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Re: GSBN:bugs in bales
<x-html><!x-stuff-for-pete base="" src="" id="0" charset=""><html>
<font size=3>Hi Bruce--&nbsp;&nbsp; It's probably no surprise to anyone,
but we have concluded that a bug problem is really a moisture
problem.&nbsp; Solve the moisture issue, and the bugs -- beetles, mites,
whatever -- don't have suitable habitat.
One more anecdotal story:&nbsp; Some friends of friends in our region --
SW New Mexico at about 6,000' in altitude --reported getting thousands of
annoying (not biting) bugs coming from their strawbale walls.&nbsp; They
had first appeared in spring (April), went away during the winter, then
came back the next spring.&nbsp; When we went to check it out, we smelled
mold in one of the bedrooms on the north side, where the worst problem
While their stem-wall was minimal, we couldn't find any cracks in the
stucco, or other definitive explanations for moisture, until Pete asked
"Of course your roof is vented, right?"&nbsp; Wrong.&nbsp;
While these were partly owner/builders, they HAD worked with a contractor
who had done foundation &amp; roof.&nbsp; This "professional"
had not vented their metal roof.
The homeowners had exacerbated the problem by keeping dozens (more than a
hundred) house plants, in the theory that they brought oxygen and would
help clean up their indoor air.&nbsp; Of course the moisture they expired
made its way up to the roof, where it condensed and then ran down onto
the top of the bales and soaked in....&nbsp; The north side seemed to be
the worst, which is consistent with the idea that sun on the south side
helped dry out the walls.&nbsp; Also, there are more windows on the
south, hence fewer bales.&nbsp; In the winter, the cold conditions did
not provide a nurturing environment, but with the advent of spring, the
tiny straw bugs were fruitful and multiplied.
Fortunately we could see an fairly easy way for them to add soffits and
venting to their roof, and recommended that, which they did.&nbsp;&nbsp;
About a year later (this spring) they called back with questions about
potential moisture in the walls coming up from the ground.&nbsp; Pete
went over with the moisture meter, and found the walls were within
accepted tolerances.&nbsp; He reported that the family no longer had bugs
coming from the walls -- and while there was visible evidence of moisture
in the wall -- a small amount discolored wall inside and out on the north
side -- they appeared to have dried out.
If you have any questions about this, let me know.&nbsp; We could get
more specifics if need be.
<blockquote type=cite class=cite cite><font size=3>Bruce King
> Do any of you have useful or important stories or connections that
> willing to pass along?&nbsp; I would be very grateful, and, not
expecting a lot
> of responses, suggest you reply to GSBN as I'm sure others would
> hear as well.
> Finally, if anyone doesn't want to be quoted for some reason, let me
> I'll be happy to let any &amp; all see a draft when it's done.
> Many thanks to all,
> Bruce King, PE
> Director, Ecological Building Network
> 209 Caledonia St.
> Sausalito, CA 94965
> (415) 331-7630
> fax 332-4072
<a href="<a target="_blank" href="http://www.ecobuildnetwork.org/"">http://www.ecobuildnetwork.org/"</a>; eudora="autourl">www.ecobuildnetwork.org</a>
> bruce@ ecobuildnetwork.org
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