Protect Your Framed Treasures from the Art Eaters!

by | Preservation

Y ou’re not alone in your admiration of that new framed treasure or work of art…

There’s a whole litany of pests and vermin who’d love to start munching on your artwork: mice, book lice, worms, termites, various beetles and moths, flies, silverfish, and loads more that would love to move into your art and start eating!

Silverfish thrive on starch, cellulose, and paper.  Book lice (yuck), live on mold glues, cloth, and leather, and we all know what termites can do.

And if these vermin don’t do the damage by eating, they leave eggs and larvae and even their excrement and dead carcasses can cause ruin.

You might not even know about an infestation until it’s too late!

We even had one repair job from a home that had occasional bats getting in, and they urinated on the artwork that was hung down the main hallway!  (double yuck!)


The Alarm Signal?

Stains and holes.

You should regularly dust the frame – front and back – and give it a quick look-over.

If you see ANY holes, tears or openings in the dust cover, you’ve got a problem: it’s like a welcome sign to invaders. (See our article on dust covers).

If you see any signs of insect or critter damage, wrap and seal the frame in a heavy garbage bag and bring it in for an assessment.

An unused garbage bag, please!


If you haven’t yet, be sure you download a free copy of “The Consumer’s Guide to Picture Framing – 7 Things You NEED to Know!

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Folks Come to Us for All Kinds of Things!

“Thank you for doing such a beautiful job of the framed jerseys”
Jeanie Dakers

Spruce Grove AB

“We just finished hanging that little jacket, and… it’s fantastic! You guys did such a great job; don’t know where to begin to thank you… so I will just say, Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!"
Ev Groot

St. Albert AB

“Thanks so much, my prints are now alive!”
Bob Valiquette

Stony Plain AB

“It looks fantastic! I was not sure what the final result would look like. I was surprised at how great it all came together. The staff at Jackson’s did a great job of restoring our stained glass piece so that it’s ready to go back in our window. Thanks for all your expertise.”
Ian & Marta Moir

Yellowknife NWT

Jackson’s Gallery has done Custom Framing for Celebrities such as:

Pretty weird, huh?

How'd a framing shop in Spruce Grove get involved with all these American celebrities?!

  • Rock and TV star Gene Simmons
  • ‘Ironman’ Cal Ripken Jr
  • Best-selling author Mark Victor Hansen
  • Comedienne Joan Rivers
  • TV’s original Batman Adam West
  • NFL Superstar Emmitt Smith
  • Heavyweight Champ George Foreman
  • Magician and Comedian Penn Jillette
  • Entertainment Icon William Shatner

Karla's husband Owen Garratt is a world class artist who has done portraits for these luminaries; well, those portraits had to get framed somewhere... 😉

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  1. Jasmine Hewitt

    This reminds me to inspect our art pieces, it’s been a while and we have a lot of insects here!

    • Karla Elder

      Don’t wait!

  2. Tammy N.

    We had some issues with critters messing with our framed artwork in the basement. It was only a partial finish at the time so we didn’t have any good sealing to prevent them from being in the living space. I actually was told to put all my frames in black garbage bags and to put them in the attic or a closed garage. At the time it was summer and very hot. I guess this kills off the bugs if there are any eggs inside the frames. I am glad there are people who help with this kind of stuff. I will be in touch soon.

    • Karla Elder

      Be careful!! It can get hot enough to damage your art!

  3. Sam

    I noticed that there was some staining on one of my pictures and didn’t think anything of it. Then it started happening to all of them. I have come to find out that we have a bit of an infestation! Who knew you would be able to tell this from framed artwork on walls! What can be done to prevent this?

    • Karla Elder

      Egad! If you’ve got critters, I’m afraid you need to talk to an exterminator…!


    How do I get rid of insects that ate the matting on my deceased sister’s painting? Maybe a charcoal portrait. Someone suggested using hard bar yellow insecticide and keeping in a sealed bag for 30 days, but I can’t find any.

    • Karla Elder

      Hey Carolyn! Hooboy, that’s a tough one. I’m unfamiliar with “hard bar yellow insecticide”, so I couldn’t say whether it was a good idea or not. Since I can’t see it, it’s impossible to give any specific advice, but I can say that the two things you need to address are 1) Unframe the piece immediately to prevent further insect damage. And it’s not just the bugs themselves; it’s the eggs that need attending too as well (think head lice).

      2) make sure the treatment doesn’t itself do damage to the artwork! Liquids or sprays are out. Some sort of fumigation may work, but you’d need assurances that the fumes don’t damage the charcoal or the paper. You may kill the critters, but make the paper all yellowy brown!

      But the first step is first, get rid of the environment of the framing. If you don’t know how to do it safely, be sure to get a qualified framer to do it for you!

  5. Hannah J Parrish

    We have some tiny insects every where in the house in a very large numbers found more on walls,windows,cuboards,books ,it is very small in size.could rceognize if it is termite or booklice ,they both in black n white colours

  6. Stephen

    We have an 80 year old heirloom print that spent its 1st 70 years in the family restaurant, but now hangs at home. Noticed yesterday that it’s suddenly all but destroyed. The print looks eaten, it’s somehow “stuck” to the wall, and pulls apart like a crumbly cake if we try to take it down from the wall. What do we do??

  7. EvE London

    I have a framed giclee about 18 years old that now looks like someone etched it with a salmon marker in lines everywhere. After reading your advice, I just found a hole in the paper on the back that you could stick the tip of your pinky in. Is this bugs? Since it’s mostly linear lines and all over I’m guessing yes?

    • admin

      Hooboy, I wish I could be more help, but we’re not Entomologists. I think it’d be prudent to assume that it is. Are there issues in other art or books in the house? This may be something to call an exterminator for.

      You may also wish to take the piece back to where it came from. Did that place have an infestation? Can they repair it for you?


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