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How to prevent insects in the violin case?


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So far I mostly only find how to get rid of the insects, e.g. using a hand vacuum cleaner.

For prevention, I see a suggestion of using pest strips in the violin case.

I wonder whether the chemicals contained in the pest stripe might adversely impact violins such as essential oil and synthetic insecticides such as prallethrin and transfluthrin.

Does anyone here have some clue?

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Cleanliness, vacuuming and sunlight are the best preventives I know of, along with keeping away from woolen carpets.  Occasional spraying with pyrethrins seems to work, and they dissipate fairly quickly. Housekeeping and exposure to sunlight has worked 100% for me the pas few years, but I keep my bows hung up on the wall, not in cases.

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To keep insects out...you need to make the environment inhospitable for them.

This depends on the environment in your neck of the woods. There isn't an absolute "one size fits all".

But...as Michael mentioned...air and light are go-tos.

What you don't want is darkness and moisture.

 

 

 

 

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https://www.amazon.com/Sawyer-Products-SP657-Permethrin-Repellent/dp/B001ANQVYU/

Totally harmless to humans, disrupts the nervous system of insects only, but dangerous to fish and cats when wet. Spray and forget, lasts some months. Water based. Nothing there to harm violins. I spray it directly on bows with bow bugs.

 

 

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37 minutes ago, vlnclo said:

What kinds of insects  populate instruiment cases and bows?

Carpet beetles can get inside cases and eat bow hair. Evidence of infestation are bows that look like the bow hair has been cut with scissors. 

I wonder if woodworm is still a problem in modern violins stored in modern cases. I have assumed that wood worms were introduced in the past through the old wooden "coffin" cases.

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5 hours ago, vlnclo said:

What kinds of insects  populate instruiment cases and bows?

Commonly called "Bow bugs" in the (U.S.) bowed instrument world.

Bow bugs are dermestid beetles (more commonly known as “carpet beetles” or “skin beetles”) and are frequently not even noticed in a home until they crawl into a (cello) case and feast upon bow hair or climb into a clarinet case and feast upon the instrument's pads.

https://www.lashofviolins.com/bow-bugs.htm#:~:text=Bow bugs are dermestid beetles,feast upon the instrument's pads.

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I realize I'm beating a dead bow (:ph34r:) but there are approximately 1000 species of dermestid beetles worldwide. 

There are also any number of other beetles that may live in a violin case (for various reasons - some known only to them)...

So...while it's possible (even likely) that a 'one fits all' control method might work in most cases...it may NOT work in ALL cases.  You may even find some innocent random beetle walking by your violin case...and freak out...and take totally unnecessary control measures.

People dismiss the importance of proper species identification with regards to insects all the time, and they really shouldn't.

To make an analogy that may be more useful:

Family Equidae (horses) has "only" 8-10 species (depending on who's being referenced).

In short...this family is mostly comprised of horses, donkeys and zebras.  While they have much in common with each other, each of these animals are also very different and need different care.  So...while it is possible to have a group of all three living together in a field...it is unlikely.

Now...which of the 1000 species of dermestid might be in your case?  Or is a dermestid beetle at all?  Or is it even a beetle?

 

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2 hours ago, Rue said:

Now...which of the 1000 species of dermestid might be in your case?  Or is a dermestid beetle at all?  Or is it even a beetle?

Not myself being a bugologist, I don't know. Which of the 1000 species are more inclined to eat bow hair?
The same bugs also eat tortoise shell, this being offered in case that might raise your personal level of diagnostic interest. ;)

But since you're here, is it true that there are chemicals which are any of the following: Repellent, neurotoxic, or fatal to insects, but totally benign to humans?

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Lol.

What I'm trying to illustrate...albeit badly...and trying to stop... is the mindset of "there is a bug in my case! It is evil! It must be annihilated! I must use PoisonX immediately! That is the only way to deal with the bug in the violin case".

Totally benign to humans?

Take said bug. Step on it.

Otherwise:

1. Airflow, low humidity. Vacuum. Totally safe.

2. Prolonged freezing.

3. Natural repellent: could try cedar bits in the case. Might not help. Certainly won't hurt.

4. Diatomaceous Earth.  Natural. Safe...but...do not breath it in. Can irritate airway. Drawback: dry powder. Must be kept dry. Messy.

5. Technically, an insect's nervous system and our own, while different, are not THAT different. Any toxins that affect the nervous system of an insect can affect the nervous system of a human.

Having said said that, most household pesticide formulations are very safe when used as directed. Even to the point they might not be very effective.

6. There are a host of biocontrol options that are species specific...fungi, bacteria, viruses...etc. but none for some unspecified "bug" found in a case in an unknown part of the world. Most are for large scale application (agriculture, forestry, etc).

