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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was looking at some old threads on this forum and I came across an interesting quote from the all-knowing Ed :D

"As an aside, boiling or baking or both are not adequate methods of dealing of disinfecting or sterilizing wood or bark. You have to be able to get the core temperature of the material hot enough to guarantee that all pockets and crevices are heated sufficiently and this is very difficult using the above methods."

The thing that surprises me is that it seems like 99.99% of advice for disinfecting wood is to boil and/or bake it. The reason I wanted to post this new thread about it is that I would like to know if Ed or anybody else can elaborate on the above quote, and recommend any methods for really disinfecting wood. OR if in fact they think it's even necessary..what's the point of boiling/baking if it doesn't completely work? What are we trying to remove by boiling/baking? :confused:
 

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I got one, I found this long thin piece of driftwood on the river, so i cut it in half and soaked it in a 50gal bucket with other pieces of wood i found. I put a bag of pool shock in and circulated the water let it soak for 2 days. After that it sat drying in the sun for a week, then i baked all my wood in the oven at 350 for a hour and left it in overnight.

A week later it was time to go in the viv, i cut the pieces to fit and while placing them in GIANT RED ANTS started poring out of the center of the stick, about 10 of them. This stick diameter was less than an inch, i was amazed they survived, so i snatched them up in a cup...... and fed emm to my frogs. The End lol
 

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The only thing that can truly work is an autoclave. Boiling and baking is pretty much considered better than nothing as most of us do not have access to an autoclave.
 

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ARGH! Get over the bleach. It still will not soak in deep enough and will NEVER rinse out. You wil not be able to get rid of 100% of the "nasties". Watch your frogs and get them tested yearly or 2. Thats the best way to make sure your frogs stay healthy.
 

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I think I'm more comfortable with a vinegar solution... bleach scares me a little.
GOOD! Bleach should scare you! It should only be used on non-porous items like rocks.
We can also soak plants in a 5% to 10% bleach solution for 5 or 10 minutes. Make sure they are full hydrated first and rinse, rinse rinse.
 
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I think I'm more comfortable with a vinegar solution... bleach scares me a little.
The problems with scrubbing with vinegar or bleach or any other disinfectant (and how they work is extremely varied for example vinegar to operate at it's most effective action requires 3 hours exposure at 75 F ( 24 C) (and it takes much longer the cooler it is) is that all of the protecting organics have to be removed so the disifectant can contact the organism. This is impossible with pieces of wood, cork or other organics that have cracks and crevices as the disinfectant can't penetrate into those areas to gain contact with the organisms. As was noted above, even extended periods may not reach organisms in the center of relatively narrow pieces.

The same can be said with boiling/baking. Neither of those is likely to reach the center of the piece of wood or any deep crevices or cracks (or areas protected by damp organics) and in the mean time, the boiling/baking process is going to be destroying the structural elements of the wood/bark potentially reducing it's life in the enclosure (particularly leaf litter). (It also needs to be noted, never ever bake rocks or other materials with pockets where pressure can build and cause it to explode (even bamboo is a risk)).

Materials like cork bark purchased either directly from the importer or second hand from pet stores or terrarium suppliers should not need any treatment as the load had to be fumigated under pressure before importation into the US. The gases used in those treatments are able to penetrate deeply into the material which renders them safe. Unless the pieces were used in a tank at the store or stored outside, they are safe for immediate use. This also includes any other imported woods.

Basically these methods are a panacea of sorts as it makes you feel like your doing something to prevent unwanted organisms from moving into the tank.

Chytrid and a number of other organisms are very sensitive to drying, so an extended drying period post washing tends to eliminate the vast majority of pest species. I tend to gather enough leaves in the fall that it allows me to let them dry for 6 months or more which is certainly long enough to eliminate the vast majority of unwanted organisms. The same can be said for collected pieces of wood, if they are allowed to fully dry then they are at little risk of bringing in unwanted organisms.

The few times, I've found unwanted animals in my enclosures, I was able to trace them back to plant I had obtained. Now I quarantine all plants and ideally only use cuttings when adding plants although some of the orchids I want will require extra precautions to prevent unwanted additions.

Ed
 

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Hey ED!
What do you think about the use of pure collodial silver to disinfect? A nice soak in it will kill everything.
 

