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Old 10th Aug 2014, 5:59 pm   #14
David G4EBT
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Cottingham, East Yorkshire, UK.
Posts: 4,174
Default Re: Another woodworm question!

The thing to remember is that the presence of lots of holes equates to the absence of lots of beetles. The flight holes aren't where they got in, but where they came out - in the case of woody radios, probably decades ago. The beetles don't descend on wood like a swarm of locusts boring holes all over the surface of a cabinet - each infestation results from a female adult beetle discreetly laying eggs in an environment she judges suitable for her offspring - moist nutritious wood. If you have moist nutritious wood anywhere in your house then adult female beetles - flying around everywhere between April and July may lay eggs in it. If the wood is dry - as it will be if you live in a normal heated and ventilated house - they won't. The infestation in old woody radios probably happened decades ago when they were stored in damp conditions such as sheds and cellars.

Once timber is infested the insects burrow up and down for 3 - 5 years until they become adult beetles and emerge - only then is there any evidence of the infestation. When that generation has hatched out and flown, that's an end to it and it's a waste of, time, money and effort dousing a radio cabinet or any other previously infested timber with chemicals. Companies who market expensive woodworm treatments have done a rather good job at creating paranoia, just as those who market 'isotonic energy drinks' and mineral water to 're-hydrate' ourselves have convinced millions of people of the efficacy of their products.

I've heard of people who - having seen holes in a radio cabinet - have immediately put it in a sealed bag for fear that (non-existent) beetles will infest their house. Not so - they're very discerning about where they lay their eggs and if it isn't April to June they won't be laying any eggs anywhere, any more than would a bird, apart from which - in a modern house - the beetles wouldn't find any timber suitable.

The only issue with a radio cabinet isn't how to treat woodworm that don't exist, but how to make a cabinet peppered with flight holes look presentable. In my view, nothing short of re-veneering will do that, apart from which the cellular structure of the timber will be been broken down. It's instructive to split the timber lengthwise to see what's left of it, which isn't a lot. Unless it's a cherished or much sought after radio, really, it's just a donor for parts and not much use for anything else.

Nothing will change - people will believe what they want to believe and will continue to use expensive chemicals on the basis that even if it doesn't do any good, it won't do any harm, so why not give it a go? I guess it's a bit like lucky charms and homeopathic medicine - an act of faith. The dictionary defines 'faith' as 'a strong or unshakeable belief in something without proof or evidence'. Quite so.
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