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Insect Attacks on Oak Framed Houses

Dried oak in oak framed buildings is not particularly attractive to wood-boring insects that can cause cosmetic and/or structural damage. Therefore it's not always necessary to have every nook and cranny of your new oak framed building treated to prevent damage from insects.

When the oak is softer and young, the sugary starches of the softwood offer the most attractive meals for wood boring insects. The heartwood - the innermost part of wood - is full of natural chemicals such as tannins that actually repel insects, with the older wood being much harder than the soft sapwood. As oak wood hardens and ages, it becomes almost impenetrable to insects - and for homeowners, the biggest threat to their oak timbers is damp.

Any timber that is long subject to damp conditions - such as timber set into a cold, damp wall - are most at risk from insect attack once in situ in an oak framed house. The heartwood becomes soft and can decay, making the sapwood and heartwood accessible to insects such as the deathwatch beetle. Keeping your timbers dry will allow the wood to once again harden and is the best form of defence against attack in these instances.

For newer builds, the outer sapwood can be locally treated with a boron-based preservative in newer properties and will help to protect sapwood, which can be vulnerable for up to 15 years after felling. It's best (and most cost efficient) to only treat locally and where there is evidence of insect attacks. This can help to prevent damage by the likes of powder-post beetles and furniture beetle.



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