Using lavender for woodworm
November 24, 2010 4:09 AM   Subscribe

Does anyone know whether lavender essential oil can be used as a deterrent for woodworm? I believe it is effective against clothes moths and wondered whether it might also work for the moths of woodworm. It would be very expensive to cover an area with neat oil, but perhaps it could be diluted in a carrier oil. Thanks for any thoughts.
posted by BobAndJoy to Home & Garden (3 answers total)
Woodworm are beetles, not moths. Generally speaking, you treat them when you find evidence of an infestation. If you haven't found any active holes, there's probably no reason to use any preventative measures. Active holes tend to look 'fresh', and there's often some evidence of wood dust nearby.

As far as remedies go, and I did look into this a bit when I had an infestation in the joists of my old house, the only properly effective treatments are (i) Borax, and (ii) Chemical insecticides

Chemical treatments kill the larvae near the surface, and also kill the adults as they emerge. The larvae deeper in the wood survive until they start to emerge. So not only does the treeatment need to be poisonous by contact to the beetles, it also needs to retain its potency for a couple of years until all of the larvae have emerged.

Borax is slightly less effective, but still works pretty well. And borax is pretty safe stuff, both in terms of toxicity to you and to the environment (note: you need to make sure you're using proper borax (sodium borate), not borax substitute).

I think Lavender oil will smell nice, but probably do nothing.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 5:12 AM on November 24, 2010

Lavender isn't actually a moth repellent, it merely disguises the natural smells which attract moths in the first place. I see no reason to believe that it would work on a bug attracted to wood as such.
posted by valkyryn at 5:41 AM on November 24, 2010

Many thanks for your comments. Don't know where I got the idea the adults were moths! Will definitely try the borax.
posted by BobAndJoy at 5:38 AM on November 25, 2010

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