art guide

Conservation and Treatment of Oil Paintings

F. Insect Damage

Beetle larvae, termites, and silverfish can attack the wooden strechers of paintings on canvas.

Paintings must also be protected from roaches and flies, which deposit small acid specks that are nearly impossible to remove from the paint surface and can corrode both paint and varnish.


If insect damage is found, the infested painting must be isolated immediatley and fumigated by a professional conservator.

fig 1. View of the back of a paintingattacked by insects.
Notice that the damage is
in the area of the canvas
which lays on the infested
wooden stretcher.
fig 2 a. Insect damage on a board painting.
fig 2 b. The painting after treatment.