Do I suffer from woodworms?
Some are familiar with the term, while others have never been bothered by it: woodworms. These pests can cause a lot of damage. Especially if you are insufficiently informed about how to recognize them and what to do about them.
What is a woodworm?
To recognize woodworms, you first need to have a good understanding of what they actually are. A woodworm is not a specific animal: it is a collective name for different types of larvae that live in wood. These larvae bore their way through wood and can cause considerable damage to your wooden furniture, floors or roof structures. They are even capable of destroying them completely.
Woodworms are larvae: small worms with a creamy color. Should you ever be able to see them up close, you will see that the body of the woodworm is wrinkled and it has a black head. The appearance of woodworms can be compared to that of maggots: very distasteful.
There are several species of woodworms, but two species are best known in the Netherlands: the larvae of common woodworm beetles and large woodworm beetles. Both beetle species belong to the dry wood borers, which means that their larvae attack dry wood. The common woodworm beetle has a dark brown cover shield and develops larvae six millimeters long. The large woodworm beetle has a dark brown cover shield with yellow spots and gets slightly larger larvae measuring eleven millimeters.
How do I recognize woodworms?
Now that you know what woodworms are, it is important that you have a good understanding of how to recognize them. They are not difficult to recognize, but you need to know exactly what to look for:
Small holes in wooden surfaces. As soon as you spot small holes in your wooden furniture, floor or construction, there is a very good chance that you are suffering from woodworms. Often they also leave behind boron flour: in this case, the woodworms are still active and you need to take action quickly.
Presence of woodworm beetles. Once you have spotted the common or large woodworm beetles in a room with wooden objects, there is a very good chance that larvae are also present or coming.
What can I do myself to control woodworms?
Once you have recognized woodworms, it is a matter of taking action to eradicate them. Of course, you don’t want them to have enough time to destroy your wooden furniture, floors or structures. To fight woodworms yourself, you can take the following steps:
- Extreme cold or heat. Woodworms cannot withstand extreme cold and heat. Once you recognize woodworms in a small wooden object, you can choose to freeze it in a freezer of at least -18 degrees Celsius. You can also heat small wooden objects in an oven. Putting the object in the oven for half an hour at 55 degrees Celsius will eradicate the woodworms.
- Pesticides. There are several pesticides available on the market for controlling woodworm. These are often sprays with poison, which you apply to the wooden surface. Be careful with these pesticides: they are dangerous to your health if used incorrectly.
Should this form of control fail, or if you prefer not to risk yourself, fortunately there are plenty of professionals who recognize and fight woodworms. They always have the right methods and means to safely eradicate these woodworms.
How do I prevent woodworms?
If you have not yet detected woodworms in your home, it is important that you know what to do to prevent these larvae from attacking your wooden surfaces. After all, prevention is better than cure. You can then take the following steps:
- As soon as you buy new wooden items, you should check them for woodworms. Think of antiques, new furniture, wooden art objects as well as firewood. Don’t give woodworms a chance to strike.
- Treat wooden objects with lacquer, stain or paint. Woodworms do not like treated wooden objects, so they will leave them alone.
- Prevent wooden objects from getting damp. Heating will cause the wood to become soft and dry, which will cause woodworms to nest. So keep a close eye that you do not put the wooden object in a damp environment.
- Preventively treat wooden objects with woodworm pesticide. This way, you won’t give woodworm beetles a chance to lay eggs.