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Subject: Wood borer infestation

Wood borer infestation

From: Ian Fraser <ian.fraser>
Date: Friday, May 11, 2007
Helena Jaeschke <helena.jaeschke [at] exeter__gov__uk> writes

>On a side note from the problem of identifying wood-borers, someone
>mentioned that anything that can eat its way through wood is
>unlikely to be stopped by a plastic bag. I can report that in the
>UK, polythene bubblewrap can sometimes be effective.  A sample of
>timber had been frozen to treat a common woodworm (Anobium
>punctatum) infestation. The wood was then wrapped in acid-free
>tissue paper and bubblewrap for transport. It was left in its
>wrappings in store and when unwrapped recently several dead
>deathwatch beetles were found between the tissue and bubblewrap.
>Their fresh exit holes from the wood could clearly be identified, as
>could their tunnelling through the acid-free tissue above. They
>appeared to have then wandered between the bubbles and eventually
>perished. No marks of chewing or exit holes could be found in the
>bubblewrap. It's annoying that the freezing did not kill the
>deathwatch larvae, but comforting that the infestation did not
>spread to the store because of the bubblewrap.

Helena mentions that some woodwork with deathwatch beetle had been
frozen to kill the infestation, but it had not worked. I am very
curious to know what temperature it was frozen to, and the duration
of freezing. The advice I have had is that in excess of minus 30
degrees celsius is required in order to kill all stages of any
insect, and to ensure full evacuation of heat right to the core of
an object, for a long enough time, leave it in for several days (eg.
Monday to Friday). I am also curious to hear anybody else's
experiences with freezing to kill infestations.

Ian Fraser
Furniture Conservator
Leeds Museums and Galleries
Temple Newsam House
Leeds LS15 0AE


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Received on Friday, 11 May, 2007

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