Fight Woodworms with Home Remedies without Chemicals

Fighting woodworms with home remedies can definitely work for small pieces of furniture and decorative items. I will introduce you to different methods of getting rid of a woodworm without chemicals and poison. I will also give you tips on preventing pest infestation in the wood in the first place.

If in Doubt, Always Hire a Pest Control Specialist

The following control methods are intended for decorative objects from wood to smaller pieces of furniture.

You should seek professional assistance if you have an infestation in a roof, floor, or other load-bearing wooden parts. The home remedies presented will no longer help here.

From a Biological Point of View, What Is the Woodworm Anyway?

We are not going into the exact biological details of the various wood pests. But if you are interested, you can read this interesting Wikipedia article. Nonetheless, we will try to provide a brief summary here.

We Know Three Types of Beetles Under the Synonym Woodworm

Among the woodworking trades, one often speaks only of the woodworm. Behind it, however, are the larvae of the longhorn beetle species, the rodent beetle species, and the sapwood beetle.

The Longhorn Beetles Prefer the Wet and Dead Wood

The longhorn beetle species, such as the house longhorn, usually attack freshly felled wood or dead wood with bark. The beetle lays its eggs in these pieces of wood, and the larvae cause the typical damage. This is why this “woodworm” often occurs in firewood or in woodturners’ wood stores.

It is important to know, however, that the adult beetle does not cause any further damage. Furthermore, this type of beetle will not migrate to the dry furniture wood in the house if the larvae are brought into the apartment with the firewood.

The Rodent Beetles Prefer Dry Wood

It looks different with the rodent beetles, such as the common rodent beetles. These wood pests tend to prefer dry wood. Therefore, these insects can also attack furniture, roof trusses, or floors. However, the wood must be more than 10% moist, occurring in a cellar or attic.

In this way, action is called for once installed wood is infested, as the infestation can spread in the house in the worst case.

The Sapwood Beetle Is Rarer in Our Latitudes

The sapwood beetle tends to attack tropical woods but also native hardwoods. He also prefers dry wood. Therefore it is also important to act quickly with this species.

Other Pests Can Destroy Wood

In addition to the beetle species, the wood can also be attacked by ants, wood wasps, and humpback beetles. These insects can also destroy wood.

However, for a successful control with our home remedies, it does not matter which type of insect it is, as they can work for all.

How Do I Recognize Woodworm Infestation?

The quickest way to recognize woodworm infestation in the apartment is the piles of sawdust (drilling dust) under the piece of wood. But also, excrement deposits, exit holes, or feeding tunnels can indicate an infestation.

But be careful, especially in antiques; there can be feeding tunnels or exit holes without infestation. The restorer has already fought the pest but has not further covered the signs of age for optical reasons.

On the other hand, if you hear a feeding noise, find rotten wood parts, or already have a foul smell in the house, it is the ultimate railroad to act. But with such signs, it can be too late.

You Can Fight Woodworms with The Following Home Remedies

By and large, there are three ways to kill the pest. Once it works with extreme temperatures, with liquid substances, or with mechanical possibilities. You can, of course, mix the different options together. However, if the method is used correctly, the first attempt will be successful in most cases.

Kill the Wood Pest with Heat

Since it is known that protein stagnates at temperatures around 60 ° C, no insect will survive this temperature. Thanks to this property of protein, we can easily fight the woodworm.

Heat the Wood in The Oven

If your infected wooden object fits in the oven, then this is the best way to get it “woodworm-free.” It is only important that 60 ° C is reached in all parts of the wood. This can easily take several hours, especially with thick pieces of wood.

Another disadvantage is that the treated surface may change. As a rule, an oiled, waxed, or lacquered surface will not suffer any damage at 60 ° C, but unfortunately, it cannot be completely ruled out.

It is also important that the wood cools slowly in the oven after heating so that the stresses caused by the thermal treatment do not lead to cracks in the wood. It is best to let the piece of wood cool down overnight in the switched-off oven.

Larger Pieces of Furniture Can Be Used in The Sauna

Pieces of wood or furniture that no longer fit in the oven can be treated using the same principle in the sauna.

But carpenters or sawmills also have large drying chambers in which pieces of furniture can be thermally treated.

That can be said in general. As soon as the infected piece is still transportable, thermal treatment is, in most cases, the safest and best way to fight a wood pest.

Fight Wood Pests with The Microwave

What works with the oven also works with the microwave. Here it is not even essential that the piece of wood reaches 60 ° C everywhere. The reason is that the rays from the microwave kill the animals faster, and the radiation spreads from the inside out.

In practice, it has been proven that you often heat the piece of wood in short phases. We chose a cycle of 90 seconds at 600 watts. We repeated this a few times.

Larger areas can also be freed from woodworms with microwave beams. Today there are extra devices for this. You can find more information on this at

The Hair Dryer Has Not Proven Itself in Practice for Pest Control

In some guides, you will find the tip for fighting the woodworm with the hairdryer. However, as we have already learned, this only works when the entire piece of wood reaches a temperature of approx—60 ° C. In practice, this should be difficult to achieve with a hairdryer.

There is also no point in blowing directly into the feeding tunnels, as you can never be sure that you will catch the woodworm. This method with the hairdryer is more of a gamble than a working home remedy for combating woodworms.

