Wodden Flute - tiny ‘mites’ crawling on/in it…

Wodden Flute - tiny ‘mites’ crawling on/in it…

Hi all, kind of an embarrassing question really, but here goes: I have a Murray Flute, and I took it out of the box to play yesterday, but I saw lots of little white ‘dots’ in and around the mouth-piece. Looking closer, I could see they were moving. The seem to be tiny (fraction of a millimetre) mites. I have a cannon camera (great for Macro photos), but they are so small I was unable to focus very well on any (don’t have a magnifying glass either). as best I can see, they have legs, not wings, but don’t seem to be flea’s.
So - just wondering if anyone might have any ideas as to what these little critters might be? They’re white, don’t fly, don’t hop…just crawl around. About 50 of them inside and outside of the flute.
Just for the record πŸ™‚ I’m clean, and so is my house, and I clean down the flute after use, and from time to time also, so I’m thinking something ‘got in’ (maybe while taking a break at a pub session) and laid some eggs or whatever. I flushed the mites out, but I don’t know if there might be more ‘eggs’ hidden in somewhere. I’m really just worried that they might somehow cause damage to the flute.
Any ideas?
Thanks!
(embarrassed) Andy :(

Re: Wodden Flute - tiny ‘mites’ crawling on/in it…

Dear andy69:

I found several references to "pad mites", which may find a nice warm damp environment in a flute case. They allegedly can damage or destroy the pads on a woodwind instrument.

Apparently, a regular regimen of cleaning, fumigation, purification by fire, and the usual prayer/fasting/rituals/sacrifices to heathen deities, etc. and a bit of self-flaggelation (or get a friend to do it?) may help.

I would start with a clean flute and a new case.

Good luck.

.

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Re: Wodden Flute - tiny ‘mites’ crawling on/in it…

nuke it from orbit…it’s the only way to be sure ;)

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Re: Wodden Flute - tiny ‘mites’ crawling on/in it…

It will cause a little stink, but you could always use mothballs, as some have in the past to rid a case and instrument of the mites that eat glue and leather…

Re: Wodden Flute - tiny ‘mites’ crawling on/in it…

You might clean the flute with a little rubbing alcohol. My flute maker said alcohol was safe to use if you oil the flute well afterwards.

I bought a silver flute from a classified ad and the case was full of little bugs. I threw the case away.

Re: Wodden Flute - tiny ‘mites’ crawling on/in it…

Ah, yes. Those are know as Jiggers. They prefer (and thrive) in an environment of slow 6/8 tunes. Too many repetitions of Kesh Jig at a plodding pace, and they’re out of control.

It’s been scientifically shown that even a single daily application of Congress Reel at dance tempo, and they all immediately jump ship to the nearest banjo.

You’re welcome.

Re: Wodden Flute - tiny ‘mites’ crawling on/in it…

Ugh! This is the first time I’ve heard of this and thank you for overcoming your embarrassment to tell us about it. I usually take the flute out of the case straight away after any session etc. and reassemble it ready for use should the muse strike. The flute is seldom in it’s case. I’ve found the new flute case from Hammy Hamilton is very durable, but no air gets in and I’m concerned the flute might get mouldy if left in the case because it’s never fully dry even after a wipe-down after playing.
Mothballs sound a bit drastic but cleaning thoroughly with a bit of alcohol sounds ok though and I’d definitely get rid of that case.

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Re: Wodden Flute - tiny ‘mites’ crawling on/in it…

you could try this to help id your little friends.

http://www.whatsthatbug.com/

fair warning, you may feel a bit queezy after searching though all those close ups of aliens.


my guess wood be baby woodlice, how you get rid of them, no idea

Re: Wodden Flute - tiny ‘mites’ crawling on/in it…

The most important piece of advice is this:

Don’t tell your session mates, if possible, or forever after you shall be known as "Ol’ Flute Mites".

Re: Wodden Flute - tiny ‘mites’ crawling on/in it…

You can buy ‘scented’ motthballs nowadays… πŸ˜‰

Your flute and flute case could reek of lavender or jasmine…

Re: Wodden Flute - tiny ‘mites’ crawling on/in it…

Hi all,
Many, many thanks to all of you for your help with this problem. I have identified the little fellas (thanks in particular to the link from the_spelched_briar). If ur interested, you can see them here:
http://www.whatsthatbug.com/mites.html
…and search down that page for the "Computer Loving Mites" story. these seem idential to the photo I took of mine yesterday.
It seems they are ‘wood mites’, and in Summary from the above link (just fyi in case anyone else comes across the issue:

"…I’ve called over a pest control technician. He said that they’re wood mites (?) and that they need moisture to survive…."

