Bow mites

Edited: December 20, 2018, 4:41 PM · TRhe usual drill: opened a case that I hadn’t used for a while, and the bow hair was everywhere.

I have read the instructions about repairing, vacuuming, and sunlight. Would it make more sense to use a little dry ice to kill the beasts with carbon dioxide inside the case? Seems better than letting them scurry away onto your carpet.

Replies (10)

December 20, 2018, 4:47 PM · Got silverfish? I always heard, but never experienced, that they like bow hair.
Edited: December 20, 2018, 4:53 PM · Hmmm this can also happen just from the glue/wood drying/shrinking within the frog. Do you actually see evidence that the hair was "cut" or bitten, or does it seem like the hair just came loose from within the frog?
December 20, 2018, 4:55 PM · Hadn’t looked too carefully at that. But it had not shown trouble for years and suddenly—-
Edited: December 20, 2018, 5:20 PM · Ifthe horsehairs seem cut of just after a bend in the hair (at the tip end) it is probably mites. Rehair and naphthaline!)
December 20, 2018, 9:04 PM · Adrian, I'm not able to find a good source recommending naphthalene as a good means of repelling mites. Permethrin might be an alternative, but for goodness sake, read the label on the product before using it.
December 21, 2018, 3:34 PM · Stephen,

What has worked for my students who show up with an instrument from "the attic" - do the cleanup, drop in some moth balls/crystals and put the case in a large plastic bag and tie it off. Let it sit for two or three days and no more bugs. Clean out the case, get the bow(s) re-haired and you are back in business.

December 21, 2018, 5:07 PM · They're not mites, they are larvae from the Dermestidae family of beetles. Use insecticide powders only if the process of vacuuming the case then leaving it open near a sunny window for a few days doesn't work. If you do want to go the chemical route, look for "Sawyer's Permethrin" or "Repel Permanone" and follow the directions, after removing everything from the case. Be sure to spray into the accessory pouch/es, pockets, etc. Once dry, you can return your instrument to the case, but the bow should be re-haired before returning it to the case.
December 22, 2018, 4:25 AM · Thanks Paul and Karl.

The same larvae also attack the mother-of-pearl inserts of the bow, and also cotton velvet linings of the case (rare nowadays).

I make sure I use all my bows often, as the vibrations apparently kill the little blighters.

December 22, 2018, 5:53 AM · Back to the original question: has anyone tried dry ice instead of moth balls, etc.? Seems more logical.
Edited: December 22, 2018, 12:02 PM · I have no idea whether dry ice would work. In principle I guess so, but you've got to make sure you're fumigating every nook and cranny where they're hiding. Also I don't know if mites can go dormant when the haven't got oxygen.

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