Fungi and insect pests in timber

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Due to its relatively cold temperate climate, the UK is not seriously afflicted by insect pests, with the majority of species known to attack timber restricted to tropical and subtropical regions.

This Wood Information Sheet outlines the more important types of fungi and insects which can affect timber. These include sap-stain fungi and moulds, wet-rot fungi and the dry-rot fungus. Insects include termites, although these are not normally found in the UK, beetles such as powder post, ambrosia and longhorns, wood wasps, woodoworm, death watch and Ernobius are all included.

This sheet will guide users through the process of protecting their timbers against the threat of insects and fungi and details which timbers are particularly susceptible and how the use of chemicals can help to prevent decay. This sheet also contains the British Standards which are relevant to fungal attack.

This WIS does not deal with attack by bacteria, soft rot fungi and marine borers, nor does it deal with preservative treatments, all of which are covered in more detail in other Wood Information Sheets.


  • Timber
    • Resistance to attack
  • Fungi
    • Sapstain fungi and moulds
    • Wet-rot fungus
    • Dry-rot fungus
  • Insects
    • Termites
    • Lyctus beetle
    • Ambrosia beetle
    • Longhorn beetle
    • Other beetles
    • Wood wasps

This Wood Information Sheet was reviewed in April 2021 and minor corrections were made to the references section.

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