How To Get Rid of a Woodworm Infestation
So, you have noticed signs of a woodworm infestation in your furniture, or even worse, in your house substructures, and started actively searching for a solution. And this is the right decision! You see, most of the time, people notice the infestation in its late stages, meaning that the initial damage to the wood has already been caused.
In order to prevent the further spread of these pests, you have to take immediate action. And this is what today’s post is dedicated to - to help you understand what causes the infestation to appear and how to get rid of the woodworms once and for all.
What is Woodworm, and Why is it in my Furniture?
First things first - we need to know what a woodworm is. As you might know, a woodworm is the larval stage of any wood-boring beetle. Before emerging in the summer season, beetles spend several years in a larval form. During that period of their life, they feed on wood, subsequently damaging your property. When the woodworm is ready to pupate, it creates a chamber around itself and transforms into a beetle. Only when the beetle is fully developed, we start seeing the infestation signs as they leave their habitat. But why have they chosen your house in the first place?
The answer is quite simple - warmth and moisture. These pests love damp environments, as they provide the best conditions for further development. Rotten timber becomes a perfect snack to munch on during their growth. And if the wooden structures have mould or mildew on them, then it’s easier for the larvae to burrow deeper. So, if your dwelling has poor ventilation or lousy insulation, you need to implement preventative measures against woodworms.
However, beetles don’t choose decaying wood only. Untreated furniture without varnish can become a target of woodworm abuse as well. These pests prefer to lay their eggs on surfaces that have cracks and holes. If, over time, your furniture starts losing its shine, make sure to paint, wax, or varnish it to prevent a possible infestation.
How Do You Treat a Woodworm Infestation in Furniture?
- Step 1. Identify an active infestation.
There are three main signs of a woodworm infestation - small holes in the furniture or any other wooden fixtures, piles of dust under infested timber, and beetles, either dead or alive. Some species create taping sounds during their mating period. If you are not sure whether the infestation is active, you can try attaching a piece of paper on the previously affected area. When the beetles emerge, they will eat up the paper, leaving small 1-2 mm holes in it.
- Step 2. Don’t rush with throwing away the furniture.
Sometimes, the infestation is not as bad as you think. The damage might have been caused earlier when the infestation was active. But it does not necessarily mean that it still is. The beetles tend to move in search of the most suitable living conditions. Just like people with rental properties. And in this case, you might need treatment only in the specific area.
However, if you feel that the damaged piece of furniture is no longer stable and crumbles, then you might need to get rid of it.
- Step 3. Decide whether you need professional help.
Professional care is needed only when you suspect severe damage, like infested wooden floors or structure of the house. Small and local types of infestation, like a single piece of furniture, you can handle by yourself with the help of a commercial solution or DIY woodworm treatment. However, you have to keep in mind that commercial solutions are quite toxic and can be dangerous for kids and pets if used improperly. That is why you have to take all the safety measures you can while working with them.
- Step 4. Implement preventative measures.
After you have cleared your wood from woodworm, it is crucial to treat it to avoid the reappearance of the problem. Use wood preservatives to prevent future infestations.
DIY Woodworm Treatment
So, if you are entirely sure that you want to treat the woodworm yourself, we have prepared some frequently used treatment methods. Even though not all of them are naturally-based, they are proven to work.
Insecticides have been proving their effectiveness for many years. The same applies to woodworm treatments, or woodworm killers, as some manufacturers call them.
The main ingredient, Permethrin, paralyses and exterminates the insects inside your furniture. Therefore, if you see that ingredient on the list, you can be sure that it will work.
However, it has its side effects. Permethrin is quite toxic to children and pets. After the application, your furniture should stay untouched until it is fully dry. It’s only safe to use after drying completely.
Some treatments require removing any polish, wax or paint from the furniture prior to the application. Make sure to check the instructions before implementing any DIY care.
Treating woodworms with vinegar is effective if you don’t want to kill the larvae. The solution will only force them to leave the furniture. If you are searching for a non-toxic woodworm treatment, this is your choice.
Mix white vinegar with water in 1:1 proportion and spray it on the furniture. The acid will start irritating the larvae, and they will begin searching for the way out.
The most significant disadvantage of this solution is the damage that the acid might cause to the furniture. Moreover, vinegar has a strong odour, which can cause irritation.
Boron is widely used as a natural solution for woodworm treatment. It is relatively easy to apply and does not leave unpleasant smells.
Boron powder should be dissolved in water, to make a 5% solution. For example, for 1 litre of water, you will need 50 grams of the powder.
Apply two coats of the solution with a sponge or a brush. The first layer should be left to dry thoroughly; only then can you apply the second one.
How to Protect Your Furniture from a Woodworm Infestation
To prevent your furniture from a woodworm infestation, you have to remember several things:
- Control the humidity in your house. The wood should be dry. Any wood that has humidity levels above 20% is considered to be potentially suitable for woodworms.
- Check for infestation signs when purchasing antique furniture. You never know where a particular piece of furniture has been kept before it got into your house.
- Get rid of the infected furniture pieces. Let’s face it; if you throw away one chair, it will cost you less than changing floorboards that got damaged because of a poorly treated infestation.
Don’t hesitate to call pest control specialists. People tend to underestimate the damage that they might have. It is never harmful to ask for professional help.
- Woodworms are attracted to warmth and damp places;
- They can destroy your furniture;
- DIY treatments are not effective enough;
- Chemical treatments can have some positive results but they are quite toxic to family and pets.
- The most effective and long-lasting treatment is done by professionals as they have the best solutions, know-how and the necessary experience.