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How to Stop Borer Eating Your Home

How to Stop Borer Eating Your Home
How to Stop Borer Eating Your Home

Protect your largest investment.

There are up to 7 species of wood-boring insect in New Zealand that might attack the timbers of your home or other buildings. The most common of these is the Common House Borer (Anobium punctatum) also known as Woodworm in other parts of the world. A close relative, is the Native House Borer (Leanobium flavomaculatum) is rarely distinguished from the Common Borer and may be the more common.

The life cycles of these insects are similar. Adult females lay up to 100 eggs on bare timber or in old flight holes. The eggs hatch after 4-5 weeks and the larvae bore through the wood, eating it and using yeasts in their stomachs to help break down cellulose in the wood. After 3-4 years the larvae will pupate in a chamber near the surface, then 4-8 weeks later the adult exits the wood by eating its way to the surface creating a 'flight hole'. It mates and begins the life cycle over again. The flight holes are approximately 2mm in diameter for Common Borer and 3-4mm for native borer.

It is important that a thorough survey is carried out to ascertain the extent of any infestation. It is frequently the case that a few flight holes are visible on the exterior of painted weather boards, however when the boards are examined more closely the interior of the timbers are badly damaged and many flight holes are present on the interior surface.


Treatment of timbers to remove borer infestation is the same for whichever species is present.

  1. Treat any bare wood with Kiwicare NO Borer fluid. This insecticide will penetrate deep into the timber and will kill larvae as they eat the wood and prevent adults laying eggs on the surface. In normal circumstances this will protect the wood for many years.
  2. Inject flight holes with Kiwicare NO Borer Injection fluid. This comes in a handy aerosol supplied with a nozzle for fitting into the holes. The aerosol forces insecticide into the labyrinth created by the borer larva killing any larva in the labyrinth or nearby. It also prevents adult beetles laying eggs in the flight hole.
  3. During each flight season (October-May) set off Kiwicare NO Borer Borafume Bombs in roof voids and sub-floor areas. These knock down adult beetles that would lay eggs on the exposed timbers here and give protection to the surface of the timbers.
  4. Borer prefer timber that has some moisture in it. Ensure that your sub-floor is dry and well ventilated. Check for plumbing leaks and unblock all air vents. Check for leaks in the roof and if you have old terracotta or concrete tiles check that they are well sealed. These can act like sponges soaking up water and increasing the relative humidity of roof voids. Kiwicare produce a silcone terracotta sealant called NO Leaks that can be used to seal tiles and walls.

This combination of treatment will protect your home and your investment .

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My wife got a cabinet with a

My wife got a cabinet with a nasty dose of borer from a garage sale to put baby clothes in. Given the state of the cabenet I have given it a good dose of No Borer Concentrate mixed with Mineral Terpintine. Given the chemicals used how long should I leave the cabinet before it should be safe to put the baby clothes in?

Hi Gill, You can use the

Hi Gill,

You can use the Kiwicare NO Borer Spray Injector to control borer beetles such as the Citrus or Lemon Tree Borer in trees – inject directly into the holes in the trunk and branches. Effectively controls borer in grapevines and lemon trees. It can be applied at any time of the year.

I hope that helps.


Can you please help me with

Can you please help me with tree borer, my fruit trees are suffering from this & I can't find any remedy for this.

Hi Mike, You are correct

Hi Mike,

You are correct that treating the whole floor area with turpentine or kerosene might affect the fire insurance of your home until the turps or kerosine has dried off (usually a day or two). The argument from some insurers being that if a fire started the house would be more flamable for that period. Check with your insurance policy first.

Water based products such as NO Bugs Super (deltamethrin) or NO Spiders (permethrin) will also work to control borer in this situation and have no fire risk implications. However, they do not penetrate as far into the timber and consequently have a shorter effective protection; 3 years+ instead of 10 years.

There are also some octa borate products that can be used but these require high levels of treatment with specialist equipment to do effectively. It is no good sprasying it on with a garden sprayer. The sprayer would block rapidly from crystalizing borate anyway.

The Kiwicare concentrate

The Kiwicare concentrate requires mixing with mineral Turpentine or Kerosene. Does using that on the under floor of the house effect that insurance fire risk? Is there any kind of nontoxic option?

We are about to enter the

We are about to enter the borer flight season in NZ. This is when the bore larvae (woodworm) finish their laravl stage, pupate near the surface of the wood and then hatch into adult beetles. The adults eat their way out through the wood surface leaving the tell tail small flight holes in your wood. The flight season runs from October through to February. It is over this period that borer bombs can be used to kill the adult beetles and stop them mating and laying more eggs on your timbers. Breaking the life cycle.

Good point. I agree diesel

Good point. I agree diesel is not a good option for control of borer particularly in furniture.

The use of turps of kerosene as carriers for long lasting treatments such as Kiwicare's NO Borer Concentrate are used to get good penetration of the product into the timber. The greater the penetration the longer the protection.

The Borer Injector is an excellent product for the treatment of furniture. The aerosol forces the protecting fluid into the labyrinths leading from the flight holes giving good penetration and preventing beetles laying eggs in the flight holes.

Just noticed this comment on

Just noticed this comment on kerosine to kill borer. This is an old wife's tale. I tested it by painting over an antique chair infested with borer then sealing the chair in cling wrap over a full flight season. On unwrapping there were fresh borer exit holes. Only an idiot would use deisel; having worked on restoring antique furniture for over 30 years I am still to find an effective treatment for removing deisel contamination from wood. Borer bombs kill insects on the wing but what happens next week? Fumigation is an instant fix but the wood could be infested almost immediately after treatment. Use a proprietary paint on product that is an instant fix but also ruins the little buggers dinner for years to come.

Hello, The use of old diesel


The use of old diesel or kerosene, while effective, does have the significant drawbacks of a lingering smell and the fact that insurance companies may regard your fire insurance as null and void on buildings treated in this way.

Disappointed to see no

Disappointed to see no mention of the old tried and true method of underfloor prevention/eradication of borer in NZ by coating all bare timber with a mix of used diesel oil and kerosene. Much cheaper than anything else!