How To Get Rid Of Woodworms: The Ultimate Guide
If you have noticed small round holes in your wood furniture or coffee tables, you may have woodworms. They can cause significant damage to your furniture and home. What are woodworms, how do you identify them, and how can you get rid of them?
Woodworms bore holes in wood products and leave behind a powdery residue. They can be treated naturally, with chemicals, or for difficult infestations, professional help may be necessary. It is recommended you seek professional help if you suspect woodworm damage to the structural parts of your home.
Published: November 23, 2022.
Below we will take a closer look at what woodworms are, how to identify them, and how to get rid of their infestation in your home.
What are Woodworms?
Woodworms aren’t actually worms. They are wood-eating larvae of different species of beetles.
They are mostly from the Common Furniture Beetle, but can also come from the Deathwatch, Powder Post, or House Longhorn beetle.
These beetles lay larvae that leave small holes in wood furniture, dressers, flooring, or the beams of your house. They bore into the wood structures and can cause compromise the structural integrity if left untreated.
How to Identify Woodworms
Woodworms are most active between May to October. They will leave sawdust-looking droppings around the holes in the wood. This is not dust but waste from the woodworms. Seeing the holes does not mean the woodworms have left the wood. It is possible new larvae will be present in the wood. Woodworms head toward the light, so signs of their infestation will be present near windows and hatches.
Woodworm larvae are a creamy white color. They are smaller than the tip of a pencil and may be difficult to spot.
Woodworms mature into beetles. If you find beetles in or around your home, this can also point to a woodworm infestation.
Where do They Come From?
Woodworms often enter a home with older furniture or wickerwork. If you purchase any second-hand furniture, inspect it for signs of woodworm damage before bringing it into your home.
If it does show signs of a woodworm infestation, you should not purchase it or bring it into your home.
Adult beetles are also capable of entering your home as well. They will then lay eggs just under the surface of the wood. Woodworm larvae prefer wood with higher moisture content, but it is not necessary.
The larvae will then feed on it before pupating and hatching to mature and repeat the cycle.
How to Treat Woodworms
Woodworms can be treated in a variety of different manners.
It is always recommended to consult a professional before attempting to treat woodworms yourself. The different types of beetles may target different types of wood.
Some may just attack the softer wood found in furniture, while others will attack the hardwoods found in the structures of your house or barn.
Deathwatch beetles can bore deep into the wood and require an injectable as well as a surface treatment. You will need to inject a spray or drill into the wood and inject a paste to rid your home of its infestation.
If there is any damage to the support beams of your home, you will need an inspection to ensure there is no major structural damage.
Treating Woodworm Yourself
If your infestation is limited to a single area or furniture, you can attempt to treat the infestation yourself.
You should attempt to treat it with a low-odor boron liquid pesticide. Ensure you familiarize yourself and follow the instructions found on the packaging. This will repel the woodworms by interfering with their digestive system and lead to their death.
If you are unable to use the pesticide, you can use sticky fly traps. They have had success in catching the beetles and larvae as they attempt to leave the wood. This method usually has a low chance of success because it does not affect the larvae in the wood.
If the treatments do not penetrate the wood, there isn't any guarantee they will kill the woodworm. While they may kill the adult beetles, they will not reach the larvae still inside the structure. Repeated treatments will be necessary to rid your home of the infestation.
Permethrin will be more effective in terminating the woodworm. It is highly toxic and needs to be kept away from children and pets. You will also need a gas mask to protect yourself when you are mixing and applying it. It is sold in concentrated form and will need to be mixed with water before you paint it on the affected area and allow it to dry.
You can also mix it with some sawdust and wood glue until you make a paste. Apply this paste into the holes and wipe off the excess, then allow it to dry. You may want to treat any other wood furniture or wooden structures to ensure they remain free from woodworms in the future.
If you choose not to use harsh chemicals in or around your home, there are natural alternatives to help with your woodworm infestation.
Cleaning with vinegar will encourage woodworms to vacate your home. It will not be able to kill them but make them uncomfortable.
Mix an equal part of vinegar and water in a spray bottle to make a solution to spray on the affected areas.
Acorns release a scent that will attract woodworms. Leave fresh acorns wrapped in a cloth in your home.
When their breeding cycle starts, the beetles will lay their eggs on the cloth, and the larvae will begin to eat the acorns.
After the breeding cycle is over, you can discard the cloth and acorns. This will be a slow method but can help prevent future woodworm outbreaks in your home.
Beeswax can be melted and tinted to match your wood.
Beetles and woodworms hate beeswax, so this will ensure they avoid infecting the treated area.
This will only work temporarily and is not intended as a long-term solution.
Diatomaceous Earth is a naturally occurring sedimentary rock that can be crumbled into a white powder.
It will absorb the liquid from any insects it touches and causes them to die.
Consulting a Professional
If you have a widespread infection, or if your woodworm infection affects the structural parts of your home, you should seek help from a professional.
A chemical treatment will be necessary to rid your home of these pests before they are able to cause even more damage.
Ensure you find a licensed and insured pest control specialist that is experienced in woodworm removal.
You should also get an estimate in writing that will provide you with the cost, treatment method, and duration to rid your home of these unwanted pests.
Woodworm in the Beams of Your Home
If the structural beams of your home have been infested, you will need also need to consult a professional about what would be the best method to repair the damage that has been caused.
An infection by woodworm does not mean that these will need to be replaced. If the damage is limited, it may not compromise the structural integrity of the wood.
Preventing an Infestation
Preventing a woodworm outbreak will be an easier task than dealing with the infestation in the future.
Keeping your home properly ventilated and free from moisture will make your home less attractive to beetles and woodworms.
If you are concerned about the moisture content of the wood in your home, you can find an expensive moisture meter. Any reading over 20 percent should be addressed as it can promote an infestation.
Preventing Woodworms from Spreading
If you do see signs of a woodworm infestation in your home, you will need to take steps to keep the infection from spreading.
It may be necessary to treat unaffected wooden structures with a pesticide or even consider fumigating your home to limit the damage woodworms are able to do to your home.
If you suspect a piece of furniture is the source of a woodworm infestation, getting rid of the piece will minimize and even prevent more future outbreaks of woodworms in your home.
A woodworm infestation can cause significant damage to your furniture or the structure of your home. If you see signs of a woodworm infestation, you should treat it immediately.
There are chemicals and natural methods that will help rid your home of these pests. Severe infestations or infestations in the structure of your home should be treated by a licensed professional to limit the damage to your home.
The best way to deal with a woodworm infestation is through prevention.
Most woodworms are introduced into a home through second-hand furniture that has woodworms living in them. Ensure you inspect any used furniture for signs of woodworm damage before your purchase it or bring it into your home.
You should also keep your home free from excessive moisture, which will attract a beetle looking to lay its eggs.