Woodworm Hunters

Now is around the time of year when pests start emerging and flying around once they have hatched and eaten through the wood that eggs were laid. This means that we are extra vigilant when opening and closing the house for any insects that we may see, so that we can identify problem areas.

Recently, we have noticed woodworm lurking in the state bathrooms. This meant an investigation was needed! We didn’t want any infestation (if there was one) to spread to any more of the state rooms.

Woodworm that we collected earlier

Woodworm is the universally known name for the Common Furniture Beetle. People know that woodworm are around and in their houses when they see the familiar woodworm holes (see the photo below).

Woodworm holes

Woodworm can also be known as bookworm (in addition to other paper boring insects), as seen in one of Nostell’s library books, above.

Holes can be present when the woodworm are active or whether the woodworm are not there any more. The way that we can tell is by seeing if there is any frass around the holes. Frass is the sawdust that is the by-product of the beetles chewing their way through wood.

If you look carefully you can see the small piles of frass which indicate the presence of active furniture beetles.

Today we were checking underneath the bath in the State Bathroom for signs of the pesky insect.

Underneath the bath – it has been a long time since anybody looked under here, if the dust is anything to go by!

And it’s not surprising why, as the sides of the bath are solid marble and had to be taken off professionally!

We found what looked like frass and a few dead furniture beetles. However it seemed as though the beetles we had found were coming through the floorboards elsewhere in the room. Further investigation will be needed, and possible professional conservators brought in.

Just to be sure, we treated the area to ensure that no woodworm would emerge from the areas where we found the dead beetles.

Another interesting task encountered by the conservation team at Nostell Priory, and indeed National Trust properties all over Great Britain!

Ellie

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