The wooden furniture gives a warm and cosy feeling to the home. Although that rustic style is appreciated in country houses, it is also common to see this type of decoration in urban homes. Insects, fungi and algae are some of the external factors that can threaten the integrity and appearance of wooden furniture, Its main enemy being woodworm.
Preventing the appearance of these dangers or combating their presence does not require much science, thanks to the fact that there are currently different commercial products with easily applied insecticidal and fungicidal properties. These products, known as preservatives can be applied before or after the installation of the wood, to create a protective layer that prevents the penetration and installation of colonies of xylophagous insects.
Today we look at these measures and ultimately how to avoid contact with this pest
Let’s start by defining what woodworm is. It is an insect that comes from the beetle family and feeds on wood. Scientifically it is known as xylophagous, a term that means “wood eaters”. There are thousands of genera of these insects around the world, and they are characterized by having a brown or black colour and measure from 2 to 9 millimetres.
The first symptom that shows the presence of woodworm in the furniture is the appearance of small holes of 10 millimetres in diameter with wood dust around it. The process for woodworm to develop and reproduce takes approximately 3 years, beginning in humid environments with a temperature of 22 degrees.
Cedar, pine, beech, maple and chestnut are the woods least resistant to its attack. They generally inhabit already worked dead wood such as antique furniture, beams, windows, doors, and cabinets. The types of wood that are most resistant to insects such as woodworm or moth are acacia, juniper or mahogany.
How to treat woodworm in furniture
If you have already verified that one of your furniture is infected by this pest, it is advisable to isolate it so that it does not spread to the rest of the decorative objects.
Eliminating woodworm is a task that requires dedication, but it is necessary to emphasize that one of the main causes that generate its appearance is the use of cheap wood such as sapwood. It is the external part of the trunk of the tree where they tend to stay most frequently. That is why, even in new furniture, it is possible to observe termites.
Once the wood moth is discovered, you must apply these methods to eradicate this “annoying tenant” in your home:
To kill termites, liquid poison is usually applied to each of the holes with the help of a syringe or needle. For the substance to properly penetrate the wood, the furniture can be hit beforehand, so that the sawdust that could be covering said holes is released.
If the furniture has holes on the entire surface, it is advisable to apply the insecticide and then wrap it in a plastic bag for approximately 10 days. This so that the product does not evaporate in the air and the presence of any insects is eliminated.
Carbon monoxide is also used to remove woodworm in furniture. This procedure is similar to that of the gas chamber; the furniture is wrapped in a plastic bag and carbon monoxide is applied to kill the plague. This anti-woodworm practice is the one most used by experts to restore antique furniture.
Once we have killed it, we must remove the wood dust or sawdust using a vacuum cleaner. Of course, it will be useful if the problem is not very advanced. On some occasions, if the plague has damaged a large part of the piece, it is necessary to resort to the work of a carpentry expert.
When doing any of these methods or home remedies for woodworm, proceed to paint or varnish the furniture to seal it, this will prevent the plague from penetrating again.
Now you know how to deal with woodworms, it is important to be able to identify their presence in just more than one way. Holes do not appear in woods until a later stage of infestation. Nevertheless, early discovery will go a long way in saving your furniture.
How to know if you have woodworm in your furniture
These coleopteran insects are capable of gnawing on wood producing a noise that is not very perceptible to our ears. However, that noise when chewing or breaking the wood causes a characteristic hole with dust around it.
A piece with cracks, holes, fissures or joints is the perfect medium for an adult female to deposit her eggs, being capable of depositing in some cases up to approximately 80 eggs.
From these eggs, more larvae can hatch which, in turn, will dig new tunnels following the soft fibres of the wood, in addition to the tunnels built by the adult female.
How to avoid the appearance of woodworm in wood?
Before buying a piece of furniture, check that the wood is of quality and, therefore, that it has been properly treated to prevent it from being damaged by these insects.
If the piece of furniture is old, you must observe it carefully to see the characteristics in its structure; if it has holes or cracks. You should also ask if the furniture went through a process to eliminate woodworm or moth.
Since xylophages reproduce in a humid environment, you must take care of the cleanliness and order in your home. Move furniture and other decorative items to remove or vacuum up dirt. If necessary, you can leave them in the sun for a few hours.
Having adequate ventilation and heating during the winter will reduce the chances that they appear.
Rub the furniture, closets, doors and windows with bay oil to protect them.
Another option is to place high and low-pressure sodium lamps, this will help you keep your home free of pests since they cannot distinguish between the spectrum of light. They accumulate in closets, drawers and basements, by using this type of lighting you will free yourself from the problem.