Termites in Antique Furniture

Antique furniture gives you a glimpse into the past you can cherish and share in your home. Perhaps you have an ornate dining chair or a century-old chifforobe from generations past. Or maybe you purchased some beautiful old furniture at an auction or estate sale. Unfortunately, while these pieces may bring you joy, they could also bring unwelcome guests. So don’t let termites in antique furniture catch you off guard. Here’s what to look for and what to do if you find them.


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How to Spot Termites in Antique Furniture

If you have antique wood furniture, you can save yourself worry and loss by inspecting it regularly. So how can you tell if you have termites in antique furniture? The following telltale signs reveal the presence of a termite infestation.

  • Termite droppings – Also known as frass, these tiny balls of droppings look much like sawdust.
  • Hollow sound – Tap lightly on the furniture with a hammer or screwdriver. If it sounds hollow, you might have termites.
  • Mud tubes – You can spot subterranean termites by the mud tubes they leave. This type of termite often chews on stored antique furniture.
  • Visible damage – Termites can damage your furniture to the point that you can see the destruction immediately.
  • Soft spots – Termites in antique furniture can cause soft spots in the wood.
  • Dust – You may find more dust than you expect around the area where your antiques sit.
  • Damage on the bottom – Termites often enter antique wood furniture from the bottom. Thus, it makes sense to turn each piece upside down and look for termites.
  • Discarded wings – Discarded wings indicate the termites have occupied your furniture for a significant amount of time.

Termites Can Spread from Furniture to Home

Termites in antique furniture can destroy treasured heirlooms. However, these treacherous insects do not stop with the walnut four-poster bed or oak side chair. Instead, if you do not act quickly, they spread through your entire home.

Once the termites move to the woodwork, walls, and cabinets, you have no choice but to treat the entire home. For severe infestations, pest control companies usually recommend whole-home tent fumigation. Therefore, getting the termites out of the furniture makes more sense before they infect the home.

furniture antique rocking chair

Fumigation for Antique Furniture

To get rid of termites in antique furniture, pest control experts often recommend vault fumigation. First, the technicians place the furniture in an airtight vault. Then, the pest control technician releases toxic Vikane gas into the closed vault.

The furniture stays in the chamber for three to four days. During this time, the gas kills all the termites in every nook and cranny of each piece. This process does not damage your antique furniture or leave residue. When you bring it home, you can display your antiques proudly.

Why Home Remedies Don’t Work

Many do-it-yourself gurus suggest treating termites in antique furniture on your own, especially if the infestation is minor. But, unfortunately, you could run into some problems with home remedies for termites.

For example, one home remedy requires you to put small antiques into your freezer. The idea seems to make a bit of sense because termites cannot stand extreme temperatures. The problem? The cold can damage your antiques. In addition, the same issue comes up when you try setting your antiques in the bright sunlight. What’s more, if you leave the furniture outside and it rains, your furniture will warp, buckle, and split.

Several home remedies involve rubbing certain substances on your furniture, including various types of oil, vinegar, or insecticides. Yet, these substances can damage your antiques, too. Beyond that, some of them consist of toxic substances that could make you or your loved ones sick.

Is Prevention Possible?

You can avoid bringing termites home with you when you acquire a new piece of antique furniture. If you can, take the item to a pest control company for vault fumigation before you bring it home. If you must bring it home, wrap it tightly in plastic until you can get it fumigated. After that, you can bring the piece into your home confidently, knowing it carries no pests.

Are you worried about termites in antiques that you brought home long ago? If so, consider contacting a termite expert for an inspection. They can often see the signs of termites when you cannot. Furthermore, if they find a large infestation in your furniture, they can inspect your entire home.

At A-1 Bonded Termite, we understand your concerns about termites in antique furniture. We take special care to protect your antiques while ridding them of nasty wood-eating insects. As a result, we can help you avoid damage to your precious items and prevent termites from invading your home. Consequently, you can enjoy your antiques and even pass them down to the next generation!


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