I thought it would be good to cover some aspects regarding woodworm in old tools as this can be a real concern for those who worry about bringing old tools with signs of attack into there homes or buildings in general.
The first instinct would be not to touch them as it could cause an infestation but the reality is very much different.
First and foremost has to be whether there has been any recent activity, this can be deduced by looking for fresh dust coming from the holes, if this is a case it’s worth now asking the question of where did those old tools come from. If it was a damp old shed then the signs are that treatment may be be required and is probably advisable.
Let’s now put to bed the term woodworm, well it’s not actual worms as such as many would assume sliding around the corridors they create in the wood. The woodworm aren’t actually worm at all but instead beetle grubs, examples include the powder-post beetle, death watch beetle, longhorn beetle and more commonly the furniture beetle.
These beetles generally lay their eggs in the wild on damp stumps and rotting branches in woodland. When the eggs hatch the grubs (larva) grow by eating away at the damp wood eventually growing to an adult size before pupating like a butterfly and then hatching as an adult beetle which will start its own journey of life.
The fact is that woodworm like very specific conditions and if they are to survive and thrive and dry warm places is’t there preferred choice. Beetle grubs shouldn’t really be looked at as pests as they do a tremendous job of breaking down decaying wood in woodlands etc and are part of the food chain within those environments, however if someone gives them the same conditions how are they refuse or know the difference.
So to conclude should you be concerned? Well on the whole look at this like this, if they have better choices of environments to live than those you use for storing your old tools then this shouldn’t ever be an issue. Minor woodworm on the whole has little effect if a tool is rare and for the useable tools it’s often a case of swapping like for like parts to eradicate any worm was ever present.
I hope this helps with any concerns on this subject, regards Steve