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25/04/2016 12:48:36:
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Dry Rot & Woodworm Treatment

Dry rot (Serpula lacrymans) is a wood-destroying fungus that is found in most parts of the world. Although it affects forest timbers, dry rot is best known for its ability to destroy timbers in ships and buildings.

Identification of Dry Rot

It is important to identify whether timber decay has been caused by dry rot or another wood-destroying fungus such as one of the wet rots. This is because dry rot has the ability to travel through building materials other than timber, giving outbreaks the potential to spread quickly through a building. For this reason additional measures (e.g. masonry sterilisation) often have to be taken when treating dry rot outbreaks over and above those necessary when dealing with outbreaks of other wood-rotting fungi.

Typical indications of dry rot include:

  • Wood shrinks, darkens and cracks in a 'cuboidal' manner
  • A silky grey to mushroom coloured skin frequently tinged with patches of lilac and yellow often develops under less humid conditions. This 'skin' can be peeled like a mushroom.
  • White, fluffy 'cottonwool' mycelium develops under humid conditions. 'Teardrops' may develop on the growth.
  • Strands develop in the mycelium; these are brittle and when dry and crack when bent.
  • Fruiting bodies are a soft, fleshy pancake or bracket with an orange-ochre surface. The surface has wide pores.
  • Rust red coloured spore dust frequentky seen around fruiting bodies.
  • Active decay produces a musty, damp odour.

Woodworm - Identification and Treatment

Woodworm holes found in timber are caused by the larvae of beetles that feed on the timber. Larger holes on the surface of the timber are formed when the adult beetle emerges from the timber to mate.

There are a number of species of woodworm, and the precise method of treatment will depend on which species is attacking the timber.

By far the most common species of woodworm in the UK is the Common Furniture Beetle (Anobium punctatum). This species can be identified by the small, round holes that are left on the surface of the timber (approx. 1.5 - 2mm diameter) and the "gritty" bore-dust that it leaves behind (showing up as lemon-shaped pellets under magnification).

In most cases treatment of Common Furniture Beetle is fairly straightforward. Any structurally-weakened timber should be removed and replaced with pre-treated timber. All surfaces of the affected timber should then be sprayed with an appropriate woodworm treatment, such as ProBor DB.



A Guide to the Biology, and the Control of Dry Rot

A Guide to the identification of Wood-boring insects