Woodworms are a big problem because, if not eradicated in time, they can cause serious damage to furniture and, in the case of ceiling beams, also cause structural damage to the house. To eliminate woodworms there are various systems, many of which are also natural.
- 1 What are woodworms?
- 2 How do woodworms form in furniture?
- 3 How long does the woodworm live in wood?
- 4 How to spot the presence of woodworms
- 5 Worm woodworm noise
- 6 Why do woodworms come in furniture?
- 7 When do woodworms fly?
- 8 How do woodworms die?
- 9 Woodworms: how to eliminate them
- 10 Prevention
- 11 What wood is not attacked by woodworms?
- 12 Do woodworms attack humans?
- 13 More on this topic
What are woodworms?
Before we dive into eradication methods, it’s crucial to understand your enemy. Woodworms are not worms at all, but rather the larval stage of various wood-boring beetles. Different species of wood-boring beetles have varying habits and lifecycles, making it important to identify the specific type infesting your wood. The most common wood-boring beetles include the common furniture beetle, deathwatch beetle, and powderpost beetle. Identifying the species will help determine the appropriate treatment method.
Types of woodworms
The most frequent types of woodworms encountered by homeowners typically include:
- Common Furniture Beetle (Anobium punctatum): This woodworm is one of the most common and widespread species, often infesting wooden furniture, flooring, and structural elements.
- Deathwatch Beetle (Xestobium rufovillosum): Although less common than the common furniture beetle, deathwatch beetles can cause significant damage to older wooden structures, particularly in damp environments.
- Powderpost Beetle (Lyctidae and Bostrichidae family members): Powderpost beetles are known for infesting hardwoods and are more common in certain geographic regions. They create fine, powdery frass.
- House Longhorn Beetle (Hylotrupes bajulus): House longhorn beetles primarily infest softwood timbers, such as roof timbers and floorboards. They are less common, but can be reallydestructive.
The prevalence of these woodworms can vary depending on factors like geographical location, wood type, and environmental conditions.
How do woodworms form in furniture?
It all starts because females lay their larvae inside wooden furniture through small holes of about 1 mm, dug by the males. The larvae feed on the wood and thus grow. Once they become adults, they begin their journey outward.
How long does the woodworm live in wood?
On average, an adult woodworm lives about 3 weeks. During this time, it mates and the females lay eggs in the wood.
How to spot the presence of woodworms
Recognizing the signs of a woodworm infestation is crucial for early intervention. Look out for small round exit holes (1-2mm in diameter) on the wood’s surface. You may also notice fine powdery dust known as frass around these holes.
Additionally, damaged wood might have a pitted appearance due to the tunnels created by woodworm larvae. Keep an eye out for these telltale signs, especially in areas with high humidity, as woodworms prefer moist conditions.
Worm woodworm noise
Some woodworm species, when gnawing on wood, emit that typical rhythmic ticking sound. To detect the presence of woodworms, it can therefore be useful to pay close attention to the noises especially at night, when the various surrounding environmental noises are minimized.
Why do woodworms come in furniture?
As already explained, worms see wood as a source of nourishment and a safe place to lay their eggs. They then settle there because they find ideal conditions for their development to ensure the continuation of their species.
When do woodworms fly?
Ss if creeping into your furniture wasn’t enough, woodworms also fly. That’s why females, after mating, also go to lay eggs in ceiling beams.
How do woodworms die?
Avoiding the use of biocides or other substances, the natural death of woodworms occurs when the temperature reaches 55°C.
Woodworms: how to eliminate them
If you want to carry out pest control, you should rely on professionals who can apply a curative treatment, eliminating eggs, larvae and adult specimens. The most common treatments are:
- Insecticides: Apply a suitable woodworm insecticide directly to affected areas, following the manufacturer’s instructions. This method is effective for localized infestations.
- Boron-based treatments: Boron-based products, like borax, can be effective against woodworms. These products penetrate the wood and kill larvae upon contact.
- For smaller items or pieces of furniture, you can freeze them at a temperature of -20°C (-4°F) for several days to kill woodworm larvae.
- Heat treatment involves raising the affected wood’s temperature to a level that kills woodworm larvae. This method is best left to professionals.
- Neem oil and diatomaceous earth are natural remedies that can help deter woodworms. However, they may not be as effective as chemical treatments for severe infestations.
- Lavender: you can create a solution with 1 liter of water, 250 ml of white vinegar and 2 tablespoons of lavender. Let it sit overnight at room temperature. The next day, soak a sponge in the lavender solution and rub it on the furniture, leaving it to dry naturally. Alternatively, place lavender-scented soapsuds.
It should be pointed out that, even after carrying out these treatments, woodworms can attack wood again. It is therefore also important to carry out preventive treatment as well.
Preventing future woodworm infestations is just as important as getting rid of existing ones. Here are some preventative measures to consider:
Maintain Proper Ventilation
- Ensure good ventilation in your home, as woodworms thrive in damp environments.
- Fix any leaks or sources of excess moisture in your home to discourage woodworms from infesting wood.
- Conduct regular inspections of wooden items and structures, especially in humid areas or during high-risk seasons.
Store Wood Properly
- Store firewood and untreated wood away from your home and off the ground to prevent infestations from spreading.
What wood is not attacked by woodworms?
Some woods are unlikely to be attacked by woodworms. Examples are cherry, beech, poplar, alder, apple, pear, willow, linden and birch woods.
Do woodworms attack humans?
By themselves, woodworms are harmless to humans. However, woodworms can fall prey to the woodworm mite (Pyemotes ventricosus), which feeds on its larvae. Such a mite can harm humans, and its bite manifests as small blisters that cause severe itching.
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