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Subject: Wood borer infestation

Wood borer infestation

From: Jim Grant <jimgrant>
Date: Saturday, April 14, 2007
Katja Telp <katjatelp [at] sbcglobal__net> writes

>A polychrome wooden sculpture I am restoring has some alarming wood
>borer infestation, and it is nothing I have ever seen before. The
>exit holes are enormous, about an inch long and oval. The undigested
>wood shavings from the holes are 3/4 inches long.

I'm no expert on insects or infestations so this is only anecdotal
experience.  That said, I think you are dealing with carpenter bees.
I have seen similar damage to what you describe in an outdoor
redwood structure in Los Angeles.  These were holes and tunnels
about half inch diameter in soft redwood.  They may be relatives of
your Mexican insects. These bees are also solitary.  Google has lots
more info.

Also, many years ago I treated a wood sculpture with a similar hole
in it.  I don't recall the details, but I think it was an unpainted
ethnographic work, and I injected some solvent (isopropanol or
acetone) and retrieved a large insect.  This treatment may not be
appropriate for your polychrome sculpture.  You may want to have it
fumigated or otherwise treated to prevent further damage or
infestation.  Any thing that can chew through wood that fast will
not be stopped for long by a plastic bag!  Good luck,

Jim Grant
conservator in private practice (semi-retired)

                  Conservation DistList Instance 20:50
                  Distributed: Monday, April 16, 2007
                       Message Id: cdl-20-50-001
Received on Saturday, 14 April, 2007

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