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Heiner schiebel, the sacristan of the catholic city church st. Johannes, was the first to discover the pests. Schiebel makes every year for the kiliani week around the memorial day 8. July the three wooden holy figures kilian, kolonat and totnan are set up in the altar room. He had the feeling that the woodworm traces in the soft lime wood must be relatively fresh. The holes were numerous, especially also in the high listed barriers in the sacristy. Wood flour oozing out was finally the proof that the larvae of the nail beetle were at work.
The diocese of wurzburg sent a building and art expert to kitzingen to assess the pest infestation. The result was disturbing: the old confessional, richly decorated with carvings, was infested, as was the wood in the sacristy.
This week a special company killed the woodworm with toxic gas. Before that, some preparations had to be made. The confessional was jerked forward and wrapped up. The roof over the two sacristy rooms was waterproofed. Every crack was closed by the pest fighters. In addition, a construction fence was erected around the sacristy to keep passers-by at a distance. Foodstuffs such as the hosts or the wine were moved out of reach. An employee of the lower nature conservation authority made sure that there were no bats in the church tower and roof trusses this year.
It all started on tuesday. For several hours, a pump directed the gas into the cordoned-off areas. The toxic agent remained in the cordoned-off areas until thursday, so that the wood could absorb the poison, and was then vacuumed up again.
The action cost a few thousand euros. The church foundation has to pay for it. "We have been asking for donations all along before the fumigation", reports pastor dr. Manfred bauer. Possibly there will be a grant from the diozese wurzburg. It is also in their interest to preserve the works of art. Some thanks could also come from the guardian associations, who love to have their valuable panes treated at the same time.
Normally, the nail beetle, whose larvae are called woodworms, would now have to be left alone for several years. The company gives a guarantee, says bauer.
On monday of the next week is supposed to be st. St. John’s church can be opened again for visitors. On thursday, the members of the church congregation want to meet there again for a mass.
There is no longer any danger of being harmed by the poison, explains mesner schiebel, who already had a school class as guests in the house of worship yesterday. But because pastor bauer knows that some people are afraid or have reservations about going into a church where there is a waft of poison in some places, he decided to celebrate the family service tomorrow in the capuchin church. "Especially when children are present, people are particularly sensitive", he says.