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 Clarinet bug infestation
Author: CCO_woodwinduser 
Date:   2018-04-21 11:49

Recently I have started learning instrument repair on my own with some help from my teachers. A few days ago was repadding my Artley 17s clarinet and noticed small white bugs crawling around my case. My first assumption was pad mites, but my pads were replaced out of age and with no tell tale mite holes. However, these were less than a mm in length and didn't match size and descriptions of them on other fourms. Taking it into a repair shop didn't give answers as there was no mention of the bugs in the reciept/ report. I would like to know if these are indeed pad mites or if not what species, as well as how to kill and prevent future infestations. I will add pictures as needed.

Post Edited (2018-04-21 12:08)

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 Re: Clarinet bug infestation
Author: Jeroen 
Date:   2018-04-21 12:48

I have them also. I think it is a mite too but have never found a good description of it. I suspect they eat cane. Did you have old reeds in the case? They like dark, humid environments.
I have never succeeded in killing them all. But keeping the case clean and storing reeds in a closed plastic bag, did help.

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 Re: Clarinet bug infestation
Author: Tony F 
Date:   2018-04-21 15:32

If you live somewhere with a lot of sun, leave the open case out in the sun for a day. That generally gets rid of them. Putting the case in the freezer works as well.

Tony F.

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 Re: Clarinet bug infestation
Author: GenEric 
Date:   2018-04-21 22:15 Here's a good blog from my local repairman.

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 Re: Clarinet bug infestation
Author: Wes 
Date:   2018-04-21 23:46

Yes, I've seen a small white larva in a clarinet pad, but only once, in the Los Angeles area.

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 Re: Clarinet bug infestation
Author: TomS 
Date:   2018-04-22 02:43

Little microscopic critters ate the pads on my wife's old Artley flute ...


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 Re: Clarinet bug infestation
Author: Ken Lagace 
Date:   2018-04-22 21:46

Here is the best way to treat them. It is from a fine violin repairer who deals with them in violin bow hair etc.
Is there is a long-term preventative solution to these critters?

There are things that can be done which help reduce the chance of them returning if a case must remain in storage for any duration of time.
The best option is a pest repellent designed for cloth. Two brands are "Sawyer's Permethrin" or "Repel Permanone" which bond to cloth.
These can be found at an outdoor sports goods store or online. They are odorless and relatively permanent. It is the best treatment of choice.

To apply it, first remove everything from the case and anything in the accessories pockets.
Spray the interior of the case according to the directions, including accessories pockets, and allow to dry as directed.
After it has dried, you may place everything back in the case.

Some may suggest placing mothballs in the case. IT IS NOT RECOMMENDED!

Mothballs leave a film of poison on all the surfaces of anything in the case. It is very difficult to clean off and has a very unappealing odor.
The chemical used to make mothballs is a neurotoxin and can cause long-term damage to your health.
It is not something you want to place near your face as you practice for hours!

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 Re: Clarinet bug infestation
Author: CCO_woodwinduser 
Date:   2018-04-23 00:38

So far I am happy to say that after about 30 hours in the freezer and a decontruction/ deep cleaning of the case there seem to be no more bugs in it. After a thorough search, my clarinet had no bugs either. I will try using the suggested repellents. Also, I can now say that these are indeed not pad mites, they are far too small and were crawling around only my reed cases. Thank you all for your help and suggestions.

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