Protecting wooden structures and historical heritage from damage

Woodworm season is in full swing. Is your property safe from wood-destroying pests?

Typically, the woodworm season is considered to run from April to September. During this time, woodworms, in the form of beetles, emerge and become visible.

However, the damage they cause begins long before this and continues throughout the year. This prolonged process can lead to significant damage to valuable wooden furniture, structural timbers in homes, windmills, and historical heritage sites.

In this article, we will discuss the signs of wood damage, available treatments, and preventive measures. But first, what exactly is woodworm?

Understanding woodworm:

Despite the name, woodworm isn’t a worm as such. Instead, it’s a collective term for various beetles, such as the longhorn beetle and the common furniture beetle, whose larvae burrow through wood, resembling worms in their movement. These larvae bore tunnels in various types of wood, feeding on it as they go. The larval stage lasts about 3 to 5 years, giving them ample time to compromise the structural integrity of wooden elements like your roof, potentially leading to collapse. Repair or replacement of damaged structures can be costly.

Identifying wood damage:

Preventing wood damage is crucial to avoid high repair costs. Acting quickly at the first sign of woodworm in your house, windmill, property, or historical heritage site is essential.

Signs of a woodworm infestation:

Here are some indicators that you might have a woodworm problem:

  • Gnawing sounds: Active larvae make a gnawing sound as they tunnel through wood.
  • Exit holes: Small, round or oval holes in the wood, sometimes accompanied by bore dust.
  • Bore dust: Fine, sawdust-like powder that is actually woodworm excrement.
  • Weak wood: Wood that breaks or crumbles easily upon touch.
  • Visible beetles: Beetles emerging in the final stage of their life cycle.

What to do if you suspect woodworm:

If you notice any of the signs above, you likely have a wood-destroying pest problem. Identifying the specific beetle or borer is crucial for effective treatment and preventing further damage.

A thorough inspection by a professional can help determine whether you are dealing with, for example, the longhorn beetle, the deathwatch beetle, the powderpost beetle, or the carpet beetle. During the inspection, an inventory of the damage and its consequences is also made. EWS conducts these inspections and provides advice on suitable treatment methods.

Treatment options:

Depending on the severity of the infestation, different treatments are possible. A combination of treatments is also an option. In extreme cases, the affected wood is replaced. Additionally, you can take measures to prevent a new infestation. Below is an overview of the most common treatments:

  • Heat treament: Heating the core temperature of the wood to 48-56 degrees Celsius effectively kills the insects.
  • Impregnation: A surface treatment of the wood with a special control fluid effectively kills all insects and prevents a new infestation.
  • Fumigation: Fumigating with poisonous gas is an effective method to control wood-damaging pests in all stages of their life cycle.  

Here you can read more (in Dutch) about our fumigation services, with an example of the longhorn beetle: https://www.ews-group.nl/fumigation/houtaantastende-insecten/begassen-boktor/

Wood construction replacement

If your wooden structure is so damaged that treatment is not sufficient to prevent collapse, the wood may need to be replaced or remediated. In addition to treatments, EWS conducts inspections and reports, for example, during the purchase and sale of real estate. If desired, we can replace the wooden structure for you.

Preventive measures:

Naturally, we hope you can avoid a woodworm infestation altogether. Preventing infestations can be achieved by treating wood with a protective coating.

Regulating the humidity in your home or building is another preventive measure, as some woodworms prefer moist wood. Keeping your building well-ventilated reduces the risk of a new infestation.

Additionally, regular inspection of your wooden structures for the signs mentioned above can help you catch and address any potential problems early as well.

Need help?

If you need assistance protecting your wooden structures in your home, windmill, property, or historical heritage site, we are here to help. With years of expertise, we offer various solutions for both private and commercial clients. Interested in how we can assist you?

Feel free to contact Mr. Paul van Luit.

Office: +31 85 04 98 522
Mobile: +31 6 12 570 122
Email: p.vanluit@ews-group.com

Looking back on BMSB season 2022/23: “It has been a successful season”

BMSB behandeling

WERKENDAM, July 2023 – With another BMSB season approaching, carriers, freight forwarders, exporters, and everyone involved in the logistics of goods to Australia and New Zealand, are awaiting the new, perhaps again tightened import regulations for next season. In the calm before the storm, we look back on the past season 2022/2023 with Roy van Hattum, Team Leader EWS Fumigation & Bio Treatment, and Marta Mottin, General Manager. Both work at EWS Group, respectively in the Netherlands and Italy.

