Help - bug on a bow!


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One of my bows tonight had 10 broken hairs that it didn't have last night. I had always thought that the little beetles that bow owners fear so much were microscopic. But there, munching happily away near the tip, was a monster nearly 1/8" long. Is that some other kind of beetle? Do I need to fumigate my case and the other bows? (It's a nice case by American Case Co., so I don't want to toss it.) The last time I did a preventive fumigation of an old case, I sprayed Raid in it and kept it closed for a couple days. Is that an accepted approach?

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Thanks Andres. Do they just come one at time a like that? Where do they come from? Or, I wonder what he was eating before he found my bow?

Woodland, I should have said that I indeed took the violin and bows out before I sprayed. If there's only that one bug, then I still have plenty of hair. But if there were a bunch of unseen ones, then I probably should rehair all 3 bows. Hopefully it will be sunny tomorrow and I can try Andres' idea. (I already ran out and got a new can of bug spray.)

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Supposedly they don't like sunlight--I have an infested case sitting open in my shop window right now, so we'll eventually see if that works. I don't think a burst of insecticide is a bad idea, either, then close the case and leave it for a week. Then let it air out fully for a week or so, I'd guess. Which is something easier for me, since I've got cases all over the place. I've also read that Shell no-pest strips do the job. But you're right--damage to the varnish is a real risk; perhaps not so much with the no-pest strip, though.

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Thanks Andres. Do they just come one at time a like that? Where do they come from? Or, I wonder what he was eating before he found my bow?


Going on fallible memory, they are basically a common carpet beetle, they live off dead skin and hair. I've never seen more than one at a time in a case but that doesn't mean a thing -- once one starts eating, the human usually starts looking for a bug so there's no time for more to arrive.

Last time I had one I did the sunlight thing for a few hours and never had more problems. I keep my cases off the floor.

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I had an outbreak of "bow hair bugs" in my main case that I use all the time..I cleaned, brushed, swept, vacumed, dug&burned , tried cedar wood,bug spray and I still couldn't get rid of them!!! As a last resort I took 3 or 4 moth balls and crushed them and them saturated my blanket with the resulting powder and that did the trick..Kinda pungent but effective..Some folks can't stand the smell of moth balls but I can live with it if it will keep the critters away..Regards, Lonnie...

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I have had the bow mite problem too, particularily in one 12 bow case that has a boxed in end where the bow tip ends go.

I have tried vacuuming, airing, spraying and mothballs but I still feel there is a bug, or thousands, in there. I have never seen one and have heard they are very tiny. (Yours was 1/8"?)

The best approach is probably to pitch my case since it is the old boxed in design which is probably a nice home for critters.

I had an old friend that used to recommend chunks of camphor in the violin case but I've never found any.

Has anyone heard of that or tried camphor?

Jimbow

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Thanks all. It's another cloudy day, so I'll give it a whiff of Raid, then wait for the sunshine, and then wait for the freezing weather. With rehairs up to $40 now, I'll try everything. (The case did get placed on the floor every now and then, so that's probably how the critter got in.)

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I had this problem every now and then until one day I went to Home Depot and got a piece of 4 inch PVC pipe and two 4 inch caps. Cut the pipe to about 31 inches length and put a cap on each end. Put bows in and add a moth ball inside and seal it up!! Two weeks later no bugs. My bows stay in there when they are not in use for a long time. It's also a good quarantine area for suspect bows.

In my fiddle case I use a small bottle of camphor oil that I got at one of those new age stores that sells "essential oils," pharmacy or whatever. You could use eucalyptus oil too. Or Eucalyptus leaves. You California folks and Aussies can pick the Eucalyptus leaves up off the ground. Put a drop or two of the camphor oil on a piece of paper towel in the little compartment in the violin case.

-dogma

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I wouldn't spray Raid anywhere near my bows or an instrument! You can seriously damage the finish if you do that.

The easiest, cheapest, and safest way to protect your bows from bow bugs is to put a cotton cloth soaked with essential oil of lavender or rosemary in your case. The bugs can not tolerate the oil.

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  • 16 years later...

In my fiddle case I use a small bottle of camphor oil that I got at one of those new age stores that sells "essential oils," pharmacy or whatever. You could use eucalyptus oil too. Or Eucalyptus leaves. You California folks and Aussies can pick the Eucalyptus leaves up off the ground. Put a drop or two of the camphor oil on a piece of paper towel in the little compartment in the violin case.

Edited by ainsleyhunt
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If I recall correctly, Mike Molnar recommended lavender oil;  I've tried this, and it works very well.

I had an infestation once, so I aired out the bows and case in sunlight for a few days. Now every 4 months or so I put a few drops of lavender oil directly into the fabric inside my case in an inconspicuous area away from the bows and instrument. 

Since then, I haven't had any further incidence of these destructive bugs.

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4 hours ago, Mat Roop said:

I've heard  somewhere that REPEL kills mosquitoes and ticks and is very effective on camping gear and camp clothing.... and that spraying the liner of your case takes care of the critters.

Yes and no.   There are 4 different basic formulas for Repel brand products.  Only the one with permethrin in it kills bugs, the others either repel insects, or mask your odor.  Permethrin is used in many insecticide products besides the Repel clothing and gear spray.

http://www.repel.com/Mosquito-Repellent-Active-Ingredients.aspx

http://www.repel.com/mosquito-repellent-active-ingredients/permethrin.aspx

 

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