Kill the Wood Pest with Cold

What works with heat also works with cold. But for this, it needs at least -10 ° C over a longer period of time. And the temperature has to be reached again in the whole piece of wood.

Freeze the Wood

Again, if your piece of wood fits in the freezer, it is not a problem. Leave it in there for about a week, and your object will be free of woodworms. Another advantage of this thermal treatment is that the surface treatments and the wood structure will not be damaged.

In winter, of course, larger pieces of furniture can simply be put outside, but the temperature should (mostly) be -10 ° C to be sure that every pest is dead.

Fight the Woodworm with Household Substances

Thermal treatment can be difficult or expensive, especially with larger furniture (drying chamber in the carpenter’s shop). Therefore, in the second part of this guide, we want to deal with combating liquid substances. The net is full of such tips. We want to explain in more detail which ones really work and which can even be toxic.

Fight the Woodworm with Alcohol or Isopropanol

A very effective method is to remove the woodworm with alcohol. You can also take alcohol or medical alcohol. Unfortunately, alcohol often contained odorous and bitter substances that may remain in the wood afterward. Medical alcohol, on the other hand, is costly.

That is why isopropanol has emerged as the best agent for combating woodworms. Isopropanol is a monohydric secondary alcohol. But it is not drinkable. Instead, it evaporates odorless and residue-free.

The furniture should be smeared with the alcohol and then immediately packed in an airtight bag to fight the woodworm with isopropanol. Then you leave the package for about 5 to 7 days.

The pests will die from classic alcohol poisoning. This method is best for pieces up to 3 cm thick. If the bars are thicker, the isopropyl alcohol may not penetrate inside, and the pests survive.

In addition, alcohol can act as a solvent so that a treated wood surface can be damaged. You should, therefore, absolutely test an invisible place to see whether the alcohol is attacking the surface.

Also, make sure that spirit, alcohol, or isopropanol are highly flammable. Therefore do not smoke, flex or handle open fire when treating wood.

Diesel, Vinegar, and The Like Are Rather Unsuitable for Combating Woodworms

One often hears or reads about injecting diesel, vinegar, or even kerosene into the pests’ boreholes. We do not think this is advisable. This is due to the following reasons.

Even if these substances should kill the woodworm, which can work, you probably won’t get the smell of these substances out of the wood (so quickly). In addition, diesel, petrol, or kerosene can leave unsightly stains on the wood. That is why we prefer not to use these “home remedies” because the harm will be greater than the benefit.

Remove Wood Pests Using Mechanical Means

The mechanical options play a somewhat subordinate role. For the sake of completeness, we do not want to leave them unmentioned.

Remove the Woodworm with Acorns

Acorns, the fruit of the oak, are said to be a good remedy for woodworms. Apparently, the vermin cannot resist this fruit, come out of the wood, and settle in the acorn.

Place a bowl of acorns on the infected piece of furniture and change the fruit every few days. The old fruit is best disposed of in the compost.

Knock Away Woodworms

Another tip we found is tapping on the infested wood. Apparently, the animals do not like these noises and also leave their home.

However, the question arises, even if this should work, where should the larvae go? Probably the next piece of furniture that won’t be knocked on.

What you can try, however, is to use the acorn and tapping method together. Otherwise, we consider this procedure to be inadequate.

Clean the Feeding Tunnels with Compressed Air

Many do-it-yourselfers try to solve the cause directly through the feeding channels. Be it with injecting liquids or resins directly into the holes or with compressed air. This procedure can also work, but it doesn’t have to because you can never be sure that you will catch all pests.

It looks different with a vacuum. If your piece of wood fits into a bell jar or vacuum chamber, this can work very well. The prerequisite is that the chamber is absolutely airtight.

Completely Remove Infected Pieces of Wood

The last option is often only to remove infected pieces of wood. In most cases, this is not a problem for the carpenter, woodturner, or artisan. Anyway, he only cuts the most beautiful pieces out of his storage timber.

The last option is often only to remove infected pieces of wood. In most cases, this is not a problem for the carpenter, woodturner, or artisan. Anyway, he only cuts the most beautiful pieces out of his storage timber.

The situation is different for private individuals who have an expensive piece of furniture. If areas are so badly infected that they are already rotten, the only thing that helps is to restore the infected pieces with new ones.

Methods to Prevent Woodworm Infestation

Prevention is better than aftercare, they always say. For this reason, we would like to give you a few tips on not getting woodworms into your furniture in the first place.

The simplest and most effective tip is heating. If the wood does not become more humid than 10%, the risk of infestation is almost zero. In normal apartments, this is achieved by heating normally.

It looks different in basements, attics, or sheds. Make sure that the wood is never directly on the floor and that it is well ventilated. In addition, you can apply a varnish or a protective glaze, but this is not always possible or necessary.

With firewood or turning wood, it is helpful to remove the bark from the wood. But as already mentioned, the house buck in firewood or sawn wood is not quite dramatic unless you store expensive furniture in the shed.

Conclusion on Combating Woodworms

A woodworm infestation can be localized quickly in most cases, based on the drill dust or the gnawing noises.

If the infestation is in wood that is not permanently installed, the vermin can easily be driven away or controlled with home remedies. If there is a larger infestation of load-bearing wood in the house, you should seek the help of a professional pest controller.

You can safely do without chemicals in all other cases since the home remedies (mostly) work very well.

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