10 Things You (Probably) Don’t Know About Woodworm

  1. Adult woodworm beetles like light. They’ll fly toward lights or windows as soon as they emerge from their wood boreholes, and an attic window or the like might be the only place you’ll ever see the beetles themselves.
  2. Larvae stay in timber for years. On the average, the larvae – the worm stage of woodworm – stay in the woodwork for about 4 years. So you can, unfortunately, have a woodworm problem waiting to happen for literally years.
  3. Woodworm like timber over 12% humidity. Once your timber is drier than this, the woodworm won’t be so keen on it. The trouble is that getting wood this dry is really difficult.
  4. You’ll sometimes hear that woodworm larvae are eaten in the Philippines. You can see this on YouTube, although the experience doesn’t look like a recommendation. In fact, though, those are a form of clam called “shipworms”, not woodworm at all. Woodworms are nowhere near that big!
  5. Teak Oil does not kill woodworm. They probably don’t like it – oils aren’t good for most creatures – but contrary to common myth, it won’t get rid of them.
  6. Native American legend supposedly has a story about a giant woodworm. You can read it here, although since it seems to only occur in this one book written by a white guy in the 1800s, we’d recommend a pinch of salt alongside.
  7. Central heating does not deter woodworm. They don’t mind warm temperatures at all, and there are some indications that central heating can increase humidity in wood to a level they like (see #3, above). Bizarrely, the idea that central heating deters them appears to be very recent, coming from a misguided BBC program in 2017.
  8. Spiders love eating woodworm beetles. They can’t do anything about the larvae, and because the larvae stay in the wood so long, the spiders will probably move on to spin their webs elsewhere before the larvae emerge as beetles. But where they can catch the beetles, they’ll happily dispose of them for you!
  9. Most woodworm are native to very specific parts of the world. But due to timber and furniture being moved around, they’ve been spread to all kinds of places. One kind of woodworm is called the Italian Beetle in South Africa, because it’s associated so much with antique Italian furniture.
  10. Woodworm can host a parasite wasp that’s dangerous to humans. All the more reason to get rid of the woodworm! The wasp does kill off the woodworm, but that’s little enough comfort if you’ve been stung by it. It’s called sclerodermus domesticus and is sometimes referred to as the “antiquarian’s friend”.

If you’re having problems with woodworm, you should give us a call immediately on  01 4511795 or fill out our contact form, and someone will give you a call back as soon as possible.

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