Conservation DistList Archives [Date] [Subject] [Author] [SEARCH]

Subject: Dermestids and musical instruments

Dermestids and musical instruments

From: Thomas A. Parker <bugman22>
Date: Thursday, December 23, 1999
On behalf of Scott R. Campbell, Sally Shelton
<shelton.sally [at] nmnh__si__edu> writes

>    I was approached by a repair technician of musical instruments
>    about damage he sees of felt pads and hair bow strings by what I
>    assume are dermestids. Can anyone offer some information on the
>    possible cause and prevention?

It is true that dermestid larvae of several species will feed on
natural felt and certainly the protein in bowstrings, but I wonder
out loud whether this is an active condition or old damage.

To protect any susceptible item in storage, simply inspect it to
insure that there is no active infestation of any kind, and then bag
the item in a museum-quality, clear, polyethylene bag of at least 2
mil thickness.  Once stored in this manner, the object will be easy
to inspect without removal from the bag, and it will be protected
against future insect invasion and dust.

After a few months, if an inspection of the bagged item reveals no
excrement (frass) in the bottom of the bag and no signs of activity,
you're home free for decades, as long as the poly bag remains

A sealed polyethylene bag "breathes" with several air changes each
day.  When you bag a susceptible artifact, you "smooth out" the
peaks and valleys of humidity and temperature changes within the
bag.  As long as an item is placed in a bag after it has been
allowed to equilibrate to room conditions, and then it stays in that
room, there will be no threat of mold, dust, or insects.

Thomas A. Parker, PhD
Pest Control Services, Inc.
President, Entomologist

                  Conservation DistList Instance 13:39
                 Distributed: Monday, January 10, 2000
                       Message Id: cdl-13-39-009
Received on Thursday, 23 December, 1999

[Search all CoOL documents]