I did an experiment couple of months ago on how fungus affects wood, and had totally forgotten about it after soaking the planks into the water. I supposed to take them out after 3 weeks, dry them and compare to see the differences.
This was to show my group of readers the importance of using good quality Nesting plank. Once the Nesting planks had been installed and the external and internal sound are played .There is no turning back. You wouldn't want to dismantle all the planks, remove them and change it. Time, money and effort all wasted. That is not all, if there were birds inside the Swiftlet farm, they will fly away and may not return.
There are two types of wood here. The high end Meranti which is brown color ( note it is not red). Good Meranti is in brownish color. Don't mistaken them for red color. The other one is a common wood which light in color,often used by many Swiftlet farms as they are cheap and easily available. They can be obtained with or without groove. The one in the picture is without groove. I got this piece of plank from my reader.
He cited his Sifu asked him to use this light color wood as it is easier for birds to hang on them. The Sifu also encourage NO grooves to be made on all planks.
To me this is a pure "No common sense" teaching.
Both were dunked into water for more than 2 months and later let to dry for 2 months.(I supposed to take them out from a pail of water after a month but, I'd forgotten about it).
After drying, it could be clearly seen the light colored wood has mold and fungi on them. Black thick residue and powdery whitish patches. I am sure you wouldn't want this on your Nesting plank.
As for the high quality Meranti there are no mold and fungi on them other than the dried water markings. This is absolutely astonishing. One would argue that the condition in Swiftlet farm is different from dunking planks into water. Well for your information, the Swiftlet farm condition is 10 times worse than dunking planks into water. As the Swiftlet Farm's internal environment is constantly dark, it prevents sun light( UV) from reaching the Nesting area, this encourages mold and fungi to grow. Furthermore with a constant 24/7 humid environment the white patches would spread faster
The water has little affect on the dark color Meranti. All could be seen are only water markings. This Meranti has been treated and Kiln dried. It has high density structure that prevent water adsorption. High density woods have smaller and finer pores. It is hard for fungi to grow on them.
This type of plank could last many years and you don't have to worry about fungus problem for many years to come.
The worse fear is, when your Swiftlet farm starts to have good result and the birds population is increasing and you discovered that some planks are infested with mold and fungus.
This experiment clearly shows " choosing the right Meranti wood is important".
Hope this information would help those who are still can't decide on which and what Nesting Plank to be used in their Swiftlet farms.
Good Swiftlet Farming All
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