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Violin Bow Hair Bugs

u ever heard of bugs getting into a stored bow and eating the strings? Do they still make them out of horsehair? Do you think the bugs do not like synthetic hair but love horse hair? My friend declares bugs will eat your bow hair of you keep them in an airtight case~ thanks for your answer Janis D.


Hello Janis,

I've had these! Very frustrating, bow bugs.

Bow bugs do, indeed, eat bow hair. They eat certain other fibers as well, such as wool carpet. They do not eat synthetic bow hair.

A truly airtight case probably would not help much if the bugs are already there.

Your first step is to get the bow rehaired. Just be sure to treat your case before putting the newly rehaired bow back in!

I'd recommend starting by vacuuming the case very very thoroughly.

Also, leave it open in the sunlight as much as you can.

Household bug/flea sprays work, though you want to be careful not to get it onto the varnish of the instrument or on any bowhair you want to get use out of.

Some violinists use heavy duty coat hooks to hang their instrument away from the floor, where these bugs tend to come from.

Take heart, almost everyone who plays violin has had to deal with these things!


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Dec 29, 2015
by: Arna G. S.

I am absolutely turned off by this! I live in Florida. Hot - Humid - bug paradise. I recently acquired a beautiful WWII Nippon violin (just under $1K. How should I store and protect it? Am a mature adult interested in individual lessons to start off and then small group who want to do things together -- like I used to do with piano lessons.


Hello Arna,

It's a pretty unpleasant topic, for sure!

Typically, bow bugs only show up if the instrument and bow haven't been used for a long time. If a case has them, vacuum the case out really thoroughly.

There are a few products that can help prevent them. A couple are "Sawyer's Permethrin" or "Repel Permanone". You take everything, absolutely everything, out of the case and apply the product to the inside of the case and allow it to dry thoroughly. Then put everything back in.

If the bow shows signs of bow bugs (hairs coming loose, bug casings left in the case), then get it rehaired or at least dehaired before storing it.

Hopefully this helps!

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