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How to Deal with Woodworm

Photo by: Bigstockphoto
Photo by: Bigstockphoto

Woodworms are wood-eating larvae of beetles. Considered as pests, all woodworms consume wood until they reach maturity. Adult beetles lay eggs on or under the surface of a wooden item. When the eggs hatch into grubs, the critters will bury themselves deeper into the wood by feeding on the wooden item.

Unfortunately, as the woodworm grows, the infested wooden items could become weak, showing holes that are typically 1mm to 1.5mm in diameter. This cycle of nesting and feeding on wooden items is repeated several times until the wooden item weakens and gives in to its own weight. To protect your wooden furniture from being destroyed by woodworms, it is important to consider these tips:

Consult an Expert

Not all species of woodworms are harmful to wooden furniture. Our advice is to consult with a professional entomologist to determine if the woodworm is indeed destructive before treating the timber. Most pest control services offer insect identification service. Just call your local pest control agency and have their experts take a look at the affected area.

Checking for Pests

To prevent paying hundreds of dollars repairing woodworm-eaten wooden items or treating timber, you have to make your home less attractive to adult beetles. Again, adult beetles tend to repeat the cycle of laying eggs and nesting in unprotected wooden items so to break the cycle; you have to protect these areas first.

Our advice is to cover old holes by painting them over with a coat of emulsion or sticking masking tape to prevent adult beetles from nesting. Check regularly to see if any beetles have emerged from the sealed holes to determine if the wood is infested with active woodworm.

Test the Humidity

Woodworms thrive in humid, dank environments. To test your timber for pests, check the humidity of your woodwork using a wood moisture meter. The meter, which is available in most hardware stores, features a probe that you will insert into the timber for a moisture content reading. Ideally, the moisture content must not reach 20%. Woodworm prefers woodwork with a moisture content of over 18% but it could tolerate moisture content as low as 12%.

If the moisture reading is 11% and below, a woodworm infestation is less likely to occur.  Woodwork with low moisture content has very little chance of an infestation. And if a woodworm infestation would occur, the colony will die out much more quickly due the lack of moisture.

Keep Humidity Level to a Minimum

Ultimately, the longevity of your woodwork will depend on the humidity level of the area. High humidity levels could soften the wood, making it vulnerable to nesting pests. To keep the humidity level stable, keep your home well ventilated at all times.

Remove Infested Wood

You don’t have to remove all timber items in your woodwork to keep burrowing pests at bay. Just remove pieces of furniture or non-structural timber that are infested with woodworm to keep the colony under control. Always treat the area to prevent adult beetles from nesting.

Trap Nesting Pests

We highly recommend installing flytraps in various areas of the woodwork to trap and kill adult beetles. This goes especially during the summer months when adult beetles come out to nest.

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