Testing for woodworm

The ancient timbers revealed by the recent removal of the plaster ceiling have plenty of evidence on them of invasions by woodworm and other insults that have happened over the centuries. What we need to know is whether those insects are still active.

One test is to paste tissue paper over some of the affected areas with flour and water paste; leave it to dry and then see if the creatures eat their way back out! Simple but effective. This process has been carried out and we await the results. Of course it will not tell us that there are no live infestations because the complete structure has not been treated, but it could indicate if there are.

In the meantime specialist building companies are being contacted for tenders, and preparations are being made for the Paintings Conservator to come back and complete the necessary protective work to the wall paintings before the final repair stages begin.