There is nothing more unfortunate than small holes in your beautiful wood. They are often perfect round holes of only 2 millimeters in diameter. And when you examine the wood, you often see nothing but holes. The woodworm makes these holes. How can you get out of here? How can you fight woodworm?
You can fight woodworm yourself by treating them with, for example, ammonia or vinegar. You can also freeze the wood to -20 degrees Celsius, place it in the oven, and heat it to 55 degrees Celsius. But this is not all. There are several ways to treat woodworm.
This is briefly explained what you can do to fight woodworm. There is, however, a little more to it! Some methods work well, and some ways only work on thin wood. What you can do yourself to control woodworm and how to tackle this is discussed in this article. But first, you need to know what woodworm exactly is. Only then can we get started to fight woodworm.
What is Woodworm?
Woodworm is not a worm, and they are larvae of the wood beetle. The wood beetle itself does not live in the wood. It is the larvae of the beetle that cause the damage.
The larvae are tiny, no larger than a millimeter or two. They drill their way through the wood, and this is where the small holes are. If the larvae are allowed to run freely, they can cause great damage to the wood, which will eventually rot.
The larvae will eventually fledge and become beetles, but once the larvae have laid eggs in the wood, 20-60 at a time, you won’t get rid of them quickly. You will have to fight the woodworm to kill the larvae and their eggs.
You will encounter the wood beetle larvae in soft, dry, untreated wood. You often see them in furniture, floors, and roof constructions. If they have affected a load-bearing structure, you must take immediate action before accidents occur.
Kindly call a professional if you’re not sure what to do. These pest controllers know their business and can give you excellent advice on combating woodworm.
How to Fight Woodworm yourself
You have to get rid of woodworm if you want to keep the wood in good condition. If it has been going on for years, you will see many small holes on the surface of the wood, and then you have to ask yourself whether it still makes sense to fight the woodworm yourself. The construction or your object probably no longer has the strength of the original wood.
There are ways to fight woodworm yourself, and one way is more effective than the other. Below are ways to fight woodworm, including the treatment method and the final effect.
If you do not want to go for this ‘home-garden-and-kitchen’ method, you can always purchase a product that is specially made to control woodworm.
If you have treated the wood in one of the ways below, check the wood for wood dust in the coming weeks. If the larvae have not died from the treatment, they will continue where they left off, and you should see wood dust around the object. You can also hear them gnawing.
1. Get rid of Woodworm with Ammonia
To get straight to the point, this is one of the better ways to fight woodworm yourself. It is an effective means to apply yourself and does not involve any major risks.
Be careful with oak. It is better not to use ammonia. The tannic acid in oak will react with the ammonia, giving you a color difference. Ammonia is often used to make oak wood look old. If you do not want this, do not use ammonia on oak.
Ammonia for sale in the supermarket is a diluted solution and good to use to fight woodworm. What are you going to do?
- Check the wood and determine where the woodworm is in the wood.
- Sand the wood and remove all dust.
- Now apply a lot of ammonia to the wood and ensure it runs well into the holes. Apply it with a cloth and fill the holes with the ammonia.
- The wood will absorb the ammonia and only penetrate the wood superficially. So apply even more ammonia to the wood the first time it absorbs it, allowing it to seep into the holes.
- If you have a syringe with a thin tip, you can use it to fill the holes with ammonia. This way, you can be sure that it gets into all the holes and that all the larvae are dead.
If you don’t have a syringe, you can use a plant sprayer, set it to ‘jet mode’, and carefully spray it into the holes.
If all goes well, the woodworm has now been controlled. You can only use this method for wood that is not too thick. This is not the appropriate method for thick construction piles, for example.
Be careful because ammonia smells very strong and can cause a nuisance to the airways.
2. Fighting Woodworm with Vinegar
Another method of combating woodworm is using something that everyone has in their home, which is vinegar.
This is also an effective way to fight woodworm as long as the planks are not too thick; otherwise, they cannot penetrate to the core. The larvae can hide deep in the wood, hence!
- Check the wood and determine which parts to treat.
- Sand the wood and then make it dust-free.
- Now apply the vinegar to the wood. Do this with a cloth and rub it in well.
- Again you can use a syringe with a thin tip to fill each hole. You can also use a plant sprayer for this.
- Make sure vinegar has seeped into every hole to kill all the larvae.
The vinegar will not kill the larvae, but the smell will make them come out of the holes and not crawl back.
3. Treating Woodworm with Methylated Spirits
The next method to combat woodworm is to use methylated spirits. The operation and application are done in the same way as described above.
This product can also only be used for thin wooden planks, and thick wood cannot be treated with spirits. It is a volatile substance (evaporates quickly) and does not penetrate deeply into the wood.
If the wood has been treated, the larvae will not return quickly because of the smell.
You can fight woodworm with methylated spirits but it is certainly not the best way to do it.
4. Fighting Woodworm with Petroleum
Petroleum is again a perfect product to combat woodworm. Immediately the larvae come into contact with this, they die. Treating the wood several times in succession with petroleum can penetrate deeper into the wood than, for example, spirits.
- Clean the wood and check the wood for woodworm.
- Sand the wood and then make it dust-free.
- Apply the petroleum to the wood and spread it over the wood. This will now soak into the wood.
- Apply kerosene again and make sure it can seep into all the holes.
- To fill holes with petroleum, you can use a thin syringe or possibly a plant sprayer.
- The better the holes are filled, the better the control.
This method is also suitable for thinner wood, but it does soak into the wood better than methylated spirits. As with many substances of a chemical nature, ensure good ventilation and protect yourself.
5. Fighting Woodworm With Professional Products
There are many professional woodworm pesticides for sale in the market.
Each product has its effect on woodworm and its processing instructions. These products are made to fight woodworm themselves, so they work. Again, consider the thickness of the wood, read the instructions carefully, and process it according to the regulations.
6. Get Rid of Woodworm in The Freezer
Fighting woodworm by putting them in the freezer is an effective way to kill woodworm. Unfortunately, not all of us have a large freezer, but if you do, you can put the object or shelves and beams in the freezer. There are a few points to keep in mind. However, these are:
- Make sure the object is quickly frozen to a temperature of at least -20 degrees Celsius.
- Leave the wood in the freezer for at least a week to achieve the right effect. The core of the object also becomes -20 degrees Celsius.
- If the freezing is too slow, the larvae retreat and make themselves small, making them more resistant to the cold, and there is a possibility that the control is not effective enough.
- Let the wooden object slowly return to average temperature. In other words, increase the temperature in the freezer in a few steps and only then take it out of the freezer. This is to prevent moisture problems in the wood.
If done correctly, this is a perfect way to fight woodworm without any weird-smelling remedies.
7. Get rid of Woodworm with Heat
The larvae of the wood beetle also do not tolerate heat well. So heat is also a way to control woodworm itself.
The side effect of this application is that it is not suitable for all objects. And if you do it yourself in your kitchen oven, you can only treat small wooden objects with this method.
The oven must have a minimum temperature of 55 degrees Celsius to kill the larvae and eggs. Leave the wooden object in the oven for at least an hour so that the core of the wood is also at least 55 degrees Celsius. Do not raise the temperature above 80 degrees Celsius; otherwise, the wood may be damaged and crack.
It is better to go for freezing the wood than for the heat because freezing is more effective.
If the woodworm is well controlled, the next thing to do is treat the wood to prevent woodworm.
Woodworm is not fond of wood that has undergone treatment. It doesn’t how when the was treated last. Think of putting it in oil, staining, painting, and impregnating. As long as it is treated, you will not get woodworm back.
Read also: How to Age Wood with Vinegar, Soda or Stain