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB)

BMSB is the abbreviation for Brown Marmorated Stink Bug, a bug-like insect that was previously not known to occur in Europe. Marta remembers the arrival of the insect to Italy very well. “The bug was first observed in the Reggio Emilia region”, she says. “It caused enormous damage to crops. After consultation with various universities in both Europe and Asia, it turned out to be the BMSB that had apparently ‘hitchhiked’ from China to Europe in a container. The insect had no natural enemies here, so the population grew too large too quickly and eventually posed a threat to harvests. Not only in Italy and on the European continent, but also for other countries where the bug is not a native species.”

Approved Offshore BMSB Treatment Provider

Among other countries, this is the case in Australia and New Zealand. Both countries are doing everything they can to prevent the creature from entering the country in the first place. They therefore require that incoming goods that fall into a certain risk category and are shipped from certain risk countries between 1 September and 30 April undergo BMSB treatment. This treatment must take place prior to shipment and may only be conducted by ‘Approved Offshore BMSB Treatment Providers’. EWS Group is such an approved treatment provider. Roy has his hands full managing it all.

A successful BMSB season 2022/2023

When it comes to looking back on last season, he gets straight to the point: “I have to say that it was a very successful season indeed in which we have been able to handle many different types of goods. In the Netherlands, we have our permanent location at the BCTN terminal in Alblasserdam where we conduct the two possible BMSB treatments. Containers are fumigated, and breakbulk goods such as cars, tractors, engines, etc. undergo heat treatment.”

BMSB treatments throughout Europe

However, EWS Group is not tied to one location. The company has branches throughout Europe and can perform both fumigation and heat treatment in many countries. Italy also looks back on a great BMSB season. Marta adds: “More and more European countries are added to the list of risk countries. This means that we see an increase in the number of goods that leave Europe via the Italian ports to find their way to Australia and New Zealand.”

Support from A to Z

Both fumigation and heat treatment are approved treatment methods. Regardless of the type of treatment, meticulous procedures are involved. EWS knows the way. Roy explains: “We support the customer from A to Z. We arrange the location, provide the goods with seals and documentation, and take care of the on-carriage. In addition, we ensure that the Record of Fumigation is uploaded in the Australia or New Zealand portals. This way, the government authorities of both countries have access to all processes.”

Flying colours

“And for good reason, so we’ve discovered”, Roy says with a smile. “Last season we were honoured with a visit from delegates from the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries for an inspection. They really controlled everything! Our canisters, the PPE, the materials, our procedures, the treatment methods, the way we document them, the gas concentrations, you name it!” He continues with pride: “We passed with flying colours!”

Confident

Both Roy and Marta look forward to the BMSB season 2023/2024 with confidence. “With the experience we have gained in recent years, and the teams that are at full strength in all countries, we are ready to go, full speed ahead!”, Marta says enthusiastically. “Of course, we can only really speak of a good season when the BMSB has stayed outside the borders of Australia and New Zealand”, she concludes.

Any questions?

Want to know how we can serve you in the upcoming BMSB season? This is where you can read more already, but also, please do not hesitate to contact our advisor Paul van Luit at +31 85 0498522. We look forward to collaborating with you!

BMSB risk season 2022-23 | What’s new?

Brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB)

On Tuesday 23 August last, EWS Group attended an online information session in anticipation of Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) risk season 2022-23. It was organized by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry of Australia and the Ministry for Primary Industries of New Zealand, the departments that are responsible for keeping BMSB out of their respective countries.

BMSB, what is it again?

BMSB is short for brown marmorated stink bug and is an agricultural, horticultural and social pest. This hitchhiker pest originates from Asia and has spread throughout North America and Europe in recent years. It can be found seeking shelter from cold weather in crevices or protected areas of shipping containers, vehicles, boats, caravans, machinery and personal stored items.

The risk of it arriving on cargo and containers in Australia and New Zealand is particularly high between September and April, coinciding with late autumn and winter in the northern hemisphere. The responsible government bodies of Australia and New Zealand require BMSB treatment of certain goods in order to minimize the risk of it becoming a major biosecurity concern.

