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Re: GSBN:PhD. entomologist pursuing info re: termites v. straw(bale)



In The Last Straw, #31, "Lessons Learned," we compiled a number of bug 
stories, including a report from an entomologist, Linda Wiener, also known 
as TheBugLady@....  I tried to attach that article, but the GSBN list 
doesn't allow it, so please consult your TLS #31 for more, or email me 
separately.... (also I'll copy Jeanine C. separately, with the article 
attached).  Linda has invited others to contact her to compare notes and 
theories.

In general, insect problems in bales seem to be linked to wet bales, 
especially those which got wet in the field, also, poor quality straw, 
baled from the bottom layer of "trash"straw.  In most cases, the insect 
problems disappeared after one hatching, and the drying  out of the 
(plastered) bales.

As far as I've heard about termites, Andre de Bouter reported that during 
their 6-month trip to India, in conversations with farmers, they described 
that termites would infest wet straw in the field, but would not eat dry 
straw.  Andre & Coralie designed their SB foundation detailing to thwart 
termites, anyway.
Hope this helps,
Catherine Wanek


At 12:05 AM 1/20/01 -0500, you wrote:
>(note:  My wife Jeanine is not on the GSBN list.  I'll forward any replies 
>to her, of course, though you're also invited to CC her with any responses. )
>
>From: Jeanine Christensen jeanine@...
>Subject: PhD. entomologist pursuing info re: termites v. straw(bale)
>
>Need some advice here. I've been talking to Dr. Doudou Faye (formerly of
>Senegal) about our termites. He came out, diagnosed our problem and
>recommended some heavy-duty pyrethrins/pyrethroids to get rid of the evil
>bugs. (Lord I cannot wait to build and then move out of this conventional
>house!  Yeeesh.)
>
>Faye has purchased land outside the Austin city limits (meaning no code
>restrictions), and is *very* seriously considering strawbale construction.
>I asked what termites (Formosan et alia) do to the cellulose in straw. I
>meant species peculiar to this region--or soon to be, in the case of the
>Formosan termites.
>
>Faye didn't know, and further, he was extremely interested in either
>setting up some kind of study or finding out if anyone else has ever
>attempted to study this question. Enlightened self-interest. After all,
>what self-respecting entomologist would want to build a home that some pest
>would just love to cohabitate?
>
>I told him sb has had fire tests, quake tests, compression tests, etc. but
>could not recall for him any testing vis-a-vis pests. Wouldn't insurance
>companies want to know this stuff too? If no study exists, how might one go
>about setting up a relationship (or... *sponsorship*..?) with the proper
>[gov't?] agency responsible for promulgating such info? The man clearly has
>the intellectual rigor, the passion and the right creds to do a proper
>test, IMO.
>
>I note in the recent Last Straw (p. 37) the "Building Official's Guide to
>Straw-bale Construction" (Lerner, Goode eds.) so I am also asking you,
>Kate, if there is any info contained in that book that deals specifically
>with pests (insects and others) and sb homes. Faye already knows about the
>itch mites. I think what we're looking for are the really destructive
>critters that will render a good structure unsound.
>
>Thanks for letting me pick y'all's collective brains,
>j9
>
>--
>Bill Christensen
>billc@...
>
>Green Homes For Sale/Lease:  http://SustainableSources.com/realestate/
>Green Building Pro Directory:  http://SustainableSources.com/directory/
>Sustainable Bldg Calendar:  http://SustainableSources.com/calendar/
>Sustainable Bldg Bookstore: http://SustainableSources.com/bookstore
>



Best Regards,
Catherine Wanek, Editor

The Last Straw
The International Journal of Straw Bale & Natural Building
HC66, Box 119
Hillsboro, NM  88042
(505) 895-5400 /fax (505) 895-3326
thelaststraw@...
<http://www.strawhomes.com>http://www.strawhomes.com
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<html>
RE Bugs in Bales: 
 
In The Last Straw, #31, "Lessons Learned," we compiled a number
of bug stories, including a report from an entomologist, Linda Wiener,
also known as TheBugLady@....  I tried to attach that
article, but the GSBN list doesn't allow it, so please consult your TLS
#31 for more, or email me separately.... (also I'll copy Jeanine C.
separately, with the article attached).  Linda has invited others to
contact her to compare notes and theories. 
 
