Tag Archives: hausbock

Holzwurm & Hausbock

You can’t have this kind of project without having a few problems. The biggest problem so far has been the discovery of Hylotrupes bajulus & Anobium punctatum, otherwise known as Hausbock and Holzwurm, respectively. These are types of beetle larvae that love to get inside wooden rafters and party it up. They do nothing except eat wood and poop sawdust. In doing so they cause a lot of damage to houses and other wood-based structures. They can make a massive wooden beam look like Swiss cheese.

You mainly see this in older houses (like ours) that were built before modern techniques for curing and treating wood were introduced. The rafters in the Altbau were previously treated for this sometime in the 50’s. We were aware of this, but it seems that they were not all killed back then. There was no way we could see how bad the damage might have been beforehand, until we took off the roof.

The house-builder came across a heavily damaged spot while removing the old roof tiles. I think he discovered it mainly because his hammer ended up going through a rafter with a minimum of effort. I could get into a lot of detail about the stress and worrying involved, but I won’t. I will say that we had at least 2 experts take a look at the damage and the prognosis is that, with the exception of a few rafters, whatever was there is no more. Regarding the few rafters in question, they had to be specially treated and sprayed with borax. So we just ended up spraying the whole roof, just to be sure. The damaged rafters will be reinforced and that should do it. Hopefully.

This weekend I removed a ceiling and got rid of a lot of the damaged wood. I was pulling the removed pieces apart to see if I could find any larvae, but I couldn’t. So, I guess that is a good sign. They seemed to have moved on to greener pastures.

I also removed an old rainwater basin in the cellar. Back in the day, it was used to collect the rainwater in the basement for a variety of things, the main one being washing clothes and maybe for drinking water for livestock. I was half considering using it for a reverb chamber, despite the fact that running the send and return cables all the way down to the cellar and back again would be a pain in the ass. It probably would have sounded cool though.

However, that is now a moot point. It was in the way and the electric crew couldn’t run their own cables. So it had to go.

It was made of concrete reinforced brick and was about 4 feet tall X 3ft deep X 5ft wide. I had planned on using a power hammer to get it done, but that proved to be quite a challenge. So I had to bust out the sledgehammer and get John Henry on that mother. Like golf, it’s all about the swing. I’m sure I’ll be feeling it tomorrow.