So - as my Flute is a Murray Flute and we’re instructed to keep them in their special airtight box to keep them humid, it seems we have a perfect environment for these little guys to thrive in.

I’ll talk to Sam next week to arrange buying a new box, and to clean out the flute with whatever he approves of (probably alcohol as you guys suggested above) and then maybe I can get it re-oiled.
I guess from time to time this would be a good proceedure to repeat (Murray flutes generally don’t require oiling like other wooden flutes would).

Again, thanks to all of you for your help and the fast responses.

Happy playing! ;)

Andy

Re: Wodden Flute - tiny ‘mites’ crawling on/in it…

I was once given a secret formula to kill such insects and similar mites by an old gardener. Its called DWPL .
( very Dilute Washing UP Liquid) works every time

Re: Wodden Flute - tiny ‘mites’ crawling on/in it…

I would avoid the mothball route. A friend recently had a bout with carpet mites in his fiddle case. They’re the ones that will eat straight across bow hair. Anyway, he tried mothballs, and it made him unable to play the fiddle because of the overpowering smell. It was so noxious that nobody wanted to sit next to him at the session. And if you’re putting that thing against your mouth, even worse! Bleh!

Maybe try vacuuming out the case very thoroughly? And the alcohol followed by oil route sounds good to me, but I am not a flute player…

Another suggestion might be to put the case (but probably not the flute) open in direct sunlight after vacuuming. Mites like dark, damp places. A couple of days in the open, drying out might help get rid of them.

Re: Wodden Flute - tiny ‘mites’ crawling on/in it…

Jasmine wouldn’t be so bad… πŸ˜‰

There was an oil that had been used in the past, an aromatic one, but I can’t for the life remember what it was, but it did the job on such things and evaporated. The do like to eath the leather and glue, ones associated with flute pads in particular, and cork, and are also found eating the glue binding books, and the leather there too, when it is to be found. There was something librarians use too. Any librarians present? But, I’m not sure it would be good for a flute…

Re: Wodden Flute - tiny ‘mites’ crawling on/in it…

I’ve heard tell of flutes being invaded by little black caterpillars with beige heads. they’re called Guinness worms and they live off the vapours of the session players breath.

Re: Wodden Flute - tiny ‘mites’ crawling on/in it…

Bluiddy hell, greybeardd, you’ve seen them too!?!? Scary wee bastards, aren’t they? Poxy things get under yer skin and it’s all over!!

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Re: Wodden Flute - tiny ‘mites’ crawling on/in it…

Guinness scabies!!! πŸ˜›

Re: Wodden Flute - tiny ‘mites’ crawling on/in it…

Maybe this is the basis of the old story of pouring Guinness into your flute prior to playing - moistens it up, seals the leaks and kills the critters!!

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Re: Wodden Flute - tiny ‘mites’ crawling on/in it…

Are these bugs any relation to the Concertina Pad Beetle ?

Re: Wodden Flute - tiny ‘mites’ crawling on/in it…

Hi,

You may have already thrown out the case, but if not here’s something you could try that may save it. First separate the flute from the case and de-bug it as suggested above. Keep it separate from the case for several weeks in the course of the following treatment for the case. Next, try to locate an ultra-low temperature freezer…. your own home freezer may work, but less likely. If you know someone who works in a university or medical lab they might well be able to help. After removing any items in the case that might be damaged by freezing, double-bag the case in sturdy plastic freezer bags and give it 5 days in the ultra-low temperature. Then, just in case these bugs have a cold-tolerant stage of their life-cycle, allow the case to warm up for a week to cause the dormant stages to revive (without opening the bag) and then hit it with another 5 days in the freezer. Let the case warm up inside the bags so any condensation occurs on the outside of the bags, and then inspect carefully for any living bugs. The double freezing should have killed them all. Now, since wood, metal, etc shrink at different rates when cooled, it is possible there will be some damage to the case (depending on its construction) but at least this method will give you a chance to save the case. We use this method to rid dried plant specimens of similar critters and it is very effective and non-toxic.

Good luck!