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Preservation Interest Group

Guide to provide a forum to learn and share ideas about the various aspects of preservation.

Meeting Overview

The December 10, 2019 Preservation Interest Group meeting on integrated pest management was attended by 7 people representing 7 mostly Capital District institutions. One attendee was from West Stockbridge, Massachusetts. 

Facilitator Ann C. Kearney led a discussion on how to reduce and combat insects, rodents, and other unwanted members of the animal kingdom in your library, archives or museum. 

The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, February 4, 2020, 9:30 am - 11:00 am at CDLC. Topic to be determined, but several attendees suggested mold as a potential topic.  

Meeting Notes

Integrated Pest Management - Method is to do everything you can to protect against pest before introducing chemicals to the area. Steps include: 

  1. Avoid pests. Take steps to not attract them. 
  2. Storage environment - have cleaning schedule and clean housing (boxes, folders)
  3. Identify pests & assess damage.
  4. Solve the problem, preferably without pesticides.

If you find evidence of pests: 

  1. Inspect area
  2. identify pests and diagnose problem
  3. Draw up a plan to deal with the situation and to limit the chances of it happening again. 

Evidence of Pests

Often don't see pests, just evidence that they are around, such as "sawdust" which is actually decaying bodies and excrement of insects. Eaten pages or pages that have worn away in a lacey pattern. The latter is usually evidence of silverfish. 

Monitor insects with sticky traps that are meant to alert to the presence of bugs. Do NOT use traps with bait if just monitoring. These can attract bugs from outside the building. 

Actually seeing bugs. Try to catch and put in bottle for later identification. Do not brush bugs off of items, as this may cause damage to the items. Instead, try to get the bug to crawl onto a blank piece of paper and then put into a bottle.  

Ways to limit pests:

  • Create a safe area or dirty room for new donations to inspect for pests. If don't have a separate room, you can put donation boxes in tight-lidded boxes. If that is not possible, enclose them with plastic or tarps. Boxes containing donations can be infested, so if you have any concerns, rebox as soon as possible. If you find evidence of pests, replace folders too. 
  • Keep storage environment, including boxes and folders, clean. Any barrier can help. 
  • Keep doors and windows clean. 
  • Stop up holes in your walls, foundation, etc. Basement and roof areas are the most vulnerable. 
  • Designate separate trash cans for food waste. Even better, make them a different color than other trash cans and given them lids. Get recycling bins with covers too. 
  • Keep ivy, plants off buildings. They can attract pests. 
  • Change vacuum cleaner filters regularly. If you have a large pest problem, change vacuum filters every time the vacuum is used. 
  • Fix all leaks. Moisture and leaks increase the likelihood of pests, especially in warmer weather. 

Do NOT recommend natural remedies like lavender because they may attract different insects. 

Administrative support

  • Integrated pest management will not work well without administrative buy in. 
  • Discuss pest management with administration. Is easier to prevent infestation than to deal with it afterwards. 
  • Staff training - make sure staff knows to report and sitings of live insects or rodents and to catch insects if possible. 
  • Ask for regular program of shelf maintenance - dusting and cleaning of shelves, manual dusting of items. 
  • Check policies of off site storage re maintenance and cleaning. 
  • Document what you do find, especially with photographs. This helps make the case that pest management is needed. 
  • Put together a small exhibit on pest management so staff, visitors and management learn moire. 



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