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Well, I wouldn't suggest it as collodial silver has been losing effectivness due to all of the various non-medical usages... see for example Survival of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in Water: Quarantine and Disease Control Implications

In addition, as with other disinfectives, it won't penetrate the cracks and crevices any better as the carrier is going to be restricted. If you think about it, very thin cracks and crevices can retain air pockets unless water is forced into them under pressure (autoclave).

I would be much more concerned about introducing unwanted organisms with the plants. I tend to quarantine the plants and then use clean cuttings to populate my tanks.

Ed
 

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Ed, my tree frog tank has nemerteans, even after a bleach wash of the tank to clean it out prior to re-using. You mentioned that eggs can survive under the silicone edges. I think that's what you said.

So, anyway, I'm moving them to a new tank which has been much more aggressively cleaned and has not had nemerteans. I wanted to re-use some of the wood pieces in their current tank. Nice long, thin, twisty pieces that they like to climb on. Since these pieces are going from their old tank to their new tank, my only concern is the nemerteans.

Do you think that boiling and baking these pieces will kill off the nemerteans and eggs? Since these pieces are small in diameter, they should be pretty hot to the center, I would think.

Am I going to have to just throw all this great wood away? :(

Thanks
 

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This is totally the way to go. Besides, cuttings adapt much better than adult ants that have been used to specific conditions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
The problems with scrubbing with vinegar or bleach or any other disinfectant (and how they work is extremely varied for example vinegar to operate at it's most effective action requires 3 hours exposure at 75 F ( 24 C) (and it takes much longer the cooler it is) is that all of the protecting organics have to be removed so the disifectant can contact the organism. This is impossible with pieces of wood, cork or other organics that have cracks and crevices as the disinfectant can't penetrate into those areas to gain contact with the organisms. As was noted above, even extended periods may not reach organisms in the center of relatively narrow pieces.

The same can be said with boiling/baking. Neither of those is likely to reach the center of the piece of wood or any deep crevices or cracks (or areas protected by damp organics) and in the mean time, the boiling/baking process is going to be destroying the structural elements of the wood/bark potentially reducing it's life in the enclosure (particularly leaf litter). (It also needs to be noted, never ever bake rocks or other materials with pockets where pressure can build and cause it to explode (even bamboo is a risk)).

Materials like cork bark purchased either directly from the importer or second hand from pet stores or terrarium suppliers should not need any treatment as the load had to be fumigated under pressure before importation into the US. The gases used in those treatments are able to penetrate deeply into the material which renders them safe. Unless the pieces were used in a tank at the store or stored outside, they are safe for immediate use. This also includes any other imported woods.

Basically these methods are a panacea of sorts as it makes you feel like your doing something to prevent unwanted organisms from moving into the tank.

Chytrid and a number of other organisms are very sensitive to drying, so an extended drying period post washing tends to eliminate the vast majority of pest species. I tend to gather enough leaves in the fall that it allows me to let them dry for 6 months or more which is certainly long enough to eliminate the vast majority of unwanted organisms. The same can be said for collected pieces of wood, if they are allowed to fully dry then they are at little risk of bringing in unwanted organisms.

The few times, I've found unwanted animals in my enclosures, I was able to trace them back to plant I had obtained. Now I quarantine all plants and ideally only use cuttings when adding plants although some of the orchids I want will require extra precautions to prevent unwanted additions.

Ed
Ed, I'd like to make sure I am understanding you. Are you saying you 100% do NOT recommend anyone ever boil or bake wood due to (1) Its ineffectiveness at truly disinfecting/eliminating pests and (2) it's detrimental effect on the structure/longevity of the wood? The reason why I would like to clarify this is a really feel like this is an important point for everyone to know.

What you are saying totally makes sense, and the most frustrating thing is that I think people are giving out false/bad advise on a regular basis regarding this topic. If you go to any relevant forum (even this one) and post a new thread about disinfecting wood, I can almost guarantee you that multiple, and even most, people will say "boil and/or bake the wood".

It seems that the trend of posts on this thread is that boiling/baking is actually not necessary or effective, and that soaking in disinfectant is the same and even worse. I think that this is important information that is hidden amongst a heap of other, incorrect info. I might even suggest this thread be a sticky thread.
 

