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MMD > Archives > June 1997 > 1997.06.25 > 02Prev  Next

Diagnosis of Moth Infestation
By John A. Tuttle

Hi All,  Just a bit of information to pass along.  I recently took a job
rebuilding the action of a Chickering Ampico A.  This unit was seriously
infested with critters.  The damage was so severe that I elected to have
it tested by Rutgers Cooperative Extension at Cook College, NJ.

The results follow:


   Several insects were identified in the debris from the piano.  One
   drain fly, Psychoda sp., was found.  Drain flies are normally found
   in dark, moist areas and feed on rotted organic matter.  A carpet
   beetle larval case, Anthrenus spp., was found.  Carpet beetle larvae
   feed on the keratin and chitin commonly found in wool, fur, or
   feathers.  Carpet beetle larvae can cause significant damage.

   The larvae of a brown house moth, Hofmannophila spp., was also
   identified.  The brown house moth is a widespread and versatile pest
   that also feeds on wool, fur, or feathers.  Based on the amount of
   excrement and silk residue, we feel that the moth is the primary pest
   involved in the destruction of the piano (action).

   Clean all internal parts of the piano.  Treat all surfaces
   with malathion, diazinon, bendiocarb, or pyrethrins.  Prevent
   re-infestation by spreading napthalene or PDB crystals inside the
   piano.  Monitor the house for other infested areas and treat as

I hope you all enjoyed this tasty treat.  Sounds yummy!!  The diagnos-
tician, Rich Buchley, said that most of the chemicals he mentioned are
available at a "Home Depot" type store, but he warned that I should read
the contents and directions carefully before purchasing anything.
Naturally, my main concern is for customer safety and then piano

Also, I should add that I took the action to three pest control companies
and the NJ Dept. of Agriculture before being advised to seek professional
diagnosis.  No one was able to identify the cause of the problem until
Rutgers performed the tests on samples they took themselves directly from
the action.

In closing, this is a common sight here in New Jersey.  I would venture
to estimate that 100% of all instruments made before 1930 have some
degree of damage.  But it's nice to know that throwing some moth flakes
into the piano will keep them nasty old moths out.  BTW, this player is
located right at the shore (Ocean Ave., Sea Brite, NJ) in a very
exclusive condominium with thick white carpet.  The owners have dogs,
birds and lots of indoor plants (mostly hybrid orchids).  It is seldom
air-conditioned and usually very humid-feeling.


John A. Tuttle "Self-Playing Pianos"
407 19th Avenue                 Pri E-Mail:
Bricktown, NJ 08724          Secondary
"We Keep Your Music Rolling"         Authorized QRS Music Roll Dealer

(Message sent Wed 25 Jun 1997, 17:56:48 GMT, from time zone GMT-0400.)

Key Words in Subject:  Diagnosis, Infestation, Moth

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