How Do You Get Rid of Termites in Furniture?

Termites primarily gain access to a home through the ground below via support frames that create a bridge from the earth to the home, but these elusive insects can also infest and destroy any wooden object, including furniture, by means of sensory perception through their antennae which seeks out wood. Drywood termites are the most problematic when it comes to wood furniture as they prefer and seek out dry wood as opposed to subterranean termites which prefer moist environments. Thankfully, there are a few treatment options available to salvage your furniture if termites have moved inside of it.

How to get rid of termites in wood furniture

Destroying termites inside of wood furniture can be difficult and usually requires isolating the furniture and treating the object with strong insecticides and/or heat or fumigation treatment.

Of all the types of termite to infest wood furniture, the Drywood termite is the most common. This type of termite builds colonies inside your home, feeding on wood that contains little to no moisture. This may include the timber in your walls and roof, as well as the furniture inside your home; in fact, Drywood termites can survive in your wooden furniture for months or even years, wreaking havoc on your wood furniture and structures.

Can termites live in furniture?

Because Drywood Termites don’t live underground and build mud tubes to access your home, it can be a little bit difficult to spot an infestation. The most identifiable sign of a Drywood termite problem are piles of wood-colored fecal pellets under or around furniture. These pellets are called “frass” and they have the appearance of sawdust.

Other tell-tale signs of termites in furniture are cracks or chips in the finish, a hollow sound when tapped with a hard object or crumbling wood. If you spot any of these issues on your household furnishings, it may be time to begin a series of treatment measures immediately to prevent further erosion of your furniture.

It is not known through scientific analysis exactly how termites find wood furniture in your home. Through searching and sensing the smell of wood, the insects typically find their way to it and begin colonizing and destroying it as soon as they find it. Once you discover the signs of termites in wood furniture, treatment procedures should begin immediately.

wood furniture eaten by termites

What to do when you find termites in furniture

When trying to understand why termites are inside of your furniture, it is important to point out that the termite in question is likely the Drywood termite. With Drywood termites, one fortunate thing is the damage is often slow going and limited in extent because their colonies tend to be small and grow very slowly. A large wooden piece of furniture may take 5 to 10 years to be degraded.

Signs to look for if you have a termite problem

The common signs of Drywood termites are the appearance of small fissures and cracks near the wood surface and tiny fecal pellets comprising their droppings which they discharge from their nests; as previously mentioned, these pellets may look like granulated sawdust. Drywood termites can infest furniture and slowly destroy it, signs to look out for include cracks along the edges of the furniture, hollow or caved in sections in the wood furniture, and the appearance of fine, sawdust-looking material around the ground and edges of the furniture.

how to treat drywood termites eating wood furniture

How to treat and kill drywood termites in furniture and wood

The most common method of treating furniture infested with Drywood termites is to inject a termiticide directly into the wood and allow it to penetrate deep into the infested pieces. This type of treatment is generally effective in killing all active termites in your furniture. This can be done by saturating the furniture in the liquid and isolating it inside of a sealed contractor bag or container, or injecting the nozzle of an insecticide sprayer directly into all cracks and holes on the outside of the furniture and spraying the insides.

If DIY measures fail, a pest control professional can be called in to fumigate the termites inside of your furniture; fumigation involves surrounding the structure with a gas-tight tarp, releasing the gas inside the seal, and filling the structure with gas for a pre-set exposure time. Before fumigation, the homeowner must remove all plants and animals from the house, remove or place food items inside special protective bags, and ensure that there is enough tarp clearance between sensitive landscaping and exterior walls. The fumigation company may monitor gas concentration during the fumigation to ensure that enough dose is maintained dependent upon the severity of the infestation.

Treating antique wood furniture for termites

Drywood termites do not discriminate when it comes to wood and this means that even antique wooden furniture is susceptible to termites. The hard truth is that if these termites have infested an antique if you want to salvage the item—it will have to be treated. If you are worried about the chemicals staining the item, consider having the piece professionally cleaned by an antique specialist after treatment.

Related Termite in Furniture Questions

Does tenting kill termites in furniture?

Fumigation is the best possible way to ensure that Drywood termite inside of furniture is eliminated for good. These must be done by a pest control professional and a company that specializes in fumigation. It is difficult to treat furniture alone due to the propensity for the termites to avoid the poison—and unless you completely take the furniture apart—it can be difficult to reach every termite in the colony.

As previously mentioned, fumigation turns your entire house into a kill zone; the termites have nowhere to escape to. This needs to be done on a wide scale since termites can burrow deep inside the wood of the furniture to escape the gas. When fumigation is consistent for a long period, the gas will eventually seep into the furniture and kill the colony.

How long can termites live in furniture? Can they stay dormant?

Unlike other pests, termites can live upwards of two to three years for workers, kings, and soldiers, and upwards of fifty years for a queen termite. This means that once a termite colony has infested a piece of furniture, treatment is immediately necessary due to the long lifespan of the queen who will keep reproducing each year. Drywood termites do not require much moisture in comparison to other termite species, which can easily see them living inside of wood furniture for years at a time.

How to prevent getting termites in wooden furniture

Termites are not only attracted to wood, but also to moisture. Always ensure that your wood furniture is kept as dry as possible and frequently polish the furniture to keep a repellent on the surface to repel termites. Also, ensure that you take measures to keep termites from getting into your home in the first place. Dust all structural beams with DE powder to kill any termites that try and climb into the home from the ground and regularly inspect for the signs of termite damage to furniture.

In Summary

Drywood termites are a species of termite that requires little moisture and typically chooses to infest dry wood such as furniture. The signs of Drywood termites include erosion and cracking of the edges of furniture and the appearance of tiny holes and sawdust-like fecal matter known as frass around the edges and on the ground. If these signs are present, termites are likely colonizing inside of the furniture.

Treatment methods include usage of a termiticide injected into the furniture and fumigation. It can be difficult to attempt to treat furniture for termites alone. Once treatment has begun, it is only a matter of time before the colony is destroyed and your furniture is salvaged.

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