Woodworm is a collective term used to describe species of wood boring insects that make themselves into a cocoon and then hatch into a beetle. Driftwood washes up on shorelines and often sits there for sometime but can also be purchased. In this article, I will explain if it’s possible for driftwood to have woodworm.
As a general rule, driftwood can have woodworm. Woodworms prefer damp wood. But, if a piece of driftwood has been sealed with polyurethane or something similar, it’s far less likely to have woodworm. Boiling driftwood will kill any woodworms in driftwood.
Driftwood is commonly used as an ornament, but also put into aquariums and reptile enclosures. While woodworm is not very bad for driftwood, if it gets into the wood in your home it will weaken any wood due to the holes that woodworms make in the wood.
Below, I will cover how to kill woodworm that is in driftwood, how to know if a piece of driftwood has woodworm, and what types of bugs can be present in driftwood.
How To Know if Driftwood Has Woodworm
Not all driftwood will have woodworm. Therefore, it’s good to know what to look for if you suspect that your driftwood has woodworm. So, here are the telltale signs that your driftwood has woodworm.
In general, there will be an accumulation of small piles of wood dust around the driftwood. The eggs of the woodworm can be seen with the naked eye but only if you look very closely. There can also be holes about 4 mm across, these are the exit holes of adult woodworm beetles.
To get an idea how to identify if a piece of driftwood has woodworm it’s important to understand the life cycle of woodworms. Interestingly, woodworms prefer slightly damp wood according to property care expert Peter Cox.
Therefore, it’s more likely woodworms will live in freshly collected driftwood. Compared to driftwood that has been sitting somewhere for a long time, and has dried out.
The signs above are very indicative. However, some woodworms can be present at different stages in a woodworms life cycle. Before getting into that you can do a one size fits all method to remove woodworm and any other bugs from driftwood.
How to remove woodworm from Driftwood (very easy)
The method to kill woodworm and other bugs is also a good method to use if you intend to put the driftwood into an aquarium. Decomposing organic plant matter such as driftwood gives off what are called tannins.
If a piece of driftwood is placed into a fish aquarium without first removing the tannins, the water will turn the color of a cup of tea.
The method used so that a piece of driftwood doesn’t discolor the water of an aquarium is the SAME method to kill woodworm. According to WikiHow if woodworms are heated above 140° F (60° C), they will die.
Therefore, if you place drift wood into boiling water it will kill woodworms. This works for woodworms at any stage in their life cycle.
Such as, when they are in the woodworm stage, the pupal stage, and when they have hatched into a beetle.
Here’s a bit of info about how woodworm get into wood, and their life cycle so you can understand how to identify if a piece of driftwood has woodworm:
1. Adult woodworm beetle lays eggs in the wood
2. Eggs hatch into larvae – they remain as eggs for 5 weeks
3. Larvae eat wood and burrow – 2 to 5 years
4. Larvae turn into pupae, and morphs into adult – 6 to 8 weeks
5. Adult woodworm beetle chews its way out to the surface of the driftwood
An adult woodworm beetle is alive for 1 to 2 weeks before it dies naturally. The adult female woodworm beetle lays eggs in crevices and cracks in a piece of wood. Here the eggs are more sheltered from the elements.
Once the eggs hatch, the larvae burrow into the wood. As they burrow, they leave a long hole in the wood. When they are getting ready to turn into a pupae, they chew a pupal chamber that is about 5 times the size of their body.
They then turn into pupae. After a few months they hatch into adult woodworm beetles. And then chew their way to the surface of the wood. They then fly away.
Are There Bugs in Driftwood
Driftwood can be used as decoration, as a functional item like a doorstop, or placed in aquariums and terrariums. Most wood is susceptible to different kinds of bugs that like to eat it. But, this is whether bugs can live in driftwood.
As a general rule, bugs can be present in driftwood. But, they are not always present. Certain types of bugs show characteristic signs that they are living in driftwood. To remove any bugs in driftwood such as woodworms, boil the driftwood in water for about 1 hour.
Telltale signs of bugs in driftwood, are small piles of wood about ½ an inch (1.25 cm) in diameter around the driftwood. Bugs that live in driftwood do so because they eat the driftwood as food. As they chew the wood, small particles of wood fall out of holes they make.
But, some bugs lay eggs that don’t hatch for a few weeks, and are very difficult to see with the naked eye. Therefore, they can be present without you knowing.
Does Driftwood Have Termites
Termites are found in virtually every country in the world. Some species form large colonies, whereas others don’t. Termites do consume wood, but here is whether driftwood can have termites.
Driftwood can have termites. Termites do not like water, therefore, if a piece of driftwood is newly acquired from a shoreline, chances are it won’t have termites. However, if it’s been taken from the shoreline and kept somewhere dry, it’s more likely to have termites.
Termites can be easily removed by boiling a piece of driftwood. Boiling a piece of driftwood won’t damage the driftwood at all.
The high temperatures will kill termites, and any termite eggs or larvae according to Chem Free Exterminating, a termite extermination company . When the driftwood is submerged in water it will also cause the water to go into any open cracks and crevices where termites can be.