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Beware of wood-boring beetles

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I’m not really into decorating. Okay, let me rephrase that. I like playing with space, colors and textures, which is why I had the living and dining areas repainted and wallpapered, but when it comes to anything purely ornamental, I pass. That’s why you won’t find curio cabinets in my house nor knick knacks. I’m just not into those things. But when I saw these sculpted solid wood sun figures, complete with laughing faces, I melted. I saw them at Tiendesitas on a day when I was looking for a table lamp, I forgot all about the table lamp and spent quite a while haggling with the stall owner.

See, I could already imagine the set of laughing sun figures above the front door, or maybe above the double French doors that open to the lanai, or even on the corner post of the living room. The natural wood stain was just perfect for the warm colors of the living and dining areas. So, I haggled. There were three pieces, in graduated sizes, and they were individually priced. All three cost P1,800.00 but since I can be such a bully when haggling, I was able to get all three for P1,000.00. I kept them in a plastic bag inside a cabinet until I could get someone to drill through the concrete walls to put up hooks.

What’s the powdery stuff? Well, that’s the reason why you’re seeing photos of the laughing sun ornaments resting on the tabletop. If it weren’t for the darn powdery stuff, these things would be mounted on the wall and those would be the photos you’d be looking at.

See, when I opened the plastic bag to take them out a week or so ago, the powdery stuff came out. It was the wood. Termites? We don’t have termites. At least, not anymore. And not since months before I bought these things when we had the entire house and garden treated. We’ve been closely monitoring any appearance of termite trails and there have been none for months and months. Besides, if it were termites, there would be holes in the plastic bag too because there is no way that termites could have reached the wood without boring through the plastic bag.

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There they are today. A close-up shot below.

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My friend, Eric, said it might be bukbok — wood-boring beetles — which although smaller than termites are much harder to control. So, I started wondering if the wood had not been treated before it was sculpted and if bukbok had been inside all this time just waiting to do damage.

It’s depressing, really. I so very rarely buy ornamental items and the one time that I did, they turned out to be useless. Maybe, I should ask around if there’s a way to save them, patch the holes and apply another a fresh coat of wood stain. With the added cost, it’s probably going to turn out as though I never haggled to buy them for a lower price.

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