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GSBN:Fwd: CASBA_Mem attn: Richard Fagerlund straw bale, mold and bugs bugs
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- Subject: GSBN:Fwd: CASBA_Mem attn: Richard Fagerlund straw bale, mold and bugs bugs
- From: Catherine Wanek blackrange@...
- Date: Wed, 26 Nov 2003 00:34:33 -0800
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FYI-- an interesting reply to a good question, and a shockingly uninformed
From: "John Swearingen" johns@...
Subject: CASBA_Mem attn: Richard Fagerlund straw bale, mold and bugs
Date: Tue, 25 Nov 2003 09:30:41 -0800
X-Mailer: Microsoft Outlook IMO, Build 9.0.2416 (9.0.2910.0)
Dear Mr. Fagerlund,
Your response to the inquiry about little bugs in a straw home was most
likely correct in assuming they were plaster beetles, which live inside
the walls, incorrect in most other respects.
Plaster beetles require high moisture conditions to survive. These
conditions exist on the surface of the bales (and in wood-frame buildings)
for a period of time after plaster is applied, since plastering is a very
wet process. After the house is occupied, the walls gradually dry out and
the plaster beetle population disappears. (Note that these critters are
called plaster beetles not straw beetles , since they exist as a result of
the plastering process, not because bales are used in construction).
Likewise, mould, too, requires very high levels of humidity to grow, and
we ve had no experience with mold growth in any of our buildings, even in
damp coastal climates. For further information and data, I would refer
you to the websites of John Straube, PhD, professor of Building Envelope
Science at University of Waterloo and an expert on moisture in buildings:
primer on moisture fundamentals and mould may be of particular interest to
you. The California Straw Building Association (CASBA) also maintains a
web site at: <http://www.strawbuilding.org/>www.strawbuilding.org, and can
be contacted for information and referrals.
Principal, Skillful Means, Inc.
Q: I have a fairly new house. It is straw bale construction with stucco
outside and structolite stucco inside. I have been finding a tiny bug. It
is about the size of a pin head. It doesn't move much, so it looks like a
speck of dust, but when probed, it moves some. They like to gather inside
dishes and bowls on the counter, in the sinks, etc. I first noticed them
on the sides of a small Mexican ceramic sink in the bathroom. Then I found
a bunch in a new set of glass bowls that had white thin foam separating
each bowl. They seem to like white things best. Sometimes I see them on
A: You are finding plaster beetles. These little beetles feed on mold
inside the walls of straw bale homes. There is absolutely nothing you can
do for them. As long as there is straw, there will be mold, and these
beetles will be present. You cannot eradicate them with pesticides because
you can't get the pesticides to the source. When you buy a straw bale
home, you will have plaster beetles (and probably book lice and other
mold-feeding insects). They come with the house. Fortunately they don't do
any damage, don't bite and are just a nuisance by their presence.