Date: 06.03.2023
Author: ian
Category: Care Guide
Wood flooring

Many people assume wood flooring and bug infestations go hand in hand. However, provided you’re taking steps to mitigate the issue, pest control problems aren’t an unwanted eventuality. By keeping your home free of damp and excess condensation, you can make your floors an unpalatable prospect for wood-munching beetles and other common pests. 

For more than 15 years, Wood Flooring Ireland has been providing customers across Ireland with a first-rate selection of bespoke products. Since 2019, we’ve reshifted our approach to engineered wood flooring with a renewed focus on sustainability and traceability. 

All products in our range are now produced with European Oak that’s harvested from wholly sustainable sources. Meanwhile, we ensure our manufacturing processes have minimal impact on the environment.  

When you have installed your new flooring, you’ll want to avoid having pest issues. We have outlined everything you need to know about wood flooring and the bugs associated with it.  

What You Need to Know About Wood Flooring and Bugs 

If you’re looking to improve interior aesthetics, wood flooring is the obvious choice. However, wood flooring requires a careful approach to maintenance. One of the advantages of engineered wood flooring is that it’s relatively robust. However, engineered wood flooring is still sensitive to insect infestations. 

Many species of bugs can damage wood flooring. The bad news is that they’re not discerning when it comes to what they consume. Many bugs will find engineered wood equally as appetising as solid oak wood flooring. To protect your long plank wood flooring and Versailles panels, it’s important to identify what species of insect you’re dealing with. 

In Ireland, common pests to watch out for include the furniture beetle and deathwatch beetle. In particular, it’s the larval stage you have to worry about. Beetle larvae are better known as woodworm and create all manner of havoc for residential and commercial spaces that include structural timber or wooden flooring.  

Most Common Pest Species in Ireland 

As we’ve just discussed, the most common pest species you are likely to encounter in Ireland is woodworm. This represents the larval stage of Anobium punctatum, otherwise known as the common furniture beetle. This beetle is a wood-boring bug which, left unchecked, can cause lasting damage to softwoods and hardwoods alike. Even engineered wood flooring with its hardwood veneers isn’t immune to damage caused by these insects. 

Once the beetle lays its eggs, the larvae bore through wood as it consumes nutrient-rich cellulose. After a couple of years, the larvae make their way to the surface of the wood and mature to an inactive pupa stage. Eventually, mature beetles hatch from this chamber and bore through to the surface. These boring holes are instantly recognisable and cause unsightly damage to wooden furniture, flooring, and structural timber alike.

If you think this is the end of your worries, think again. Once adult females have successfully mated, they’ll lay dozens of eggs into any available crevice. In many cases, they’ll use the boring holes created by emerging beetles as laying spaces. Eventually, these eggs will hatch, creating a fresh infestation.  

How to Spot a Woodworm Infestation 

Most people only notice signs of woodworm infestation once beetles leave visible boring holes. However, there are many signs you can look out for to identify woodworm during various stages of its lifecycle. In addition to eggs, there are immature larvae. There’s then the pupa stage, which eventually results in adult beetles. 

After hatching, larvae will burrow deep into the timber, making it difficult to identify an infestation. During the burrowing process, insect larvae can cause considerable damage to wood. In many cases, insect larvae will happily burrow through wooden floors and furniture for many years before reaching the pupa stage and transforming into adult beetles. Because of this, it’s often difficult to spot signs of woodworm until mature larvae make their way to the surface, leaving telltale boreholes. 

What are the different types of wood flooring that woodworm affects? Some species prefer hardwoods like oak, while others thrive on pine, spruce, and other softwoods. However, just about every species prefers damp material as this is far easier to digest. As such, you’ll want to brush up on how to clean engineered wood floors and interior timber to make life difficult for these boring insects.  

Telltale Signs of a Woodworm Infestation 

Boring holes are a clear sign that adult beetles have recently emerged from flooring and other wood. Fresh holes will have clear edges. A harder sign to spot is tunnelling within the wood itself. Small amounts of sawdust are another indicator of an infestation. This is better known as ‘bore dust’ and is created when insects emerge from the flooring. It can be harder to spot with things like white wood flooring and grey wood flooring. 

In more extreme cases, you may notice that floorboards are becoming weaker and more prone to breakage. Look for signs of crumbling material around the edges of planks or panels. 

You can also search for direct evidence of the pests themselves. Adult beetles tend to emerge from infested wood during the warmer months of the year. Keep your eyes peeled from late spring, right up until October. Eggs and larvae are also more commonplace from May to October. 

Eggs themselves are almost impossible to spot without the aid of a magnifying glass. However, you may just about be able to spot woodworm larvae. Woodworms can exist in the larval stage for anywhere up to five years. Larvae are usually cream or white.  

How to Get Rid of Wood Flooring Pests 

The easiest way to get rid of woodworm and other pests is to treat your flooring and timber. However, you need to be meticulous when treating your wood. Targeting adult beetles alone won’t do the trick. Unhatched eggs still pose a problem for the future, while larvae can live for many years before maturing into an adult form. 

You want to make your materials as unattractive to insects as possible. This means getting rid of anything that’s causing damp conditions. Improving ventilation is always a good idea. Meanwhile, focus on getting rid of anything that’s introducing moisture into the environment. This means tackling things like leaks. You may also want to get rid of houseplants or appliances that are producing excess steam. Overuse of humidifiers may also be contributing to damp conditions in your home that are allowing woodworms to thrive. 

In extreme cases, you may want to think about having your floors chemically treated. This can be an expensive venture but is certainly something to consider if you’ve invested in premium herringbone flooring or costly hardwoods.  

Say Goodbye to Bugs and Embrace Engineered Wood Flooring 

Once you’ve taken the steps to mitigate woodworm infestations, you can start thinking about a new floor. Whether you’re looking for chevron flooring to overhaul your home or long planks for a commercial space, Wood Flooring Ireland is here to help.  


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