How to get rid of woodboring beetles

Woodboring beetles and human beings rarely coexist in harmony. Therefore, protecting the wood against these insect pests is a must.

Woodboring beetles in a wooden house

Woodboring beetle larvae (also known as woodworms) feast on wood. Therefore, many homeowners face this widespread problem. However, there are still several ways to limit the damaging effects and ensure the durability of the building. A wood frame or glued laminated timber house, a bathhouse, or a sauna made from logs are also exposed to the destructive effects of woodboring beetles.

Wood boring beetles often infect dried wood. So, the quality of the wood is key. And dried wood should not be used as it is most likely already infested with woodborers! You should only choose live wood that is free of pests. No mould or woodworms are acceptable. Make sure that the raw materials are also carefully checked during construction.

Instead, timber should be dried using dedicated drying chambers in compliance with all technological processes. Such a treatment ensures that the timber is completely sterile. Natural drying of timber often represents the first step towards a pest infestation. Impregnation also stands as the most advanced and, at the same time, the most expensive way to treat the wood before construction.

The next step is the bio-protection of the wood. This includes applying different chemical agents against wood pests, such as woodboring worms. They are aimed at preventing the emergence of bark beetles and mould in the finished material. Such products act on the surface and do not penetrate the wood. Therefore, if you face a bark beetle infestation, these agents won't be of any help.

Woodworms are ready to pounce on construction mistakes. Insufficient waterproofing of the lower boards will lead to the overwatering of logs, so you can be sure that a woodworm like the Capricorn beetle will certainly settle there with its offspring. The large and thick larvae will gnaw on the wood until they have eaten it all. The same goes for toilets and bathrooms, where high humidity and insufficient ventilation create ideal conditions for the woodboring beetle.

Usually, wooden houses feature fireplaces, and that is where the danger lurks. It is not just the fire that puts you at risk, but the logs that are dropped in for the furnace. Old firewood is an excellent carrier of wood boring beetles. The larva won't migrate from the wood. However, an adult imago insect will develop in a warm environment after pupation and will lay its eggs wherever it wants. Therefore, never keep the firewood inside! Preferably, keep it somewhere outside the house.

You should also consider natural infestation

InIn fact, a female woodborer can fly many kilometres in search of food and shelter for her offspring. It can also fly from the nearby forest, a neighbour's firewood, or another wooden house. The first infestation points are window and door openings. The woodborer's life is extremely short and is mainly devoted to a rapid egg-laying cycle. Adult insects do not eat wood and do not make holes but lay their eggs in log cracks or old holes. If the house is inhabited and heated, the woodboring beetle usually settles in the warm inside (during the cold season), where it can evolve all year round, so you will most likely face the infestation in such a house.
This is an endless process that cannot be ignored.
What the larva looks like

Signs. How do you identify woodboring beetle infestation?

A woodboring beetle infestation has both direct and indirect signs. These include the presence of dead bugs on windowsills and floors of the house. You can also notice wood powder on the floor near the walls or between the wreaths. Another marker includes different holes in the logs or zigzag paths. In this case, you should also note whether these paths and holes are recent. Finally, the most important but not necessary sign is the squeaking sounds of crunching from the walls. Wood-boring worms are nocturnal. You can hear them better at night. These are the places to mark for further priority treatment.
Woodworm sounds

Woodboring beetles in the rafters

Everyone wants to be the boss in their own home. The roof is often made using a wooden rafter system, which can be a real delicacy for the new attic owner, the woodboring beetle. Warm attic spaces with lots of wood provide near-perfect conditions for them year-round. But there are no happy endings: as time goes by, the roof and rafter system lose their strength, sagging under its own weight. Assuming that this situation is not detected and fixed in time, the roof will collapse.
It is necessary to check the quality of the wood used during the construction as well as supervising the preventive fire and bio-protection treatment, which should be repeated every few years to avoid disaster. Replacing the rafters and the entire roof is a very expensive process. So, it is better to prevent it.
Woodboring beetles in beams and rafters

Woodboring beetles in inter-floor ceilings and parquet.

Inter-floor ceilings are a crucial part of building construction, providing strength and support for vertical loads.
They are often made of wooden beams or joists, which are often hidden behind the subfloor. They are covered with chipboard, OSB or simply rough boards. There will be vapour, sound, and heat insulation material inside. On the top, you could have a parquet floor. A year-round warm and nourishing place for your woodboring beetle!
Wood treatment can require partial or complete disassembly of the structure and even replacement of one or more of the elements. The replacement of supporting structures can be particularly expensive. This would be a highly frustrating situation in a house that is already in use.

