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Wood Boring Beetle Infestation

Infestation by common furniture beetle Anobium punctatum   and death watch beetle Xestobium rufovillosum are particularly damaging to timbers in buildings older than 50 years.

Death Watch Beetle – This beetle attacks hardwood which has been affected by dampness, although infestations can be found in dry timbers. Damage can be extreme and concealed timbers may be at risk. Its mating call is a tapping sound which may be heard in warm weather. Infestation is often deep seated in large section timbers.

Common Furniture Beetle – This wood boring beetle is responsible for approximately 75% of all wood worm damage in this country and affects both soft and hard woods. Roof Voids and ground floor timbers are particularly at risk, although infestations can be found in the intermediate floor levels.

Treatment

Once the species and extent of wood boring beetle infestation has been established and the condition of the structural timbers confirmed, a specification for treatment/repair will be produced, along with an estimate of cost.

Treatments are carried out with preservatives approved by the HSE. On completion of our works and payment of our invoice, our 20 year guarantee against re-infestation is issued.

Dry Rot

Dry Rot spores are ubiquitous and there is no environment free of them.

Spores will germinate and grow in timber with a moisture content of between 20 and 30 per cent.  The fine fungal thread (hypha) digests the cellulose and hemi cellulose fractions of the wood, but is unable to attack the structural lignins.  These remain as a brittle matrix which cracks into cubes under differential stresses.  Cuboidal cracking is also a characteristic of many wet rots and does not automatically indicate the presence of Dry Rot.

Fungal hyphae may clump together into a variety of structures known as mycelia which take various forms depending on the surrounding conditions.  They may fill a humid cavity as a cotton wool-like mass, or grow across the surface of the timber, as a grey-white skin.  Active Dry Rot has a fresh white or greyish appearance.

Some hyphae group together to form conducting strands.  Their main function is the conduction of nutrients, through inert non-nutrient materials (brickwork etc) to permit eventual colonisation of other timbers.  Their relatively impervious outer layer together with an unusual alkaline tolerance, allows them to survive in the mortar layers within masonry and walls and an infested area may be full of Dry Rot strands.  The Dry Rot fungus may tolerate relatively low moisture contents and, through this, and other quirks in its biology, is potentially capable of considerable destruction.

Treatment

In order to successfully eradicate Dry Rot it is essential to identify the source of the moisture responsible for the outbreak and open up surrounding areas to establish the extent of spread. Sterilization of adjacent masonry and timber is also required.       

Wet Rot

Wet Rot is characterized by the softening and darkening of affected timbers, often accompanied by cuboidal or longitudinal cracking. Wet Rot is a less serious fungal strain than dry rot, as damage is restricted to timbers that have come into contact with dampness. However it can cause considerable damage.

Treatment

In order to effectively treat wet rot, the affected timbers need to be cut away and replaced, the source of dampness located and rectified to prevent further fungal growth and ventilation improved.



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Timber Problems

Common furniture beetle
Common furniture beetle

Common furniture beetle
Deathwatch beetle damage

Dry rot fungus
Dry Rot Fungus