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Wood-eating insects in the home

Wood-eating insects, and termites in particular, can cause major damage to buildings by deteriorating the wood and wood products used in construction. Their activity can affect the quality of use of buildings, as well as causing major structural damage. In the most extreme cases, it can lead to the collapse of buildings.

The risk of termites and other wood-eating insects damaging buildings should not, however, be seen as a plague. Simple measures (such as the installation of preventive measures during construction, regular monitoring and maintenance of the building and its surroundings, etc.) are all that is needed to control this risk and prevent any infestation in a building from spreading to the rest of the building.

By setting out the procedures for preventing and combating termites and other wood-eating insects, current legislation and regulations aim to control the risk of damage to buildings caused by these insects (by protecting wood and wood-based materials, but also by protecting the soil/building interface).

Elements that may or may not contribute to the stability of the structure

Assessing the condition of the premises

Woodworms in the home First of all, examine the situation.
A good clean will help you see things more clearly. Remember to protect yourself from the dust with a suitable mask.
1 - Try to identify the type of wood, which can vary widely (oak, chestnut, poplar, softwood).
2 - Use a large screwdriver to probe any pieces of wood that look attacked, especially where there are traces of damp in the walls. Sawdust on the floors indicates recent activity.
3 - Don't be fooled by appearances. An oak beam may have all the sapwood eaten away by beetles, but try hammering a nail into it and you'll be reassured as to its solidity. On the other hand, a fir rafter with only a few beetle holes will probably need to be lined or replaced.
4 - Don't forget the floors, staircases and doorframes (entry points for termites) - sometimes it's the paint that holds everything together.
5 - If your inspection takes place in early summer, you may see adult insects. After 4 or 5 years (or more) of nibbling, beetles and moths will turn into adult insects and think about coming out to mate and reproduce. If you're in a termite-infested area and you have any doubts, call in someone competent. 

Insects with wood-eating larvae

the termite - reticulitermes-lucifugus

Wood-eating insects are very often responsible for major damage to various types of wood. The females lay eggs in the interstices of the wood. From these eggs, larvae develop inside the wood and dig galleries.

The wood used in our homes is an unwelcoming environment for insects: it is hard and dry, the food source is not rich in nutrients and is often difficult to access. For this reason, few species choose this environment to lay their eggs, which give rise to larvae with powerful mandibles capable of breaking down wood. These larvae grow very slowly and feed on the wood, which often shelters them for many years. The wood-eating larvae insects most frequently found in wood used for construction are as follows.

See our detailed files on each of these insects :

How should wood-eating insects be treated ?

1 - when to treat ?
You can treat all year round, except during very cold or very hot periods. With our insecticide, there's no need to go into exile. Just make sure you are well ventilated for the duration of the treatment, which you can carry out yourself.

2 - Lumbering
There's no point in putting the product in worm-eaten, spongy wood: the product will be wasted and, above all, it won't be very effective. So it's essential to remove all the damaged parts until you have healthy, hard wood. This operation will also allow you to check the condition of the beams.

3 - Proceed with the treatment
In all cases, after thorough dusting, for wood with small cross-sections (< 80 cm²), you can treat all the wood surfaces either by spraying (a garden sprayer is sufficient for medium-sized jobs), or by brushing on. To be effective, you need to carry out at least two treatments 24 hours apart.

For pieces with a cross-section > 80 cm 2 and depending on the type of wood, injections will be needed to inoculate the product in depth. In general, to carry out this work, holes are drilled approximately every 25 cm up to 3/4 of the thickness of the wood, then 0.3 dl to 0.5 dl of insecticide is injected into each hole.

In the case of parquet, "washing" with insecticide gives excellent results.

N.B.: Obviously, if the insect infestation is severe and your wood has been under heavy attack for years, you will need to call in specialist, approved companies to carry out a full diagnosis and find appropriate solutions.

A few simple rules to limit the spread of woodborers

The obligation to protect wood and the soil/building interface does not exempt you from regular monitoring and maintenance of the building and its surroundings. A number of "risky" behaviours can encourage the establishment and development of colonies of subterranean termites in the vicinity of, or within, a building.

or inside a building. Termite risk prevention is therefore also the responsibility of occupants, whether they are owners, tenants or technical staff.

The recommendations set out below are designed to inform and raise awareness of the need to protect your home or property. As well as preventing and controlling termite infestations, the measures set out below also help to maintain good health and hygiene conditions in buildings.


Eliminating water infiltration : water infiltration into foundations can affect all types of building. It is caused by the failure or absence of perimeter drainage (rainwater, springs, etc.)

Eliminating capillary rise : this phenomenon occurs mainly in older buildings, which generally have no waterproofing barriers and are often made of solid, porous materials (such as natural stone)

Keep an eye on condensation : this is caused by excessive moisture in the walls, and can lead to fungal attack and the establishment of subterranean termite colonies

Keep cellars, basements and crawl spaces free of cellulose materials

Ventilate cellars, basements, crawl spaces, etc. thoroughly


Eliminate standing water near buildings (cesspools, etc.);

Remove all dead wood from around the building and systematically avoid storing firewood, pallets and, more generally, any cellulose-based items on the ground in contact with the walls (paper, cardboard, wood debris, etc.);

Avoid planting in the immediate vicinity of walls : too much dense vegetation close to the building can be a source of repeated or permanent dampening of the outside walls. It can also lead to deterioration of the foundations as a result of uncontrolled development of the root systems.

Examples of classic situations that give rise to unhealthy living conditions