Treating woodworm: just treat where I can see it or do whole crawlspace? (It's not too bad...)

Wood working questions and answers in here please

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DanSheffo
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Treating woodworm: just treat where I can see it or do whole crawlspace? (It's not too bad...)

Post by DanSheffo » Thu Aug 08, 2019 8:04 am

Hello. Question about woodworm...

There's a little bit of active woodworm in a couple of joists in the crawlspace - looks like it's only in a couple of little spots. A quote for dealing with it was pretty steep. I see other threads saying that DIY treatment is doable. My question: can I just treat the areas where there's active woodworm, or should I be thinking about treating the entire crawl space? (If it's the whole crawlspace, might call the professionals in.)

There doesn't seem to be any active woodworm anywhere else, the stuff that's there seems new (not many holes at all) so I'm hoping it's not too bad. I probably made it worse when I insulated under the crawlspace - it's not ventilated properly so probably got really damp in the corners. I'm about to get ventilation put in. I'm hoping once that's in place, it'll dry out a bit and help keep them away (though some people say dry wood isn't safe either.)

Soooo. Is it OK to try just that topical treatment where I see it? Get ventilation put in, then see how things look in a year? Or should I treat the whole floor? (Which would involve taking all the insulation back down again... wasn't a fun job in the crawlspace putting that up!) If it was worse I'd be taking it more seriously but it doesn't look threatening at the minute / only cosmetic... but that could be a terrible mistake, dunno!

Thank you...
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arco_iris
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Treating woodworm: just treat where I can see it or do whole crawlspace? (It's not too bad...)

Post by arco_iris » Thu Aug 08, 2019 9:38 pm

:welcomeuhm:

I am no expert but only an interested bystander, as no other member has made a reply.

Woodworm is a strange & difficult subject, because by the time you see the little holes - which are made by the blighters exiting - it is too late, the buggers have gone. Tapping the affected joist or panel may bring out dust, but this does not tell you that the beetle is active.

They have a much bigger problem in France, for some reason. But EU regs. mean that many of their effective treatments such as smoke bombs are no longer available.

Some timbers are more susceptable than others, plywood used outdoors (i.e. to line a shed) can be rife.

My answer to your question, which suggests that "topical" treatment means brushing fluid on where you can reach, is to put the fluid (you can get it from SFix) in a pressurised sprayer (like you use for weedkiller, they are cheap) and squirt it everywhere you can get to. Hopefully the mist/vapour will go further than you can see.

Beware, if occupied space in a house, the property should not be inhabited for a few days after treatment.
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Treating woodworm: just treat where I can see it or do whole crawlspace? (It's not too bad...)

Post by OchAye » Thu Aug 08, 2019 11:13 pm

I used this stuff last year on an antique shed (4 tins of it but I got it at a much better price than the toolstation one). https://www.toolstation.com/lumberjack- ... -5l/p34502 Watch out if you find it cheaper, it might have a use by date or similar.

Check the instructions at Everbuild, the stuff is not as toxic as similar liquids used to be. Environmental regulations I guess. I cannot say if it is any good, too early. But the basic instruction I remember was I had to saturate the wood, and in your case you would have to do that above and below the floor :-( I feel for you.
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Treating woodworm: just treat where I can see it or do whole crawlspace? (It's not too bad...)

Post by Grendel » Fri Aug 09, 2019 7:30 am

Treating what looks to be unaffected areas isn't going to cause any harm , after all we put treated timbers into buildings where there isn't any worm or rot in the first place. Spraying and brushing will only really treat the surface and giving it a good soaking will be a little more effective than a quick splash. One thing i have noticed in the past is if you use a regular garden sprayer for use with spirit based treatments the rubbers with deteriorate quite quickly . Water based treatments are available or at least are used in the trade .
During my last decade or so in restoration (2000 onwards) there seemed to be a general move away from treating , emphasis being more about keeping the area dry and ventilated to create less favourable conditions for woodworm and rot. At the Bodlien libary in Oxford there was no treatment applied to the roof timbers. Instead spiders were introduced to prey upon the beetles.
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Treating woodworm: just treat where I can see it or do whole crawlspace? (It's not too bad...)

Post by DanSheffo » Fri Aug 09, 2019 3:59 pm

Big thanks all for the quick replies, they're all really helpful. Grendel - yeah, I'm hoping getting the area ventilated and drying things out a bit will keep it safe once it's treated. The crawlspace is going to have a tonne of extra air going through it soon. Interesting about the spiders - the crawlspace certainly isn't short of those! Thanks again.
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