Wood Worms

      White worms in reclaimed lumber intended for furniture. What to do? April 20, 2011

I am building a kitchen island with reclaimed cottonwood for the panels. On my 7th panel, I ripped it to find live white worms inside. What to do? Will these worms migrate into my client's house? The rest of the island? Should I just scrap the panels? The wood is already milled to size.

Forum Responses
(Furniture Making Forum)
From contributor M:
Back in the 70's, I had a customer who made coffee tables out of 8/4 eastern white pine sawn with live edges and the bark still on. One day he got a call from a customer who had to keep vacuuming dust around the coffee table. He made arrangements to go check it out the next day. Later that same day, the woman called freaking out that big fat white worms were all over her rug. Turns out the kiln drying didn't kill the larvae. We had to re-dry the load and segregate all other lumber that had been in the same shed. I would not ship the panels as is. Try to replace the panels or get them up to high temp (real tricky with cottonwood) or fume them with something to kill the bugs.

From contributor G:
"Will these worms migrate into my client's house?"
Possibly. Hard to say without knowing the sort of worm.

The question you should ask is, "Do I want to risk the cost in terms of money and reputation of having to pay to have their house fumigated?" Heat treat the boards. Trash anything with worms sticking out. Sleep well at night.

From contributor A:
Actually had this problem with a piece I had built for our home. It took me months of filling holes and using a paste insecticide to get the new holes to stop. I have not used any suspect wood since then.

From Professor Gene Wengert, Sawing and Drying Forum technical advisor:
Many (most) worms in wood only like wet wood. Further, heating to 130 F in drying will kill worms and their eggs, although the wood can get reinfected after drying. (That is why we always store KD wood away from non-KD or imported woods.)

The powder post beetle (holes are 1/32" to 1/16" in diameter) that we are concerned about in hardwoods in the USA can at times take a year or more to hatch and leave the wood, so sometimes infected wood is used without knowing it.

Would you like to add information to this article?
Interested in writing or submitting an article?
Have a question about this article?

Have you reviewed the related Knowledge Base areas below?
  • KnowledgeBase: Knowledge Base

  • KnowledgeBase: Furniture

  • KnowledgeBase: Furniture: General

  • KnowledgeBase: Primary Processing

  • KnowledgeBase: Primary Processing: Air Drying Lumber

  • KnowledgeBase: Primary Processing: Kiln Operation

    Would you like to add information to this article? ... Click Here

    If you have a question regarding a Knowledge Base article, your best chance at uncovering an answer is to search the entire Knowledge Base for related articles or to post your question at the appropriate WOODWEB Forum. Before posting your message, be sure to
    review our Forum Guidelines.

    Questions entered in the Knowledge Base Article comment form will not generate responses! A list of WOODWEB Forums can be found at WOODWEB's Site Map.

    When you post your question at the Forum, be sure to include references to the Knowledge Base article that inspired your question. The more information you provide with your question, the better your chances are of receiving responses.

    Return to beginning of article.

    Refer a Friend || Read This Important Information || Site Map || Privacy Policy || Site User Agreement

    Letters, questions or comments? E-Mail us and let us know what you think. Be sure to review our Frequently Asked Questions page.

    Contact us to discuss advertising or to report problems with this site.

    To report a problem, send an e-mail to our Webmaster

    Copyright © 1996-2019 - WOODWEB ® Inc.
    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without permission of the Editor.
    Review WOODWEB's Copyright Policy.

    The editors, writers, and staff at WOODWEB try to promote safe practices. What is safe for one woodworker under certain conditions may not be safe for others in different circumstances. Readers should undertake the use of materials and methods discussed at WOODWEB after considerate evaluation, and at their own risk.

    WOODWEB, Inc.
    335 Bedell Road
    Montrose, PA 18801

    Contact WOODWEB

  • WOODWEB - the leading resource for professional woodworkers

      Home » Knowledge Base » Knowledge Base Article