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Bug Report
August 29, 2014 7:28 PM   Subscribe

Entomology request about pint sized long lived termites - images inside

We have some visitors from Thailand that took several months to emerge.
Image 1 the bug
These 2 to 3 mm critters showed up in this lovely piece of wood carving - but it's been 5 months since we've been back.
The carving

I have no idea what type of wood this is, it's stained. Has the weight of Bass wood but comes from Chiang Mai or Burma.

Any hope of saving the carving or do we just burn it?
posted by ptm to Science & Nature (2 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Off the top of my head, they don't look like termites - more some sort of Bostrichidae (aka wood boring beetle). 5 months doesn't surprise me - some species are quite long-lived, and many will complete multiple lifecycles hidden away inside the host plant/timber before emerging to disperse.

Should be reasonably easy to treat with heat, freezing, or fumigation, though the Bostrichids can be extremely tolerant of all those. I'll defer on that to anyone who can make a more specific ID and has better knowledge of your local options for treatment.
posted by Pinback at 8:33 PM on August 29


Freeze the carving in the coldest freezer you can for at least two weeks. -20C is what you're after, but according to Wikipedia that's the normal temperature for a freezer. Put the statue in a plastic bag first to stop water damage. Here's a general overview from a Museum I don't work at and here's a journal article that goes into depth. You're doing at least two weeks because it takes a while for the whole object to get down to temperature and you don't want the hassle of doing this again.

That's the main insect-killing technique used at the Museum I work at - it's what we use for "we just want everything and anything inside this collection object to be dead".
posted by coleboptera at 10:37 PM on August 29


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