wood worms in musical instruments

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Hi, I have found the fine powder evidence of woodworms and found exit holes in several, (15) of our musical instruments (called Ngoni’s ancestors to the American banjo).

The instruments are from Africa and are made of hardwood logs approximately 20 inches long that have scooped out to form an oblong bowl shape with a 3 foot dowl inset to make the neck. A cow skin is stretched across and pinned down using 1 1/2 inch long hand carved pegs to cover the bowl, and strings are stretched from the neck down to a bridge made of carved calabash. .

These instruments are a large part of our livelihood, we have quite an investment in them and want to protect them. The wooden pegs are being transformed to powder, and the hardwood bodies show holes in them from the worms.

We are a family of musicians and have 6 or 8 guitars that we want to protect as well as several large wooden drums made from hollowed out logs covered with cow skins. All in all we probably have 40 instruments as well as several wooden stools and wood shelving.

How would we best go about treating these induvidual items. I am guessing that we will have to remove the cow skins to get to the insides of the drums and the 15 Ngoni’s. and to find a way to spray inside of the guitars where the surface wood is unvarnished.

Also, do these insects eat particle board? I am unable to call you during business hours, so please email me back. Thank you very much!

It sounds as though you have read our information and understand the basic process of treating your Ngoni’s. As I see it, you have no option but to apply the BORACARE to the inside (unfinished) chamber of these instruments because the outside is varnished. And based on how the instruments are constructed, it would appear that you have no choice but to do exactly what you think you must do: first remove the cow skin so the inside chamber will be accessible. The good news is the treatment should last indefinitely, do nothing to alter the shape or sound of the instruments and not affect it’s look either.

My only concern is if any instrument has a “neck” or other solid piece with no unfinished void for a treatment to be administered. This would present a problem and some alternative application method would have to be considered. As for particle board; this material is generally made from lesser quality wood (or at least a different species) and though some wood boring beetles can live on different kinds of wood, in general they’ll target one species at a time. In other words, particle board in close proximity to the instruments should be safe in the short run. But I’ve seen it get attacked and fed upon by a wide range of pests so it’s most definitely a “vulnerable” wood. That means if you have some vested interest in anything using particle board and would like to keep these pieces beetle free, treating with the Boracare would be a smart move for them too.

Boracare:  http://www.bugspraycart.com/insecticide/liquid/boracare-gal

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