Insect pests of insulation wool panels


Abstract: The spread of sustainability theories in architecture are leading to an increasing use of natural materials and to buildings designed and constructed in accordance with environmentally friendly principles. Sheep’s wool has interesting thermal and acoustic properties and it represents a renewable resource due to the recycle of a by-product. However wool is subject to insect attack, consequently technical precautions are required for its correct use. The existing literature about insulating materials did not address the use of sheep’s wool, so lacking technical knowledge about this material, builders transpose the conventional technique to bio-products but this can easily produce errors from design up to installation phase. In Italy cases of severe infestations mainly due to Tineola bisselliella on wool insulating panels have been observed. Furthermore Dermestid beetle infestations were found. The signs of insect infestation can be seen only when it is already at an advanced stage and it is very difficult to identify it without invasive and costly inspections on the walls. Emerging adults reach the interior of the buildings where environmental conditions are stable and food sources are easily available. It’s important, therefore, to apply planning precautions for a proper use of these interesting natural materials, in order to avoid risk from attack by insects. This work critically analyses the current treatment procedures and the constructional methods for the use of insulating wool panels, highlighting the observed defects and proposing some alternative solution.

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