In general, insect problems in bales seem to be linked to wet bales,
especially those which got wet in the field, also, poor quality straw,
baled from the bottom layer of "trash"straw.  In most
cases, the insect problems disappeared after one hatching, and the
drying  out of the (plastered) bales. 
 
As far as I've heard about termites, Andre de Bouter reported that during
their 6-month trip to India, in conversations with farmers, they
described that termites would infest wet straw in the field, but would
not eat dry straw.  Andre &amp; Coralie designed their SB foundation
detailing to thwart termites, anyway. 
Hope this helps, 
Catherine Wanek 
 
 
At 12:05 AM 1/20/01 -0500, you wrote: 
<blockquote type=cite class=cite cite>(note:  My wife Jeanine is not
on the GSBN list.  I'll forward any replies to her, of course,
though you're also invited to CC her with any responses. ) 
 
From: Jeanine Christensen jeanine@... 
Subject: PhD. entomologist pursuing info re: termites v. 
straw(bale) 
 
Need some advice here. I've been talking to Dr. Doudou Faye (formerly
of 
Senegal) about our termites. He came out, diagnosed our problem and 
recommended some heavy-duty pyrethrins/pyrethroids to get rid of the
evil 
bugs. (Lord I cannot wait to build and then move out of this
conventional 
house!  Yeeesh.) 
 
Faye has purchased land outside the Austin city limits (meaning no
code 
restrictions), and is *very* seriously considering strawbale
construction. 
I asked what termites (Formosan et alia) do to the cellulose in straw.
I 
meant species peculiar to this region--or soon to be, in the case of
the 
Formosan termites. 
 
Faye didn't know, and further, he was extremely interested in 
either 
setting up some kind of study or finding out if anyone else has 
ever 
attempted to study this question. Enlightened self-interest. After
all, 
what self-respecting entomologist would want to build a home that some
pest 
would just love to cohabitate? 
 
I told him sb has had fire tests, quake tests, compression tests, etc.
but 
could not recall for him any testing vis-a-vis pests. Wouldn't
insurance 
companies want to know this stuff too? If no study exists, how might one
go 
about setting up a relationship (or... *sponsorship*..?) with the
proper 
[gov't?] agency responsible for promulgating such info? The man clearly
has 
the intellectual rigor, the passion and the right creds to do a
proper 
test, IMO. 
 
I note in the recent Last Straw (p. 37) the "Building Official's
Guide to 
Straw-bale Construction" (Lerner, Goode eds.) so I am also asking
you, 
Kate, if there is any info contained in that book that deals
specifically 
with pests (insects and others) and sb homes. Faye already knows about
the 
itch mites. I think what we're looking for are the really
destructive 
critters that will render a good structure unsound. 
 
Thanks for letting me pick y'all's collective brains, 
j9 
 
--  
Bill Christensen 
billc@...
 
Green Homes For Sale/Lease: 
<a href="http://SustainableSources.com/realestate/"; eudora="autourl">http://SustainableSources.com/realestate/</a> 
Green Building Pro Directory: 
<a href="http://SustainableSources.com/directory/"; eudora="autourl">http://SustainableSources.com/directory/</a> 
Sustainable Bldg Calendar: 
<a href="http://SustainableSources.com/calendar/"; eudora="autourl">http://SustainableSources.com/calendar/</a> 
Sustainable Bldg Bookstore:
<a href="http://SustainableSources.com/bookstore"; eudora="autourl">http://SustainableSources.com/bookstore</a> 
 
</blockquote>

 
Best Regards,  
Catherine Wanek, Editor  
 
<b><i>The Last Straw  
</i></b>The International Journal of Straw Bale &amp; Natural Building
 
HC66, Box 119  
Hillsboro, NM  88042  
(505) 895-5400 /fax (505) 895-3326  
thelaststraw@...   
<a href="http://www.strawhomes.com";>http://www.strawhomes.com</a></html>

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