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I have a big autoclave at work that gets everything up to 121 degrees C that I put driftwood in. Obviously not a reality for most people, but so handy for me. I do my leaf litter in there too
 

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Ed, I'd like to make sure I am understanding you. Are you saying you 100% do NOT recommend anyone ever boil or bake wood due to (1) Its ineffectiveness at truly disinfecting/eliminating pests and (2) it's detrimental effect on the structure/longevity of the wood? The reason why I would like to clarify this is a really feel like this is an important point for everyone to know.
Basically what I'm saying is that I don't do that for the reasons I've pointed out and if you hadn't brought my name up I would have shaken my head and moved right by the thread since I've given up pointing out the fallacy in those home remedies for disinfecting wood, bark and leaves.

The information has been presented multiple times and people continually boil, bake etc the wood regardless of efficacy..... it is up to them if they want to engage in what is effectivelly a useless practice so I'm not recommending anything.

What you are saying totally makes sense, and the most frustrating thing is that I think people are giving out false/bad advise on a regular basis regarding this topic. If you go to any relevant forum (even this one) and post a new thread about disinfecting wood, I can almost guarantee you that multiple, and even most, people will say "boil and/or bake the wood".

It seems that the trend of posts on this thread is that boiling/baking is actually not necessary or effective, and that soaking in disinfectant is the same and even worse. I think that this is important information that is hidden amongst a heap of other, incorrect info. I might even suggest this thread be a sticky thread.
Regardless of whether or not it is bad information people consistently ignore the issues with the practice and follow through with the attempt... I've got more than my hands full just dealing with nutritonal issues (which I think have been the bulk of my posts) that are backed by hard data. If you want to take that mission on, be my guest.

Ed
 

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Ed, I'd like to make sure I am understanding you. Are you saying you 100% do NOT recommend anyone ever boil or bake wood due to (1) Its ineffectiveness at truly disinfecting/eliminating pests and (2) it's detrimental effect on the structure/longevity of the wood? The reason why I would like to clarify this is a really feel like this is an important point for everyone to know.

What you are saying totally makes sense, and the most frustrating thing is that I think people are giving out false/bad advise on a regular basis regarding this topic. If you go to any relevant forum (even this one) and post a new thread about disinfecting wood, I can almost guarantee you that multiple, and even most, people will say "boil and/or bake the wood".

It seems that the trend of posts on this thread is that boiling/baking is actually not necessary or effective, and that soaking in disinfectant is the same and even worse. I think that this is important information that is hidden amongst a heap of other, incorrect info. I might even suggest this thread be a sticky thread.
I think... the take away point of this thread is that you can never expect to completely sterilize your wood or leaf litter (unless you have access to special equipment.) Though, I think many people will also still agree that some form of aggressive cleaning/pest killing methods are certainly not a bad thing to do.

Also important to note that there may be bigger concerns such as pests coming in on live plants. I'll still clean anything that goes into my tanks to the best of my ability with the knowledge that I am not necessarily highly effective at it.
 

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Ed, my tree frog tank has nemerteans, even after a bleach wash of the tank to clean it out prior to re-using. You mentioned that eggs can survive under the silicone edges. I think that's what you said.

So, anyway, I'm moving them to a new tank which has been much more aggressively cleaned and has not had nemerteans. I wanted to re-use some of the wood pieces in their current tank. Nice long, thin, twisty pieces that they like to climb on. Since these pieces are going from their old tank to their new tank, my only concern is the nemerteans.

Do you think that boiling and baking these pieces will kill off the nemerteans and eggs? Since these pieces are small in diameter, they should be pretty hot to the center, I would think.

Am I going to have to just throw all this great wood away? :(

Thanks
If there were loose edges to the sealer on the tank then it is easily possible that the nemerteans were able to avoid the bleach under or in the sealer and then repopulate the tank.

Unless you can autoclave the wood or let it dry for a significant period of time (months to a year or more), you may be better off discarding it... See the comment above on the ants in the wood as they survived an hour in the oven at 350 F.....in addition to the other measures taken the by the poster. The problem with nemerteans is that they are extremely invasive between cages and there are multiple routes that they can take from cage to cage.

Ed
 
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