BSMB treatment

BMSB is an agricultural pest

BMSB treatment needs to be conducted on target high risk goods manufactured in or shipped from target risk countries, exported from 1st September 2022 up to arrival in Australia and New Zealand on or before 30ieth April 2023, and to vessels that berth, load, or tranship from target risk countries within the same period. Approved treatment options include heat treatment and fumigation.

BMSB treatment providers

The information session was attended by treatment providers, both new and renewing, approved to conduct treatments against BMSB under the Offshore BMSB Treatment Providers Scheme. The respective departments informed attendees about the updated measures for the upcoming season and emphasized the key role the industry plays in helping to keep Australia and New Zealand free from BMSB. The measures taken in the past years have proven to be successful.

Updated seasonal measures

Now, in order to maintain successful results, Australia and New Zealand continuously review the measures throughout the season and may make necessary adjustments based on detections of BMSB and changes in the risk pathways. Currently, new seasonal measures for BMSB risk season 2022-23 include the following.

Heat treatment
  • Emerging risk countries – China and UK only
  • Chapters 39, 94 and 95 will be subject to random inspections for emerging risk countries

A full update can be found under this leading link.

Teamwork

The session was concluded with a big thank you to the industry. It requires teamwork to keep the BMSB out of Australia and New Zealand. And that’s exactly what we offer you: teamwork! EWS Group is an approved BMSB treatment provider for both heat treatment and fumigation with a vast experience in the two fields. We would gladly team up with you to make sure your questions about shipment to Australia and New Zealand during BMSB risk season are answered and that you are provided with the right treatment and certificates complying with the requirements as set out in the scheme, allowing for carefree shipment.

Any questions?

Should you have any questions or seek technical advice, please do not hesitate to contact our BMSB expert Dennis van der Leeden.

Approved BMSB treatment provider

Office: +31 85 04 98 522
Mobile: +31 6 829 77 111
Email: d.vanderleeden@ews.group.com

We look forward to working together with you!

Lineas and EWS Group double fumigation capacity in Port of Antwerp

Antwerp, 15 October 2020 – EWS Group, that specializes in fumigation and gas measurement, together with Lineas, the largest private rail freight operator in Europe, will double the fumigation capacity at the Main Hub in Antwerp. This enables them to meet the strongly increased demand for lumber transport from Europe to China. Every week more than 3.000 containers of wood pass through the Main Hub, double of last year’s 1.000 – 1.500 containers per week.

Hundreds of thousands of containers lumber leave Europe for China every year, where it is processed into chipboard and furniture. This wood comes from German production forests, that have recently become infested with the bark beetle, increasing the speed at which the trees need to be cut.

The wood travels by rail or truck to the Port of Antwerp. The fumigation process then neutralizes the beetles. Fumigation, also known as the quarantine treatment, is mandatory for wood to be transported to China.

After a treatment of 24 hours, the containers can continue their journey. Thanks to a railway connection with the fumigation zone, the containers are brought straight to the deep-sea quays on Lineas’ so-called LORO and RORO trains. They run several times a day to the deep-sea quays on the Port of Antwerp’s Left Bank and Right Bank.

Due to the increased demand from China, Lineas and EWS Group have doubled their capacity on the Main Hub. The cooperation started in 2017 with two zones for twenty 40ft containers. The terminal will now be extended to four zones for twenty 40ft containers.

About EWS Group

EWS Group is the specialist and innovative partner for all forms of pest control, fumigation, gas measurements, ventilation and bio treatment of goods in storage.

The headquarters of EWS Group is located in Werkendam, the Netherlands. In addition to the headquarters in the Netherlands, EWS has several European branches in Belgium, France, Austria, Italy, England, Spain and Germany.

The mission of EWS Group is to remove the customer’s concerns about bioinfections and hygiene risks. Our vision is to realize, together with our employees, a leading position in the industry through cooperation, innovations and transparent agreements with clients. EWS Group takes into account the effects of our business operations on people, environment and society.

About Lineas

Lineas is the largest private rail freight operator in Europe with its headquarters in Belgium and branches in France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and Spain. 

The company’s mission is to provide rail products and services of such quality that customers shift the transportation of their goods from road to rail in order to improve their supply chain and reduce the negative impact of their operations on climate, mobility and air quality.

