because of central heating - it makes the wood too dry for their tastes and they go off and eat something else instead.

Good luck,

AG
 
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Anonymous

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A friend of mine in Natal had a similar problem. (Natal coast is quite humid and wet - semi-tropical)
He sealed up his workshop and fumigated with some "poison".
The timber outside was dipped in a bath of good old diesel!
Touch wood :lol: all seems ok.
The diesel timber was fine to use after a couple of months.
cheers Jaco
(sorry forget to log in) :oops:
:D
 

Philly

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Thanks AG, Jaco
The plank that was infected was a 1inch plank of pine I rescued from my dad's garage- and yes it was quite damp with the tell tale holes. So I guess I've learnt my lesson. Thankfully no more damaged timber has been found, so cross fingers!
I've been considering insulating the garage doors and installing radiators, but thats been put off as we are considering moving early next year. (a house with a separate outbuilding for a dedicated workshop!-yes please!!!)
wishing you all a Happy New Year,
Philly :D
 

Alf

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Up the proverbial creek
Afterglow":1aeuhgm8 said:
Apparently the reason that modern houses rarely suffer with the blighters is because of central heating - it makes the wood too dry for their tastes and they go off and eat something else instead.
Hmm, I wonder if that's why the blighters exited from an oak drawer front that I'd had in the workshop for a couple of years within months of it being brought into the house? :? Those tell-tale little piles of sawdust really strike fear into the poor woodworker, don't they? Commiserations, Philly. Personally I took the passive route and crossed my fingers that I'd chucked out the only infected bits. Still got 'em crossed... :shock:

Cheers, Alf
 
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Anonymous

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My understanding of the lifecycle of furniture beetles is that they'll stay as larvae for several years and then emerge in the Spring. I don't know what triggers the transmogrification into beetles, so it may have been the change in humidity, but that's only a guess.

Therefore if your drawer-front erupted in Spring Alf, you may want to keep a close eye on other exposed timber for a couple of years too.

On a personal note, at the same time as my spalted beech experience, a humungous insect hole appeared in another piece of timber, this time some Jarrah. The Jarrah was in a small pile of offcut-sized pieces I bought as samples from a well-known supplier of Antipodean timbers. Anyway, the hole was around 6mm diameter, and went all the way through the Jarrah, and through at least another three thicknesses of other timbers, before finally erupting at a surface. Not sure I ever did find the blighter, although from what I've read it's unlikely he was a Brit beetle - the hole was far too big. I therefore have crossed my fingers and hoped he/she couldn't find a mate to breed with, otherwise my timber pile will be sawdust in a few years :-S

Cheers, and a Happy New Year,

AG
 
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