Back Button

How to Kill Worms in Old Lumber

Sarah Morse

Worms in old lumber are actually the larva of wood-boring beetles. The old lumber provides a safe environment where the larva achieve adult beetle form. The adult beetles then burrow out of the wood when they breed. It is possible to kill the worms while they are still in the lumber. With some knowledge, you can rid your old lumber of larva and stop the spread of the beetles to other, healthier pieces of wood.

Step 1

Identify and confirm the problem as a wood worm problem. The worms will leave small holes in the wood with saw dust around the edges. You may even see adult beetles coming out of these holes.

Step 2

Test the humidity of the wood with a timber moisture meter. If the moisture content is over 18 percent, wood worm infestation is more likely. Creating a dry environment by increasing ventilation and decreasing humidity will diminish the ability of wood worm to thrive in the lumber.

Step 3

Apply a penetrating chemical like Boracare or Borax, which will seep two to four inches into the lumber to kill remaining larva. The wood worms will ingest the chemical and it will act like a poison, killing them. This will only work on lumber that has not recently been treated with a sealant. Follow the directions on the package, treating both sides of the lumber.