A chemical decomposition of wood or changes of composition induced by the agency of fungi and other causes the proportion of carbon and hydrogen contained in the wood being reduced by the production of carbon dioxide and water. In other words, it is an act of slow oxidation accompanied by a loss of density of the wood until the latter, as in the case of hollow tree trunks, becomes rotten. Furniture and the woodwork of houses are liable to attack by the larva; of certain beetles, of which some fiv e species occur in this country, the common furniture beetle being the Anobium punctatmn De J, while the deathwatch beetle Xcstobiu:n rufovillosum De J. more usually affects the timber of old houses, and the powderpost beetle mostly affects sapwood. Heattreitment is the best remedy when applicable; otherwise fumigation with a poisonous vapour such as formaldehyde or the application of powerful insecticides such as “okol,” benzene, and carbon tetra chloride.
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