heat treatment and harp(7 posts)
Hi, I have a bedbug infestation in my apartment building. We are getting a heat treatment on Wednesday. I don't have any choice in what type of treatment is used since I don't own the building and the landlord is handling all of this. I play the harp and have a very expensive concert harp on the premises. The harp is not in a room where bed bugs were detected (the extermination company came through with bed-bug detecting dogs). I am worried about my harp becoming heat damaged and would like to remove it from the apartment during the heat treatment but my partner is against this as he is afraid that bringing the harp back in afterwards will reinfest us. I don't think this will be a problem since the dogs didn't detect bed bugs in room where I keep my harp but my partner is being very stubborn about this. Does anyone have any firsthand experience with the effects of heat treatments on instruments? The company is being pretty vague about this.
Also, in case it makes a difference, the room where I keep my harp is in between the two rooms where bed bugs were found (they were found in our living room couch and in our bed).
I am not experienced in this area, but if it is an expensive instrument, I think you are right to be concerned. The harp manufacturer should be a good resource for you. Understand the highest temperatures which may be reached (and the time in which this might occur) as this information may help the manufacturer advise you.
Lou Sorkin of the American Museum of Natural History has mentioned some alternate methods which museums use. You can private message
me for his email.
Vikane gas fumigation may be an option also.
Those options may be pricey but you may be able to work so
something out since it is just one item.
Certainly the harp is a concern for various reasons, see below:
> Can BBs possibly be in or on the harp? Yes. Unlikely but yes.
> Could the heat treatment possibly harm the harp? Yes, anything is possible. However, if constructed with wood, either whole or in part, I view the harp as similar to the sound board on an antique piano. Let's say a 1903 Morgan pinao that your wife though would look great in your living room and have you spend three months and about $1,800 restoring it even though you could buy a new friggin piano for the same or less. Ooops, off topic, sorry.
OK, no one is going to heat treat my Morgan ! If the sound board becomes damaged, warped or cracked I will have an $1,800 good looking mahogany friggin anchor. SO, let';s no have tha happen to your harp, OK ?
> Alternative treatment for the hard would be a vault fumigation or to adequately wrap the hard in a plastic tarp and seal in a pest strip. At normal room themperature this should be done for at least seven days and will not subject the wood structural members of the harp to the dessicating effects of a heat treatment which could result in excessive dryiong of the wood and lead to cracks, warping or otherwise compromise the sound quality of your harp.
> Now, if this was an antique garage sale type harp that was purchased to take up wall space and look good in your living room, then I may have some other recommendations for you ! : )
> As nobugs mentions Lou probably will have some viable & interesting suggestions from his perspective as well.
Hope this helps ! paul b.
Just to add, yes thermal and musical instruments are not good combinations unless you want you harp to sound more like an banjo.
As Paul stated the risk of bedbugs being associated with a harp is very low, they are more likley to be associated with the case but that's due to the nature of how they spread.
My suggestions would be:
Wrap the harp in pallet wrap or saran and remove from the area that will be heat treated. If you conduct a visual inspection as you seal you should see the risks are low.
If you are worried I would suggest a K9 team to "sniff it" and if it does require treatment Vikane or contained fumigation would really be the only viable option that is not likley to damage the instrument.
However the risks of the instrument alone are very small indeed. To give you an example I once had to get a fiber optic camera to survey the inside of a violin from a heavy infestation and although there were signs on the case there were no bedbugs in the instruments body.
Bed Bugs Limited
I played woodwinds, not stringed instruments, but there's no way I'd put a harp through heat treatment.
I had structural heat treatment done on my apartment, so I say that as much from seeing the results of heat treatment (which I'm a big fan of, btw) on my belongings. It's not that heat does extensive damage, but it's a lot of heat for a long time, and there are certain objects that really cannot handle it. I wouldn't have treated my woodwind instrument (I don't play it anymore, so it's still back east with the parental units. I didn't want to bring it out to these humidity levels--or lack thereof) with heat.
The good news is that you've had two PCOs reiterate that it's very unlikely that the harp is infested.
If it must be treated, Vikane (which you can have done on objects rather than the whole structure) is a much safer option.
While the temperatures in some spots are as hot as a car in the sun, if they are using air from heater that is being piped in, that air comes in a lot hotter than that. The heat coming into my apartment was hot enough to cause the veneer on some IKEA furniture to peel off. (It was just IKEA furniture; I didn't care about it enough to be concerned. I wanted the bugs gone more than I cared how my cheap IKEA stuff looked.)
Hope that helps.
Hi, we do heat treatments, large scale heat treatments, we remove all musical instruments period.
If you have a good guitar and you take it from the cellar to the upstairs of the same house within a day or two it will loose it's tune because of different temperatures and moistures between even that little bit. Don't risk it, the heat dries the wood out and the instrument will loose tune at best, at worse it will take a set and stay that way.
If you wanted to heat treat it, loosen all the strings so there is no pressure on it, that will prevent a set, do not retighten for a day or two until the moisture returns.
Just my 2 cents, my son the rock star (in his mind) has a wall of custom guitars he's had made and they are very sensitive to humidity and temperature - like they said there are other ways to treat it.
I am in the same situation with my concert grand. I was going to call Salvi on Monday but it seems like that would be a waste of my time--the harp should not be heat treated. Did you end up treating it with Vikane? Or did you talk to the man from the Museum of Natural History?
My move date isn't until September 1st, but I am desperately trying to break my lease for the sake of my sanity. I truly don't know what to do and would love to hear a success story.
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