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Pest Control

Museum collections are vulnerable to destruction from pests such as insects, rodents, birds and mold. This type of deterioration to collections is not always addressed because the damage is often gradual, obscured from general view, and therefore, unnoticed. However, over time this persistent activity can have devastating effects on museum collections.

In the past, chemical applications were widely used in museums to eradicate pests. Recent changes in public attitudes and government regulations have increased the pressure to minimize the use of pesticides, and have encouraged the use of preventative measures and less toxic materials and methods.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is the general term used for pest management programs in many museums and other institutions. IPM focuses on preventive techniques to minimize food, moisture and environmental conditions required for pest survival.

Sanitation is a crucial factor in pest control. A clean, uncluttered environment is not attractive to pests. The condition of the building itself is another important factor in pest control. Pests infiltrate through cracks and holes in building structures. It is important to seal openings in buildings to inhibit passage. Pests are also brought into museums from the outside on objects and sometimes people. Containment of affected areas or objects is important in preventing infested materials from contaminating non-infested collections.

Early detection is critical in pest management programs. Regular inspection of the museum environment and collections is necessary to control activities as they occur. Records should be kept for long term evaluation of changes.

Courses we recommend:


MS210: Integrated Pest Management for Museums, Libraries and Archives
Course Description & Info    Instructor: Laura Wingate
Student Login    Price: $495
[Learn More]   

Books and products we recommend:

Controlling Vertebrate Pests in Museums CoverCCI Tech Bulletin #13 Controlling Vertebrate Pests in Museums by Thomas J.K. Strang and John E. Dawson
Examines the detrimental affect that rodents have on museum collections. Vertebrate animals can soil or destroy artifacts. Prompt identification of the pest and the use of suitable methods to control it are essential. In most cases, non-chemical methods can be used to control vertebrate pests in museums; chemical methods are also discussed.

Controlling Vertebrate Pests in Museums$12.00[Learn More]

Solving Museum Insect Problems: Chemical ControlCCI Tech Bulletin # 15 Solving Museum Insect Problems: Chemical Control by John E. Dawson and revised by Thomas J.K. Strang
Intended to help museum staff understand commercial pest control operations. It describes chemical methods of controlling insects, and includes information on regulations, modes of action, and application methods necessary for the safe use of insecticides. A detailed guide helps in decision-making about the appropriate chemical method of control.

Solving Museum Insect Problems: Chemical Control$26.00[Learn More]

Combatting Pest of Cultural PropertyCCI Tech Bulletin #29 Combatting Pests of Cultural Property by Tom Strang and Rika Kigawa
Pests can be very destructive to both aesthetic elements and the structural integrity of collections, historic buildings, and objects. Protection against pests requires attention to the collection’s environment, containment, discovery of pests, response to pests, and remediation actions. Reducing loss of value over time is the goal of preventive conservation strategies. Integrated pest management (IPM) practices are part of this process. Having a safe work environment and minimizing adverse effects to objects from chemical exposure is a background concern. Effectiveness of any control procedure or treatment can be measured by reducing the extent and repeated incidence of the problem. Basic pests of collections, and a structured approach to pest reduction activities, are presented. A survey method with remediation activities appropriate to pest infestation findings is given to help start an IPM program for a wide range of collections from outdoor installations to state-of-the art preservation facilities.

Combatting Pests of Cultural Property$35.00[Learn More]

Collections Caretaker Vol 1 No 3
Vol.1 No.3
Integrated Pest Management

$5.00[Learn More]


Links to related information on other sites:

Creepy Things

Integrated Pest Management: Not a Fad or Fancy Term But a Valid Operational Strategy

Integrated Pest Management for Montana Museums
(training slide show) Museum/museum.htm

Museum of the Rockies: IPM Experiences
(training slide show)

Museum IPM IPM

Integrated Pest Management

Radcliffe’s IPM World Textbook

Integrated Pest Management (IPM): What Is It?

History of IPM

National Science Foundation’s Virtual Center for Integrated Pest Management

Iowa State University’s Entomology Site

Integrated Pest Management at Iowa State University

National IPM Network North Carolina Component

Urban Pest Management

Managing Pests in the Home, Garden and Yard
(links to articles) urban/hgins.html

Urban Integrated Pest Management cropsci/toc.html

National IPM Network (US)

University of Massachusetts, IPM page
(mainly fruit and vegetable information, but this site is growing)

The National Park Service Integrated Pest Management Manual natparks/natpark.html

Pest Management Resouce Center (Wales)

Integrated Pest Management A Selected Bibliography for Collections Care jessup/ipm.html

The International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology

Integrated Pest Management Links

Pest Management (page of links to texts)

Furniture Care & Handling – Biopredation

Pest Management Model Plan (US ARMY)

Alternatives to Chemical Pest Control c03altpr/c03altpr.html

Pesticide Storage and Disposal c04watr/pestdisp.html

STRUCTURAL AND PUBLIC HEALTH PESTS – Application of IPM Principles To Structural Pests c11struc/sipm.html

Structural Pest Control and the Law c11struc/slaw.html

2003 North Carolina Agricultural Chemicals Manual (includes information on pests and identification)

Pesticide Fact Sheets

US Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventitive Medicine Entomological Sciences Program

Pesticides and Child Safety

Floods and Pests

UT-Houston Environmental Health & Safety research_acad_aff/safety/


Bio-Integral Resource Center

“Integrate pest management into operations” by Wendy Jessup

Controlling Insect Pests: Alternatives to Pesticides (Conserve-O-Gram 3/8) – (An Adobe PDF file) conserveogram/03-08.pdf

Keeping Bugs in their Place with Help from IMLS

IPM Institute

Integrated Pest Management