Deathwatch beetles force charity to appeal for cash

PUBLISHED: 05:55 13 July 2006 | UPDATED: 09:35 24 May 2010

MILLIONS of tiny insects have caused thousands of pounds worth of damage at an historic residential home in Wedmore. The deathwatch beetles have eaten away at the 18th century East Court care home's timber roof rafters, wooden window lintels and floorboar

MILLIONS of tiny insects have caused thousands of pounds worth of damage at an historic residential home in Wedmore.The deathwatch beetles have eaten away at the 18th century East Court care home's timber roof rafters, wooden window lintels and floorboards.Owner, the Orchard Vale Trust, has spent £70,000 treating the problem in the attic and ground floor since 2000.The charity, which provides residential care for people with learning difficulties, is now trying to raise £82,000 to have the first-floor of the building treated with pesticides and repair the damage.Trust chief executive Bob Freebury said: "The deathwatch beetle problem is quite serious. "It's an on going problem and we've raised around £60,000 to have it treated so far, but we need to raise more."It's hard to go back to people and ask for money for this as it's an ongoing problem and a huge cost to us."We're always trying to raise more money as the work will take more than three years to complete."Deathwatch beetles grow to about 7mm and tend to live in mature wood.They eat the wood, leaving thousands of exit holes measuring around 2mm in the timber.The Trust was founded in 1985 by two families who had sons with Downs Syndrome.East Court was the charity's first and largest home and celebrated its 20th anniversary this year.Three others have been set up between 1991 and 1998 to provide care for 31 people.

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