Woodworm is one of the main enemies of wood and can spoil any piece of furniture. In addition, its presence is not easy to detect, which can cause it to be inside one of our furniture for years before we know it, which usually means that the damage has already been done and it is too late to remedy it.
What is woodworm?
It is the name given to the larvae of several species of coleopteran insects (types of beetles) that are known for their effects on gnawing, piercing, and deteriorating wood. And it is that these larvae are xylophagous, that is, they feed on wood. Woodworm is also known by the name of ‘quera’ since that is how the characteristic sawdust that they produce when drilling into the wood is called.
How does it ‘work’?
To feed, the larvae gnaw and create ‘tunnels’ inside the wood, which seriously damages its structure in a process that lasts about three years. Later, they undergo a metamorphosis process and become beetles capable of flight. That’s when they leave the furniture where they have been living to go outside, leave their eggs in other woods and then die a few days later. An adult female is capable of depositing up to 80 eggs in cracks, fissures and joints. From these eggs, in turn, more larvae hatch which, instead of using the “tunnels” made by the females, dig new ones.
A woodworm infestation is difficult to detect at first because the holes they cause are less than three millimeters. As the larvae grow, the size of the holes becomes larger, reaching 10 millimeters.
In addition, the characteristic noise of insects when chewing is almost imperceptible, so normally the pest is detectable only when there is sawdust around the furniture and we can see the holes created by the insects.
We must pay special attention to old furniture or with cracks since they favor its presence and, also, humidity and a temperature between 20 and 24 degrees are optimal conditions that facilitate its development.
In addition to professional treatments to eliminate woodworm (frostbite, gas or oxygen deprivation, for example), there are also home remedies that can be effective such as:
- If it is a not very large piece of furniture, we can apply heat with a hand dryer to avoid humidity and then use a specific insecticide against woodworm and wrap it in plastic so that the plague disappears.
- Another remedy is Mix tea tree oil (a small bottle) with 200 ml of white spirit in a container. Next, with a syringe, we inject the mixture into the holes that woodworm has caused in the furniture. And then we rub all the wood with a cloth soaked in the mixture.
- The cold can also be a good ally against woodworm so, especially in places where outside temperatures are low, it is an option leaving the affected furniture outside for a few days until we get the plague to disappear.
And to prevent it
To prevent the appearance of woodworm, it is essential avoid the accumulation of moisture in the wood so the rooms and rooms must be aired daily. In addition, it is also advisable varnish furniture as a safety barrier (Specific varnishes against woodworm are sold). And finally, be very attentive to immediately detect the presence of these unwanted guests.