Marcus Tullius Cicero a Roman Philosopher quoted; “A room without books is like a body without a soul.” which is true in every sense.
Books are the written proof of all the worldly knowledge and are the record of the history. Everyone has collection of books be it a five year old or a ninety nine year old; it can be ones personal diary or an encyclopedia. A writer pours his heart and soul in a book, a scientist jots down his/her brilliant ideas in book and a business man pours his ‘Money’ in the book. Though the concept of e-copy of every book is new in trend, the concept of hard copy will never cease to exist.
Chemically describing, books are made up of paper which is a made of cellulose, hemi-cellulose, lignin with some non-organic additives. Cellulose is one of the many things that form food for a vast variety of insects.
In the world there are about 900,000 different kinds of insects living. Among these there are those which feed on books and destroy them.
There are several types of bookworm or insects which eat through books. Actual book-borers are uncommon. Both the larvae of the beetle and the common furniture beetle will tunnel through wood and paper if it is nearby the wood.
A major book-feeding insect is the booklouse. A tiny under 1 mm, soft-bodied wingless psocoptera, that actually feeds on moulds and other organic matter found in ill-maintained works, although they will also attack bindings and other parts. It is not actually a true louse.
Many other insects, like the silverfish or cockroach will consume these molds and also degraded paper or the starch-based binding pastes – warmth and moisture or high humidity are prerequisites, so damage is more common in the tropics.
Termites are another class of insects which eat anything and everything including books. The destruction of the books by such insects and bugs is a nuisance exiting since centuries. Heavy damages are caused to the books in the Library where thousands of books on varied subjects are present, but are also a likely place to house insects, termites etc.
Termites turn rare books history
10th July 2011
Nibhandh Mala written by Vishnu Krishna Chiplunkar in 1917 is a rare book, not available in the market. The only copy of the book available in the 60-year-old Government Divisional Library at Vishrambaug wada may soon end up in the gullets of termites. Termites have partially eaten its pages.
Mathrubhumi, Maneka Gandhi
I know that termites are sentient creatures and I know that they have been made by the gods for a specific reason. But this year I have been under savage attack by armies of termites and I have lost antique books (an 1847 royal edition of Shakespeare’s plays among others) and lots of saris, shawls and clothes to them burrowing into my cupboards from the back. I have to throw out my beautiful wooden cupboards and get ugly steel ones.
Insects destroy Idaho County’s historic documents
Lincoln County Clerk Suzanne McConnell says volunteers discovered the damage as they were working to digitize old, paper records, including court judgments, birth certificates, marriage licenses, land deeds and permits. The records – some dating back to the 1930s – were all kept in the vault below the county courthouse. At least two books of documents have been permanently destroyed by bugs that appeared to have tunneled through pages.
The setback hasn’t stalled the process of putting the rest of the county’s older records in digital form. McConnell said that process could take another four to six weeks.
There are many methods being used from centuries to keep the books safe. Some of the common used methods are:
- Applying neem oil or castor oil in the area surrounding the books
- Drill holes into infested areas and apply orange oil, or d-limonene.
- Have a professional heat treat your house. The temperature of the house and contents is brought to 120 degrees F and kept there for 33 minutes
- Use of pesticides and chemicals
- Some even suggest that use of turmeric helps to keep the insects at bay
But such treatments are just a temporary solution and some of them even prove harmful when chemicals are used as a measure. The termites and insects are also known to have the same survival instinct as that of humans. They disappear for some time when the above mentioned solutions are employed but are back to enjoy their feast.
Maneka Gandhi told to Mathrubhumi, “I don’t subscribe to killing as a long term solution to anything (though the loss of my books has really brought me close to the edge!!)”
There has to be a solution which is long lasting, less harmful and keeps the insects at bay.
Termirepel™ is the solution which can solve the dilemma of people like Maneka Gandhi. It is non-toxic, non-hazardous and environment friendly repellent. It does not kill the termites but helps to keep them at bay. Along with termites it repels all other insects which are capable of damaging books in any way possible. Termirepel is available in Lacquer form which can be mixed with any coatings and also in liquid solution form.
Combirepel™ is another such non-toxic, non-hazardous and environment friendly repellent. It repels termites, insects as well as rodents. It is available in the Combirepel WP (Wood protection) solution.