Pest Issues

How to Treat a Woodworm Infestation

ela_elarts /

If you love decorating your home with beautiful woodwork, then you might have experienced the unpleasant moment of realising you have woodworms crawling in your belongings. Actually, Australia is notorious for woodworm infestations, and the worst consequence is the cost of fixing this problem. Woodworms can cause substantial damage to wooden furniture and art and even the foundation of your house.

As small as this pest is, the recovery of a woodworm attack might be really expensive. In fact, damage repairs can exceed A$10,000. Therefore we strongly recommend you take measures with the first signs of a woodworm infestation on your property.

In this article you’ll learn:

What are woodworms?

Perutskyi Petro /

Whether you call it woodboring beetle or just borer, this is a commonly found pest that should not be taken lightly. There are various species but the most frequently encountered is the Anobium punctatum also known as common furniture beetle or common house borer.

The term woodworm is often used to describe the larvae of these insects. The small white worms need to feed heavily on wood or timber during their development and they are more likely the culprits responsible for your ruined furniture. Still, depending on the species, both the adult beetles and the larvae could cause wood damage in a property.

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How to know that there are woodworms in the house?

Recognising the signs of a woodworm infestation early is crucial as even small damage to the furniture or flooring can weaken their structure. Though, sometimes, especially when the infestation is on the foundations of the house, you might not notice the problem for months. Because of that, yearly inspections are a good idea. You need to be on the lookout for:

  • Unusual little holes with round shape in the wood – Depending on the larvae, the size may vary, but most commonly the holes are around 1mm to 1.8mm.
  • Sawdust (also known as frass) – You may notice it around these holes and in proximity to furniture or timber. This dust is the excrement of the larvae. If it’s there, then there is probably an active woodworm infestation in the house.
  • Presence of adult wood boring beetles – Seeing the flying beetles is not a definitive sign that there is an ongoing infestation at the moment, however, it is still worth investigating further.

The reason you have woodworms is that borers lay their eggs on top of wooden structures. To grow, the larvae feed on that wood, creating holes in the process. The evolutionary habits of the beetles require them to feed on damp wood. In 99% of all cases that we examine dry wood is intact.

So, if you are sure you have a woodworm infestation on your property, then you probably have a problem with moisture. One type of beetle larvae, those of the Woodboring weevil, only appear if there is fungal development on the wood. If you do not notice any issues with dampness, then the attic, basement or any other house area with bad ventilation could be attracting the beetles.

If it’s hard for you to determine whether your home is infested or not, then It’s worth calling professionals to inspect the premises. They know what are the favourite hiding places for the woodworms and will tell you if your place needs treatment.

Not sure if there are active woodworms in the house? We can send a team of professionals for a full inspection!

Effective woodworm treatment methods

Understandably, you would want to get rid of the little pests as fast as possible, but oftentimes this is not possible. Woodworm treatment is often quite hard, and best-case scenario – two to three weeks long.

Still, if you think you can treat the infestation yourself, then here is what you can test:

  • Pesticides – The most common method for getting rid of the woodworms is by using various pesticides. Permethrin is normally an active ingredient in most of them. Still, it’s good to learn more about composition by checking the labels and definitely follow the application instructions for effective results.
  • Freezing treatment – This is a method that involves killing the woodworms by freezing the infested wooden material. This is usually done with furniture and smaller objects. It’s a costly procedure that can take two to three weeks, but in some cases, it could be the most successful way to get rid of the little larvae. Did you know that you can use the freezing method to kill off dust mites in smaller items, too?
  • Low-oxygen treatment – Another option is low-oxygen treatment, but it is also a time-consuming method where fumigation helps deprive the larvae of oxygen until it is dead. Keep in mind, though, that this method can take even longer than the freezing treatment for the woodworms to be exterminated completely.
When working with any type of chemical woodworm killing product by yourself, it is important to protect your skin and face. Make sure you have protective equipment including a mask, glasses and gloves. Wear old clothes that you can get rid of in case of contact with the product. We would also recommend leaving the application of a more aggressive and dangerous type of insecticide to a professional.
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Preventive measures against woodworm infestation

Planning is key to prevent any invasions from the wood-eating larvae. While there isn’t a 100% guaranteed method, doing a few simple things can still lower the chance of getting your home infested by these little buggers.

The best thing you can do to avoid woodworms is to buy an insecticide that kills the larvae. Then apply the insecticide in even coats and on all wooded areas in and around the house. Using wood varnish to add an extra layer of protection is also a good idea.

Another important thing is to keep an eye on the humidity levels in your home. As we mentioned above, some woodworms love damp wood and this may easily attract them to your home. Controlling the dampness levels in the property will give you some level of protection.

Be careful when purchasing used furniture because it could already have woodworms inside. This way you will be bringing them directly into your home. Make sure to inspect the furniture in detail for holes and frass.


  • Woodworms are the larvae of the woodboring beetle that feed on different types of wood.
  • In the house, the white curvy worm can cause significant damage to furniture, art, floor, timber and even foundations of the property.
  • Tiny dust and holes in the wood structure are the most telling signs that there is an active woodworm infestation.
  • DIY woodworm treatment is normally done with different pesticides available in stores. There are other specialised methods available that require more time, money and a visit from a pest control expert.

The Fantastic pest controllers can exterminate the woodworms in your home! Contact us for a check-up appointment!

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