 

 

 

 

 

 

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8 hours ago, Rue said:

Lol.

What I'm trying to illustrate...albeit badly...and trying to stop... is the mindset of "there is a bug in my case! It is evil! It must be annihilated! I must use PoisonX immediately! That is the only way to deal with the bug in the violin case".

.....Vacuum. Totally safe..................

Don't forget your spacesuit!  :huh:

 

8 hours ago, Rue said:

.....................

5. Technically, an insect's nervous system and our own, while different, are not THAT different. Any toxins that affect the nervous system of an insect can affect the nervous system of a human.

Having said said that, most household pesticide formulations are very safe when used as directed. Even to the point they might not be very effective............

There's a wide variety of spices commonly used in cooking (along with some exotic substances like spinosad) which aggressively attack arthropod neural channels either not present or not vitally important in humans.  Cloves, rosemary, and several other aromatic spices will repel and kill insects.  https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1532045601002551?via%3Dihub

I recommend that people try placing a small cloth bag of whole cloves, thyme, rosemary, and cinnamon in your case to prevent bow bugs and woodworm. :)

Or you could add spinosad to your rosin, and your bow will never have fleas.  :lol:

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3 hours ago, not telling said:

What about diatomaceous earth sprinkled all over the case? Perfectly nontoxic and extremely effective, cheap, and simple solution. 

See #4. ^_^

FWIW...wouldn't be my go-to for long-term.  Can be handy for immediate concerns...but it takes quite a bit of effort to maintain DE properly.

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@Violadamore

That was an awesome movie when it came out.:D

I avoided discussing the botanicals...can't really sum them up in sentence.  Most are safe for humans...but some you still need to be careful around.  For example...nicotine is a botanical...and it's up there in toxicity.

Spinosad is formulated from a bacteria.  It's still relatively 'new'. It is relatively safe and it breaks down quickly which is great since you don't have residues. I don't know enough about it to see how to use it in a violin case, or if you can even buy some formulation that might work.  As far as I know it's used more for the control of certain field crop pests and for the control of some home pest like lice and fleas.  I haven't used it myself.

But yes...if cedar chips work (cedar oil) then a potpourri of other herbs/spices certainly could...and again, won't hurt.

You just have to make sure that you replace the material regularly as it off-gasses and make sure it doesn't come in contact with wood surfaces.  Dunno what effect the oils in some of the plants may have on the finished surfaces of a violin...or if you are handling the material...and then touch the violin...if damaging oils could transfer to the finished surface.

Someone with a whole bunch of 'rubbish' instruments (and time to spare!) might like to set up an experiment one day! ^_^  I

Seriously.  It would be an interesting project...to do a controlled study on what works best in most cases - for control.

 

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42 minutes ago, Rue said:

I avoided discussing the botanicals...can't really sum them up in sentence.  Most are safe for humans...but some you still need to be careful around.  For example...nicotine is a botanical...and it's up there in toxicity.

Someone with a whole bunch of 'rubbish' instruments (and time to spare!) might like to set up an experiment one day! ^_^

I'm workin' on it. ;)

 

cockroach.jpg

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1 hour ago, Rue said:

@Violadamore

That was an awesome movie when it came out.:D

I avoided discussing the botanicals...can't really sum them up in sentence.  Most are safe for humans...but some you still need to be careful around.  For example...nicotine is a botanical...and it's up there in toxicity.

Spinosad is formulated from a bacteria.  It's still relatively 'new'. It is relatively safe and it breaks down quickly which is great since you don't have residues. I don't know enough about it to see how to use it in a violin case, or if you can even buy some formulation that might work.  As far as I know it's used more for the control of certain field crop pests and for the control of some home pest like lice and fleas.  I haven't used it myself.

But yes...if cedar chips work (cedar oil) then a potpourri of other herbs/spices certainly could...and again, won't hurt.

You just have to make sure that you replace the material regularly as it off-gasses and make sure it doesn't come in contact with wood surfaces.  Dunno what effect the oils in some of the plants may have on the finished surfaces of a violin...or if you are handling the material...and then touch the violin...if damaging oils could transfer to the finished surface.

Someone with a whole bunch of 'rubbish' instruments (and time to spare!) might like to set up an experiment one day! ^_^  I

Seriously.  It would be an interesting project...to do a controlled study on what works best in most cases - for control.

 

What's notable about spinosad is that it's shown no ingestion or contact toxicity in mammals.  Your rats will all die of old age before you get an LD50 for it.  :lol:  I first became aware of it as a veterinary tablet that you feed your pets once a month to kill fleas and ticks, however Dow sells it as a general insecticide, primarily for crops.  You have to exercise care if you don't want to kill fish or bees or something by accident. 

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