timber for new butterfly house

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  • #15367



    Help please,has anyone any comments or had any problems with using treated or tanalised timber when building a butterfly house, the caterpillars when climbing to the top of the house seem to prefer to climb up the timber rather than the shade cloth. one comment was ‘do caterpillars lick their feet!

    perhaps it is not a problem?

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  • #30586


    The standard timber for exterior use in New Zealand is tanalised pine, the preservative is CCA, which is Copper, Chromium and Arsenic, used as a preventative for fungal disease, rot and insects/borer.
    My small butterfly house was built of such timber, and I coated it all with an acrylic fence paint, the cheapest form of a sealer. The caterpillars do indeed climb up the timber and I have had no problems.
    Macrocarpa is a timber that does not need treating as it is naturally resistant to insect and fungal attacks, so that is another option. If cost is the main factor then it may be that tanalised pine plus the paint could be cheaper than Macrocarpa, which is not always readily available.



    Yacht varnish has got to be one of the very best coverings
    for wood! And you are right, I have used this product before on wood frames, but never on pressure treated wood that contains insecticides! My guess is that this varnish would make the internal insecticides inert to the butterflies and larvae. And wow, this stuff lasts for ever!



    Another thought (again, from overseas…)

    I would be looking for some sort of Cedar wood for the frame. This stuff is just about indestructible! The natural resins in the wood protect it from both the wet and insect attack, and only when an insect tries to bore into it will it experience problems. OK, I know this is unlikely to be cheap, but in the long run it may prove to be the cheapest option!



    Here’s some comments from a discussion group in answer to your query, tramp:

    Anything that has pressured insect treatment is in my view worth avoiding. The larvae probably prefer to climb the wood rather than the netting because it is easier and offers some shade protection.

    You really need to see what chemicals this product has, but regardless of this, I would never use it myself!

    If coated with a good quality varnish, this would
    make the chemicals, (regardless of what they are) inert to the stock inside.

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