Pests in my palette

  • So today I opened up my gouache palette to find a couple of earwigs feasting on my paint. It was really surprising and disgusting and now makes me worry that there are tasty things in my paint. I looked it up and think it's either gum arabic or dextrin. Has anybody else ever experienced something like this? What did you do about it? Will they go after the thin amount of paint on paper? Am I just painting tasty earwig snacks? :face_with_open_mouth_cold_sweat:

  • Aggg! Earwigs! Haven't had this problem, but I was reading Sydney Parkinson's journal, (the botanical artist on Captain Cook's first voyage) and he talks about how the flies in Tahiti would eat the pigment right off his paper. So I wouldn't be surprised if the earwigs eat the paint off of your paper. Do they eat through plastic? Maybe you can store palettes and artwork in a plastic bag or bin?

  • Depending on the brand of paint you use, there might also be honey mixed into the paints as a humectant to keep them moist. Honey can be pretty tasty to bugs! It can also cause mold to grow in your paints if you live in a humid climate.

    Maybe try moving your paints over to an airtight, sealed palette- then hopefully they can't get in!

    I'm not sure they'll want your paintings unless you have those silverfish bugs that will eat starches, like paper or clothing. It's probably a good idea to store your artwork in something protective when you're finished making it. Perhaps a plastic sleeve or bin, like @TessaW said.

  • I had issues with flys sucking of the paint from the paper too when I swatched a new water colour set. I have never seen insects “eating” paints before nor did that happen to me after this event.

    It is weird that the insects got into your pallet. What kind of pallet do you use? I have go a Mijello pallet for my gouache paints that can be closed tightly. But I know that some bugs can squeeze trough the tiniest spaces which got me worried a bit. Maybe a plastic bag a seal the pallet away like the others suggest as well could help you.

    Of course you should also check how they got into your house at first place. There might be sprays or something to keep all kinds of bugs out of your house.

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