Have you ever left your studio in the night and come back in the morning and realize something has changed. In 25 years painting in my studio I have had very few incidents of insects eating egg tempera icons. Apparently insects have dinner at night, and they like eggs. Certainly they are not eating earth pigments not much taste or nutrition, perhaps a good bit of toxins to boot. I do understand a bug has to eat. Flies were my first encounter and came with an easy solution. Be careful not let them in during the day.
The damage to the icons was very infrequent, I never minded fixing a nibble or two. They leave a distinct round suction cup kind of mark on the paint and nearly always eating along the edge. For years they never eat a face or hand. Insects that eat egg tempera icons prefer new egg, there is no indication that they eat anything after the icon has dried a month of more.
NOW I HAVE A NEW INSECT TO DEAL WITH
This past year there arrived a new set of marks on icons. These were not flies! At first I thought that mark is curious. Perhaps I rubbed it, or scratched it or dropped something on it when wet. But with time, who ever it was came by at night as if it was the new favorite restaurant on the block. I was aggravated and frustrated. Seemed two times a week I began my day fixing icons after some kind of insect bug had a dinner party. I was wondering how many of you have problems with the insects that eat their egg tempera icons.
A FLY YOU CAN SEE FLYING AROUND
A fly you can see flying around. These guys always come at night, so it’s hard to find out who discovered egg tempera is delicious for dinner! I made some clever little traps, square cardboard wrapped with wide tape doubled back on itself. I caught two the first week. A beige beetle kind of insect or maybe like a small cockroach shape with no antenna.
I started looking for solutions through the Internet and discovered that “… adding a drop of clove oil or white wine vinegar to the yolk and water can prevent mold growth and insects from eating your paint.” I knew about the mold growth when I lived in Virginia in the humid summer months. I did not know it also was a remedy for keeping the insects from eating egg tempera icons
Has anyone tried this? I have these beautiful images documented for us to learn from. Ill look to find one with marking from the flies. These marks are very different. We have two different insect markings. I welcome any comments and info from iconographers who have insects eating egg tempera icons at their house. Share with us solutions and how you have solved it!