Antique Furniture Insect Problem and Infestation

By John Tope

They are usually in the form of small holes in the wood.  The insects are usually long gone.  If you see a light amount of fine sawdust under the piece of furniture, it can strongly indicate that the insects are still active.  A simple test is to place a sheet of black paper beneath the holes.  Wait a couple of days.  Check the paper to see if any fine saw dust has accumulated on the paper.  It should be easy to see the fine wood dust on the paper with a black background.   

If you take the furniture piece home, the infestation can spread to your other wooden antiques.  Poison can be purchased at some hardware stores that would require injection of the poison in the holes.  An exterminator may use a fumigation tent over the piece.  If the item is small and does not contain glass, you can place it in your kitchen freezer for about a week.  The freezing temperatures will kill the insects.  

It is suggested that you fill the holes as part of your restoration to prevent and new insects entering the holes.