Woodboring beetles in furniture and museum pieces

Woodboring pests affect old, dry wood, so there is a great risk to furniture and antiques. Infestation cases in wooden icons are quite common.
Furniture is subject to structural damage and weakening, cracking, and shape changes. Furniture and museum pieces often have historical and artistic value. Woodboring beetle infestation can cause irreparable damage and loss of such items, including original decorative elements and details.

Even books can be destroyed.
Woodboring beetles in furniture

How to control and go about removing woodboring beetles

Wood pests can easily destroy entire buildings, not to mention turning furniture to dust. The following methods are used to control these wood pests:

  • Chemical - treatment with various organic or non-organic chemicals found in solid, liquid, or simply gaseous state;
  • Thermal – the destruction of insects by both high and low temperatures;
  • Microwave technology as a method of controlling woodboring beetles
The vast range and ongoing updates in the pesticide industry have rendered insects immune to the poison. The use of chemicals is likely to make woodworms immune to insecticides. However, the chemicals are only effective in the surface layers of the wood. Existing standards confirm that there is no effective chemical for killing woodworms. According to the guidelines, if some section of wood is affected by mould or bark beetle, such a wood part should be cut out and then burnt. A new metal prosthesis should be inserted in the place of the cut-out part.

Gas disinfestation is a rather time-consuming and costly procedure that requires thorough and painstaking preparation as well as protection of the workers involved. Also, this procedure can only be carried out at the appropriate ambient temperature, which means that gas disinfection cannot occur in winter, during the off-season or in poorly heated houses. Once again, it does not give 100% results.

It should be stressed that such chemicals are extremely toxic to humans and warm-blooded animals.
Let's look at modern DIN standards and thermal methods of removing wood boring beetles.
Unfortunately, the thermal method is also extremely difficult. If it is necessary to disinfect the whole house, such a process is even more complicated in terms of technology since it is impossible to simultaneously achieve such a high temperature (56°C) required to kill the woodworms in all parts of the building and across the thickness of the wood. Human intervention in nature leads to terrible consequences for flora, fauna, and people. Therefore, a new method of coping with wood boring worms has been created and introduced.
Wood pests can be most effectively removed using microwaves
The microwave method for removing woodworms makes it possible to successfully deal with such a problem even in winter at low temperatures. Exposure to the microwave field kills all unwelcome guests without causing any damage to the timber and the surrounding area. In contrast to conventional thermal methods, the microwave field directly affects the treated material without heating the surrounding air. Devices generating electromagnetic waves excite vibrations of water molecules both in insects and in wood. The microwave energy increases the oscillation of molecules, which allows the wood to warm up to the temperature we need at 56°C, which is sufficient to kill Xylophagous. The microwave field heating processes of materials work better where there are more water molecules. Living organisms (insects such as in our case) contain 70-90% of water. When they are exposed to the microwave field, they are heated much more intensively than the wood they developed inside, providing an absolute guarantee of quick and complete destruction.
The targeted action of microwaves, as well as the high mobility of our equipment, provide 100% efficiency of the equipment. Microwaves are also environmentally harmless, which means that people and pets do not have to be "evacuated" from their homes when the unit is in operation.
It is not a problem if the logs are coated with varnish or paint.
Insulation materials, such as foam or mineral wool, are radio-transparent materials and do not affect the quality of the treatment.
If there is excessive humidity, the Shashel® Microwave will eliminate it. It will gently dry to acceptable values. Small dimensions with maximum treatment area will make the procedure easy and fast. No matter where the insects are, just put the device in front of the infected place and turn it on for a few minutes. At the end of this time, there will not be a single living creature in the wood. The device will dry the fungus mould, which often occurs in symbiosis with some species of bark beetles. The woodboring beetles will be exterminated in an instant.
The microwaves can penetrate all kinds of plastics, glass, clay or ceramics, etc., none of which are obstacles for Shashel®. As with electrical wires, it is sufficient to simply de-energise them and only when they enter the treatment area directly below the emitter. The penetration depth of the microwave field varies depending on such factors as humidity, wood species, and even the direction of the fibres, reaching up to 25 cm. What if it is a wild log with large-sized logs? In rare and exceptional cases, double-sided treatment may be required. However, we should say that the core is not eaten, and logs of 50-60 cm are successfully disinfected.

The devices are distinguished by high-quality industrial components, and the emitter is made of special alloys and properly calibrated for maximum efficiency. The design and ergonomics make this equipment easy and simple for every homeowner.
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Shashel® microwave equipment for woodworm eradication
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Irritating and playful, slowly devouring the furniture bequeathed by his grandfather, the woodworm gnawed, gnawed, continued gnawing, as if it were a clock devouring time... © Alves Redol
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