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Do you have a pharma grade freezer? If so would it fit?

Joel Voron

Colonial Williamsburg Foundation

  Conservation Dept.

     Integrated Pest Management

      Office 757-220-7080

        Cell 757-634-1175


From: <> on behalf 
of Karen Potje <>
Sent: Wednesday, June 29, 2016 11:49 AM
Subject: RE: [pestlist] wood-boring beetle

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Thank you to those who’ve given information on this infestation.

I have just come across this article about Anobium punctatum   which 

Woodworm: Anobium Punctatum – The 
A practical guide to woodworm infestation and its eradication by building 
pathologist and environmental scientist Tim Hutton

The deposition of quantities of fresh gritty frass from the emergence holes may 
sometimes indicate active infection. However, frass may often be found coming 
out of emergence holes in previously affected timbers many years after active 
infection has ceased. This may be due to vibration caused by heavy traffic on 
adjacent roads or building works elsewhere on the structure. Again, the 
appearance of freshly deposited frass around emergence holes has often been the 
justification for extensive remedial treatments in the past, even when the 
infection by Anobium punctatum has been dead or inactive for many years.

This makes me wonder if, instead of seeing an active infestation, we are seeing 
frass and dead insects shaken out of the wood during transit from Italy which 
come from a previous, now infactive infestation.  Attached are pictures of the 
frass.  In the picture of the greyish wooden door you see frass at the bottom 
right (In the second photo I’ve circled areas of frass in yellow) while the 
other photo shows frass deposited on the crate itself.  I have already made 
tentative arrangements to have this crate and its contents treated with CO2 
next week, but given that the treatment is expensive, should I do further 
investigation in an attempt to find out if the infestation is active?  Or 
should I just play it safe and have the treatment done ASAP?  Of course we 
don’t want to take any risk of an active infestation continuing and of the 
insects travelling throughout our storage areas. And since these insects have a 
long life cycle, even if the frass is old, how would I know there are not eggs 
inside, waiting to hatch and do more damage?

Here is what the article says about identifying an active infestation:

Searching for live Anobium punctatum larvae within timber is generally 
destructive, and surprisingly few larvae may actually be found. It is possible 
to use highly sensitive piezoelectric microphones embedded in the timbers to 
monitor activity, but this is not yet the basis of an effective diagnostic 
technique for use in the field. Similarly, it is possible to identify recently 
produced frass using immunological or genetic techniques. Again, this is not 
yet the basis of a cost-effective field identification technique.
In practical terms, the likelihood of significant Anobium punctatum infection 
is relatively easy to assess, in that if the deep moisture content of the 
timber is below 12 per cent, it is too dry for infection and decay to occur, 
while if the moisture content is between approximately 16 and 30 per cent it is 
possible, even if infection and decay is not present at the time of 
investigation. If a deep moisture content of 16-30 per cent is found in the 
sapwood of vulnerable timber, then an assessment has to be made whether this 
moisture content is likely to persist for over two years. If this is the case, 
then appropriate remedial measures should be considered.
I’m inclined to go ahead with the treatment but wonder if those with insect 
expertise would advise further investigation first.
Thanks for your advice

Karen Potje
Chef, Conservation/Restauration
Head, Conservation/Preservation
Centre Canadien d’Architecture
1920, rue Baile, Montréal, Québec
Canada H3H 2S6

514 939 7001 x 1236<>

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