Lineas’ main product is the Green Xpress Network, which provides fast and reliable rail connections between Belgium and major European hubs on a daily basis. It bundles different types of freight into a single train. The GXN offer was launched in 2014 and already has 20 connections.

Lineas employs more than 2,100 people and has a fleet of more than 250 locomotives and 7,000 wagons. The company’s shareholders are the independent private equity group Argos Wityu together with the management of Lineas (90%) and NMBS (10%).

www.lineas.net

EWS expands capacity for the upcoming BMSB season

The “brown marmorated stink bug” or BMSB, the insect from Asia – but now also standing in the most parts of Europe – causes great damage to various crops.

Australia and New Zealand have imposed strict requirements against BMSB for container goods imported from September 1, 2020 through May 31, 2021.

These goods must be treated by fumigation or Heat Treatment.

Australia and New Zealand adjust the measures to be taken each year, but EWS has already prepared for a major capacity increase pending the coming season.

EWS has set up locations in several European countries and ports where treatments can take place.

Thinking of handling breakbulk, cars, containers and general cargo. EWS Group offers the solution for every object and / or volume!

Learn more about our BMSB treatments solutions.

Bark beetle damages woords

The bark beetle is causing much damage to the woods. Contaminated trees are dangerous and that’s why they have to be cut down and disposed of. The cut down wood can definitely be used afterwards, but of course, is has to be free of insects. For this, the wood must be treated. After treatment, an official certificate has to be issued in order to export the wood. The treatment can be carried out by means of fumigation and has to be carried out by a specialist. The Fumigation division of EWS Group executes these treatments, issues the right certificate and can unburden the client by organising transport to the right export terminal. We do this from one of our specially structured locations in The Netherlands. For more information, you can visit our website, or contact us.

Two new fumigation supervisors for EWS Group!

After three successful theoretic exams, Marlon and Paul officially are Fumigation Supervisor. With subjects like biology, knowledge of legislation, environment, import and export requirements, it was a challenging route with a fantastic reward. Of course this was a good reason for some flowers from EWS. On the picture from left to right: Randolph van der Veen (Examiner CPMV), Marlon, Wouter Edelman (Operations Manager Fumigation) and Paul.

Guys: you worked hard for it, congratulations and on to many successful and safe treatments under your supervision!

Mannen: jullie hebben er hard voor gewerkt, van harte gefeliciteerd en op naar vele succesvolle en veilige behandelingen onder jullie leiding!

BMSB export measures; how can we help you?

EWS Fumigation visited the Europort 2019 fair in AHOY Rotterdam to advise companies exporting to Australia or New Zealand regarding the export rules. Risk goods (for example machinery, cars etc.) have to be treated against the BMSB (Brown Marmorated Stink Bug) before they are exported. Supporting and promoting Dutch companies, including the port of Rotterdam, is a big part of EWS Group. Would you like to know how we can be of service with regard to the BMSB? Go to BMSB treatment or contact us!

Another new fumigation area for EWS Fumigation

After a successful launch of the new fumigation area at Koninklijke van der Wees group in Dordrecht, another one has been opened at the CTU Terminal in Tiel.  Wouter Edelman, Operations Manager Fumigation EWS Group (left on the photo) en Gerwin van Dommelen, Terminalmanager CTU Tiel (right on the photo) sealed this exclusive partnership onsite. With this new fumigation area, EWS Group further expands in order to keep up with the increasing demand for successful quarantine treatments of export containers. Examples of this are the treatment of wood logs designated for China and the BMSB treatment of export containers to Australia and New Zealand.

EWS Group opens new fumigation area in Dordrecht

More and more quarantine treatments are requested to get rid of unwanted insects. In order to process all container treatments in time, multiple fumigation areas are necessary. On October the 17th, EWS Fumigation yet again opened a fumigation area. At the site of the Koninklijke van der Wees group, fumigations in sea containers are executed regularly. Examples of this are the treatment of wood logs designated for China and the BMSB treatment of export containers to Australia and New Zealand. The partnership is completed by our logistic partner HTS Group. They will make sure that the containers are shipped to the export terminals. The starting signal was given by Fumigation Supervisor Roy van Hattum (EWS Group / left on the photo), Operations Manager Fumigation Wouter Edelman (EWS Group / in the middle on the photo) and Coordinator Logistics Marcel de Jong (van der Wees group / right on the photo).