How to get rid of woodworms: DIY woodworm treatment

Woodworm treatment is the only solution for eliminating harmful woodworms from our furniture.

a woodworm infestation
A woodworm infestation

Woodworm are reddish-brown insects whose length varies between 2 and 4 millimetres for the smallest woodworms and between 6 and 9 millimetres for the largest ones.

Woodworm holes are recognisable by their rounded shape, and the presence of woodworms can be recognised by the nocturnal noise of the voracious beasts, which are intent on digging long tunnels into our furniture, undermining its structure.

Woodworms attack almost all types of wood, including resinous wood.

It may surprise us to learn that the environment in which the furniture is located has a great influence on a possible infestation: woodworms prefer fairly warm and humid environments and they love to be able to work in peace.

Just placing a metronome on top of a piece of furniture and running it day and night will disturb them and force them to migrate to quieter environments.

The life cycle of woodworms is common to all species, although they may differ in terms of the length of their cycle, which, however, can be summarised in four main phases from egg laying to the adult thalus emerging from the wood.

DIY Woodworm treatment

The woodworm treatment is necessary when we see wood flour under the furniture and the inevitable holes left after the adult woodworms have hatched.

An insecticide against woodworms is more effective the deeper it penetrates into the wood.

If the furniture has been stripped of its paint (or we are planning to completely strip the furniture) then we have a great advantage.

In that case, once the paint has been stripped, we're going to proceed with the application of the woodworm remover and then we can recolour and wax the furniture.

The latest anti woodworm products do not have a particularly unpleasant smell and can be used (if the product is good) even on finished furniture, with the limitations mentioned above, without damaging the paint or changing the colour of the wood.

So let's see how best to proceed.

How to apply woodworm killer

bora care woodworm treatment

First of all, look for a quiet space where you can work and then let the furniture rest for a few days after the woodworm treatment.

If you are working indoors, the room must be well ventilated while the woodworm-proofing is being applied so that we do not breathe in the fumes.

We should obtain a good quality woodworm impregnating agent and equip yourself with gloves, protective glasses and a large polyethylene sheet, the kind usually used to cover furniture when painting house walls.

Open the plastic drop cloth wide and lay it on the floor. The cloth will serve both to protect the floor from dripping and, above all, to pack the furniture after the woodworm treatment and create a sort of "gas chamber" for the unfortunate woodworm insects.

If your furniture has woodworm infestation, try to check whether it can be dismantled in whole or in part, as this would allow you to better reach difficult points and internal areas.

If the furniture is varnished, it is important to treat the interior parts of the furniture in particular, which are generally neither waxed nor varnished.

This allows better penetration of the product into the wood.

Woodworm killer can be applied in different ways depending on the level of infestation:

  • spray application
  • syringe application
  • brush application
  • capillary application
  • application by fumigation

Woodworm treatment spray

If you have been able to detect the presence of woodworms immediately and the furniture is not large, you can spray woodworm killer directly into the holes, using special woodworm moth sprays on which can be fitted with special tubes to be inserted directly into the holes.

Applying woodworm treatment with a syringe

Woodworm insecticide can also be injected directly into the woodworm holes when we immediately notice their presence.

The woodworm agent is not sold in syringes, of course, it is a matter of buying a packet of woodworm agent and then, using a common disposable syringe, extracting and injecting the required amount into the holes.

The liquid should be injected slowly until the tunnel is saturated and the woodworm agent flows out of the hole.

This is the most targeted method and will target the individual galleries dug by the woodworm until they are saturated with insecticide.

It can also be the most suitable solution when we want to leave the furniture in place and continue to use the room without having to put up with the smell that a brush application of woodworm infestation would inevitably cause.

Brush application

The most common solution is to use a paintbrush and apply the woodworm repellent, concentrating particularly on the affected areas.

You will easily notice that in areas where there are woodworm holes, the insecticide will penetrate much more easily, filling the empty spaces.

After the woodworm agent has been brushed over the entire surface of the furniture, it would be a good idea to wrap the furniture in the cloth, which should then be sealed.

Even if the plastic drop cloth is large, it will hardly be able to pack a large piece of furniture, which is why, if possible, it is advisable to dismantle the removable parts.

Let the furniture rest for as many days as we can (even twenty) and then we can continue with the painting or simply put it back in its place and go back to using it.

Capillary application

If the furniture rests on the floor, we can start by placing the feet of the furniture in a cup (disposable plastic soup plates are fine) and pouring the woodworm-proofing product into the cup.

The woodworm treatment should be distributed throughout the furniture by capillary action (although I am not personally convinced of this).

Anti-woodworm fumigant

A fumigant is the last DIY option we consider in this article.

dobol fumigant treatment against woodworms

It is probably the most practical and least labour-intensive of all alternatives, but it may take more than one treatment to achieve its purpose.

It is a powder that reacts with plain water to create a thick smoke that spreads throughout the room.

This is a broad-spectrum insecticide and therefore targets not only woodworm but also all crawling and flying insects in the room.

What you get is a sort of gas chamber like the one you get when you wrap moth-eaten furniture in cellophane, only using a different tool.

Personally, to increase the effectiveness of the woodworm fumigant, I would move the furniture into a small room and activate the fumigant in that room, after carefully sealing it.

The fumigant is useful when there are areas that are difficult to reach or otherwise extensive, such as beams, panelling with matchboarding, etc. I would also recommend using the fumigant in the room.

I recommend using the fumigant also for preventive purposes.

The fumigant does not generate any residue, at most a very fine dust that settles on the furniture.

When should woodworm control be applied?

This is a very common question, but the only answer that can be given is that woodworm infestation must be applied as soon as the presence of woodworms is detected.

Permethrin works at all stages of the woodworm life cycle, so there is no point at which it is best applied.

Obviously, for reasons of expediency, it is better to apply the woodworm repellent in the summer, or in any case in the warmer seasons, because in those periods it is easier to ventilate the rooms and/or move and dismantle the furniture so that the treatment does not cause inconvenience to the inhabitants of the house.

Remember that there are different species of woodworm and some of these species can undermine wood for years without their presence or traces of their passage being visible from the outside.

For this reason, all owners of wooden furniture should carry out periodic woodworm prevention treatments.

DIY Editor
Do-it-yourself enthusiast. I started with the renovation of my flat and then I changhed this passion into my job.