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Termites in Wood Furniture – Signs, Prevention & Removal Tips & Guide

Termites are destroying insects which make a disaster when they infest a house especially when they find a way to the wood furniture. Most of termites get fed by wood, for that, they infest wood furniture and start forming colonies inside it.

Types of wood destroying termites:

As you know the common types of termites in North America are:

Formosan termite, eastern subterranean termite, Drywood termite and Dampwood termite.

  • The Formosan termite is, always, found in soil so it doesn’t like much wood and it finds better conditions in the soil where there are high moisture and cool air.
  • The Eastern subterranean termite is wood destroying and it has a dangerous destructive behavior but it, rarely, infests furniture. This particular kind of termites likes infesting the structural wood because it likes forming huge colonies and it consumes a lot of wood.
  • As for Drywood or Dampwood termites, they LOVE wood furniture and they find the most appropriate condition in the wood of home furniture.
  • Drywood termite: this particular type of termites likes infesting dry wood. It means it exists where the temperature level is really high and without special need for moisture unlike other kind of termites.

While most of wood furniture is dry and it exists in ambient temperature then it becomes a perfect home for Drywood termites to build their nest.

  • Dampwood termite: Dampwood termites are less likely to be harmful for wood furniture than Drywood termites. These termites, want a wet location where there are high levels of moisture and humid air, dry wood furniture is not appropriate for them.

But Dampwood termites have a special attraction to wood, especially the new kind of wood in furniture when the furniture is cold and they say “it’s better for the wood’s persistence”. Yes it’s great for wood persistence unless it doesn’t get attacked and destroyed by Dampwood termites.

Signs of termite activity in wood furniture:

The termites’ existence in wood furniture is a dangerous phenomenon that can bring many disappointing results to the homeowner, that’s why such destructive behavior has to be detected. Here are some signs that may help you detect termites in wood furniture.

  • Wet spot: When forming a colony, the nest of termites looks like a wet big spot from outside the wood which is most like water leak, especially at the Dampwood termite colonies because they prefer high degrees of moisture.
  • Dirt or mud tubes: To move safely from the native colony to a food source or secondary colonies, termites build a mud tube with moist soil pellets. This mud tube is provides a safe trip to the termites and it is necessary for any colony. So, if you find a mud tube on your wood furniture, try to cut it to check if there are termites, or follow it to find the location of the colony.

Dirt or mud tubes are major facts of termites’ existence.

  • Cracked wood: Any cracks in the wood could be due to the old age of furniture or possible hot temperature problems. But it is also important to check if some cracks in your wood furniture may be a signs of termite infestation.
  • Small holes: Small holes in the wood are the ends of galleries inside the wood which provide the termites with sufficient air. Some termites could appear through the small holes in the wood. Therefore, you should inspect some holes, if found, to check if your furniture is suffering from a termite infestation.
  • Fecal pellets: Termites’ feces are very recognizable, so if you discover some fecal pellets near to your wood furniture, you should contact your expert to make sure if it is a sign of termites’ existence or not.

The termite infestation in wood furniture makes a horrible damage that may lead to total disposal of the furniture. I mean, a colony of million individual of Drywood termites can consume 10 ounces (around 280g) of wood a day. In that case, if you have a dry wood desk which weights 100kg, it will be all eaten in just 1 year. Therefore you should start thinking of working ways to get rid of wood destroying termites.

How to remove termites from wood furniture:

The control of termites in the soil could be done by several ways that we cited before, such as baiting. But when the termites infest wood, especially wood furniture inside the house, the situation gets critical and needs a professional intervention to control the termites and, totally remove them. You may start thinking of many ways, but here are a few to help you:

  • Moisture decrease: Decreasing the moisture may provide inappropriate life conditions to the termites infesting the wood, so either they will die or leave the furniture. To do that, place the infested wood furniture in the sun, so the moisture wood will evaporate and termites will be exterminated. You can also ventilate the nest by applying high ventilating power to the tunnel holes in the wood furniture.
  • Orange oil: Orange oil is extracted of orange peels. It is the perfect homemade remedy which is able to kill termites by simply injecting the oil through the holes in the wood furniture and in few hours, termites will be al dead.
  • Electronic termite control: You can use electric current (90,000+ voltage push) to exterminate termites. This current with high voltage and high frequency will get through wood and kill the termites immediately. It is a useful way but you need to be safe and don’t dispose yourself to any electric danger.
  • Liquid nitrogen: Everybody knows that nitrogen get liquid at -328°F (around -200°C) and this very cold liquid will kill the termites as they can’t resist to a temperature under -20°F. Simply, buy liquid nitrogen and inject it through holes and cracks in the wood furniture.

Further Resources for Getting Rid of Termites in Furniture

  1. Drywood Termites – Clemson University
  2. Featured Creatures: Drywood Termites – University of Florida Entomology & Nematology Department
  3. Termites In Firewood – MyTermiteTreatmentCosts.com
  4. Termites – Washington State Department of Ecology

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