Attack of the powderpost beetles

aaaMystrySolvd-999You can see this same mask (before the beetles struck) on page 130 of the new book, Masks of the World, by Ibold and Yohn. It is a deer mask from Oaxaca, Mexico. This style of mask has been danced by villagers for well over a hundred years. This one is 13 inches high and made of wood, deer skin and horns. It was collected in the 1960’s.

Recently after being stored in my basement, I noticed that the dreaded beetles had been doing their nasty work on this beautiful mask! The nose area was the most damaged. So after the beetles were killed I was forced to do some repairs. You’ll be able to see what I did if you look closely at this photo.

I hope you never encounter powderpost beetles. But if you see deep little holes in the wood surface of a mask, with fine wood powder coming out, you’re in trouble !  I  immediately put the mask in my freezer for a week, take it out, and watch from then on. Occasionally they can come back and you must freeze a 2nd time. You can get more info and pictures by going to Google.

One Comment

  • Alicia

    I’m always on the lookout for powderpost beetles. To determine whether the holes are active, I put the mask on a paper towel and microwave it at different angles for about 30 sec., making sure that the mask cools between bursts. The heating may get rid of the bugs (?). The mask can be frozen after that; sometimes I drip lacquer into the holes.

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