Zap them! Kill them! Spray them! Yes, we are in B-movie science-fiction territory, where large bugs pop out of holes to drag your pal, Johnny, down to its lair with lots of bone sucking noises and a few screams. We hate bugs. As gardeners there are those lovely friendly bugs we all love, ladybirds, lacewings and ground beetles but most of nature is made up of the other kind, earwigs and thrips. Anyone who has found greenfly on their tomatoes and wireworm in their spuds will now stand up and cry: Hallejuah. In our garden we can get a balance between the good and the bad, the dark side and the Jedi way. This is the organic approach but when you step over the doorstep we all tend to toss the organic aside, don our Darth Vader masks and pull out the pesticides. A dead fly indoors is better than a live one. Then there are bugs who hide in the very wood you walk on. We all have some woodworm, many of you don't know it unless you are a sailor, walk with a limp and seem to have been listing more in the last few months. Most woodworm gets into your house, gets annoyed with the central heating, the lack of moisture, gnaws a bit, lays some eggs and promptly dies of exhaustion. Woodworm loves it damp, that's why you tend to find them in forests. Now and again though they have to be tackled.
As we stripped back our ceilings we found beams with some woodworm damage and these were treated, the underside of floors, lintels all got dosed with a good amount of woodworm killer, dry rot fungicide and enough chemicals to kill a bull elephant. It would have been great to cut out any wood with woodworm in it, but frankly where would you start and when would you end? They are not like a fly buzzing around waiting for a rolled up newspaper. Woodworm can live happily in your wood for decades and the first you will know about it is when you end up at the kitchen table seconds after sitting down on the toilet. The first sign of woodworm, which you can see in the top photo must be met with only what can be described as over zealous napalm. In this case, woodworm killer.
This liquid based, low odour, probably carcinogenic; everything is nowadays, it's the new black, is easy to apply. We're not being flippant about cancer but let's face facts everything we make, ingest, water with and plant in will have the potential to cure or kill us. That's life, that's our ruined food chain, we can focus on the bad side or get on with the living and growing, and we know which ones are more enjoyable. Bloody bugs and their bloody desire to reproduce. We're not daft, we opened every window on a dry day and left the windows open well into evening. It's cold, Daddy. It's cold, Mummy. Put a jumper on. That one phrase could save us millions each year and lower our carbon footprint to that of a squirrel with gas. Put a jumper on. Use your common sense when using chemicals, open some windows, wear a mask, wash yourself thoroughly after using them. Wash in a shower not in a bath. You want to make sure that woodworm killer or fungicide penetrates the wood, so treat the woodworm holes first making sure that you are not shy with it. You want to do around three coats if using a brush, you can use a spray but for goodness sake wear a good mask and goggles. Spray acts differently from a brush, it's finer and naturally becomes airborne. A good brush won't, it will just slop around. Both ways result in the same thing, dead woodworm and protection for your wood for years to come. Now fill in those holes with a good filler, seal with a good varnish and don't think about the rest of the wood in your house. It will keep you up at night.