Pest Problems

How to Get Rid of Woodworms in Furniture

What are woodworms?

The woodworm is a type of larva that feeds on wood. The term applies to wood-boring insects in their larval stage. These beetles can completely destroy your favourite wooden fitments if left unchecked. They can chew and burrow into chairs, tables, cupboards, floorboards and more, and almost nothing can stop them. Keep reading to find out how to get rid of woodworms.

So if you:

  1. Have noticed any signs of active woodworms, like fresh frass around furniture, holes and tunnels in timber, crumbling or wood;
  2. Want to save your antique or valuable wood furniture from destruction;
  3. Would like to sell your furniture and want to get rid of the woodworms.

What causes woodworms?

There are many reasons for woodworms to attack your household appliances and furniture, but here are the most likely causes of woodworm infestation:

  • Damp environments: this is the most common reason woodworms infest timber furniture. The pests prefer warm, damp and moist places to hide and live. Rotting timber is easier to drill through and offers favourable conditions to the woodworms, which can cause damage for thousands of pounds.
  • Preferences for different types of wood: Some species of beetles prefer softwoods such as eastern white pine and European spruce. Others would rather feed on hardwoods like oak, cedar, birch or mahogany. So, no matter what type of wood your furniture is made of, it can fall under woodworm infestation.
  • Fungal problems: mould and mildew are the worst nightmares of wooden furniture because they will destroy the structure’s integrity. By this, the timber will get softer, and the woodworms can easily dig into it.
  • The wooden material at your property is not treated: another premise to welcome the unwanted beetles. It’s very important to take care of the furniture, like cleaning it regularly with non-abrasive products, especially when it’s timber.

Signs of woodworm in furniture

You will often see the furniture turning dark from a woodworm infestation, having lots of holes, hearing cracking noises coming from the furniture, and finding one or two live beetles.

How to tell if woodworm is active

It is a common misconception that once you see holes in the wood, it means the woodworm has grown up and left the nest. However, it is possible that the same now grown-up beetle will return to the place it once occupied and lay eggs there. This will make your furniture a breeding ground for these wood-boring insects.

Instead, you should look for an adult carcass, freshly ejected frass, and the number and density of holes.

Get a professional pest inspection!

Hire a professional to inspect and treat your home for woodworms.

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How to get rid of woodworm in furniture

So, after you’ve identified the presence of the beetles, you’re ready to take further action and get rid of them. We’ll cover some DIY non-toxic woodworm treatment methods that might work for your problem.  

Freeze

Place the infested item in the freezer if possible. It’s effective for a furniture item that is small enough to be placed in your freezer. For example, if you have a small table that can be disassembled and fit inside, you can try this method:

  • Wrap it in plastic bags so that the item is well covered.
  • Leave the infested items in the fridge for at least seven days.
  • Take them out and wait to revert back to room temperature, as watermarks can occur.

The risk this method hides is that your furniture might lose its structure and collapse after a while. So, we recommend trying this with high-quality timber and covering it very well with plastic bags.

Heat

Another alternative for treatment without using any chemicals is to submit the affected furniture to heat. What you have to do is to:

  • Isolate all infested wooden items in a small room or a closet and heat the furniture up to 50°-60°C. You can use an electric heater, electric radiator, convection heater, and any other appliance you own.
  • Leave the items heated for at least two hours to completely eradicate the larvae and adult beetles.

Even if this approach is highly efficient, it also hides some dangers. We don’t recommend applying it on antiques and valuable items because you can damage them. Instead, leave this task to experienced specialists.

Keep humidity at low levels

As we’ve mentioned above, beetles love highly moisturized timber. For that reason, keep the humidity at low levels, perfectly at 40-50%, that you can measure with a hygrometer. What you can do is to:

  • Ventilate with the help of exhaust fans;
  • Open windows regularly;
  • Use a dehumidifier;
  • Keep plants that absorb humidity indoors;
  • Leave clothes outside to dry or use a dryer.
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What insecticides to use to treat woodworms in furniture

Boron woodworm treatment

The boron solution is a widely known way to get rid of woodworms in furniture. Unlike many other insecticides, this one is great as it’s a water-based product. Doesn’t leave unpleasant odours and dries quickly into the wood.

Depending on your infested items, the solution will include different amounts of boron and water. If you get powder, you will need around 5% of it relevant to the quantity of water to apply two layers. Leave the first coat to dry well before applying the next one. For example, for 10 sq m, you will need 200grams of the Boron mixed into 5L of water. You can spray the affected surface or apply the solution with a sponge.

Protect yourself with gloves, goggles and a mask and keep your skin away from as you can irritate it.

Permethrin woodworm treatment

This is another popular chemical solution for treating woodworms usually used by professionals. It smells unpleasant. It’s hazardous to pets and can kill beneficial insects. You may find a concentrated product in stores, so before applying, make sure you carefully dilute the insecticide with water. Once again, use safety gloves, mask and goggles while applying the chemical.

Use Borax woodworm treatment

Less popular but efficient to some extent is the Borax. Usually, it’s available as a powder. You need to dilute it with water. It’s up to you how you can use it as a sprayer or a paste

The worst part of the Borax is that it can cause the development of fungus on the timber.

Block woodworm holes

To cover all holes, you can apply glazing shellac. This will hinder the growth of larvae and make their emergence a lot harder.

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Hire a professional woodworm treatment specialist

In conclusion, woodworms are amongst the worst and hardest to treat pests. So, if you cannot deal with the situation on your own because your furniture is too valuable, you can always contact Fantastic Services and book an inspection and woodworm treatment. We can help you in no time with the right equipment and the right specialists.

Need a professional woodworm treatement?

Find a professional to take care of your property.

Add a valid postcode e.g. SE1 2TH

Takeaways

  • Woodworms are not worms but wood-boring beetles
  • They can cause huge irreversible damage to wooden fitments
  • Their presence can be a sign of other problems like high levels of humidity, possible mildew and mould that should be controlled
  • Not all woodworm treatments work well, especially the freezing method, which cannot be applied to the furniture that can’t fit in the freezer.
  • The best way to get rid of woodworms is to hire professional experts who know how to deal with the problem without damaging any of your furniture.

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Did you find our article on how to rid of woodworm helpful? Why not share your thoughts or personal experience with us in the comments below?

Image source: Perutskyi Petro/shutterstock.com

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