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Insect Wood - A Visual

Discussion in 'Rising Phoenix' started by RisingPhoenix, Aug 15, 2020.

  1. RisingPhoenix

    RisingPhoenix Resident Artisan

    Agarwood forms as a result of many stressors : Damage (say from storms or animals), microbes (we all hear about “fungal” infections ... they live in hot jungles, after all), insects, axes, nails, etc ...

    Insect woods, from what I can tell, tend to be spoken of more - and more highly appreciated - in Asian markets than they are in Arab markets. Or maybe a better way of saying that is that Asian buyers tend to differentiate particular types of causative formations that I generally see or hear of from Gulf clients and resources.

    In the tea world there are “bug bitten” teas - tea leaves that have had insects munching on the leaves. These teas are generally known as “Mi Xiang”, which kinda translates a few ways - ranging from “honey tea” to “bug honey”. In the West they are generally called “bug bitten” as the honey reference tends to confuse folks as the context of growing conditions is generally missing in Western cultures, but more familiar in regions where teas are grown.

    These Mi Xiang / Bug Bitten teas tend to be much sweeter than regular teas - and different types of bug infestations yield unique responses yielding distinctive flavors depending on the type of bug (Mi Xiang teas generally differentiate which particular type of bug was the causative factor).

    I mention this as I personally love insect woods. They tend to have a sweetness to them that other woods lack - and most folks don’t realize the unique value these particular types of formations bring us.

    I’m sure you’ve noticed some woods have little pin-sizes holes in them. Others can be much larger - like thicker than a finger. These are most often caused by creepy crawlers ... various bugs of varying sizes eating their way through and making themselves at home in these majestic trees.

    Some are formed by Ants, others by types of moths (more common in Hainan woods) or other flying insects, others still by worms. Kynam / Kyara is posthumously thought you be formed by Melipona bee colonies - a stingless bee that produces a very unique “sour” honey (which also tend to be my fave types of honey, as well :Roflmao:).

    Ant woods are neat as they can form a latticework of huge networks of tunnels Forming sometimes MASSIVE Agarwood formations that are a marvel to see carved out. The current batch of Khanh Hao Ant King woods I have would be an example of these ant-formed networks.

    I occasionally find interesting stuff that makes its way into my hands. I had some Viet logs awhile back that had almost what looked like locust pupae shells in them (you know what I’m talking about ? Those almost lobster-like shells that you’ll find on trees and sides of houses ...). For those coming to the Atlanta OudFest - remind me and I’ll pull one out I still have on hand with some visible carcasses still in it.

    Sometimes I find dead ants, bugs that look kinda like wasps or termites. All dead, of course - and it’s fascinating just to see how these particular woods are formed by what amount to as parasites to the tree. Other times there’s “bug spit” - sometimes soft, sometimes rock hard formations where bugs secret some mucus to seal off or like their tunnels. You’ve likely found some of these in woods and mistaken them for being white wood on the inside of some woods.

    Tasty, sweet, complex woods thanks to these bugs - just like Mi Xiang teas ... marvels of nature.

    Anyhow - I saw a picture earlier that inspired this post. Visuals are nice. Here ya go - and enjoy!

    Gary K, DubOudh, Oudamberlove and 2 others like this.
  2. Taesik Yun

    Taesik Yun True Ouddict Staff Member

    One of the local Korean vendors explains that there are three types(ant, silverfish, maggot) of "bug-bitten" woods. we call it "충루(Choong-loo) in local language"
    resin formation looks different depending on what kind of bug britches under the tree's skin.
    for example, ant bitten agarwood can be massive because they form a colony.
    and agarwood produced from silverfish looks thin because silverfish generally only make a 1~3cm size hole.
    likewise, maggot(larvae) agarwood is a bit bigger than silverfish bitten woods.

    It's fascinating how smells differ depending on what caused the infection.

    P.s. Take this information with a grain of salt because I loosely translated it.
  3. IntheRedwoods

    IntheRedwoods True Ouddict

    Thanks JK!
    RisingPhoenix likes this.
  4. DubOudh

    DubOudh Aster Oudh

    Everything is just chemicals.......all inter acting......quite wonderful really...
    Taesik Yun and RisingPhoenix like this.

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