Through conservation keyhole: Ability to identify the pests

Last week we have heard from Rowan Groat about an article that was published by Julie Gardham about beautiful The English Moths and Butterflies book [Sp Coll Hunterian L.2.8-9] by Benjamin Wilkes containing 120 copperplates of hand-coloured engravings, portraying the various stages and host plants of individual species, accompanied by descriptions of their characteristics and habitat. Its colour plates portray the complete life cycles of individual species on their host plants, whilst the accompanying descriptions contain details of their ecology, morphology and habitat.

Today I would like to share insects and other pets from Integrated Pest Management perspectives. Our collections comprise a wide variety of materials including many paper-based and leather-based collections, textiles, different types of photographs and parchment materials.

If, any intruders do make it into our repositories, we try to pick up on their presence and make sure that their stay is a relatively short one.

Let’s now look at the slides below which shows some insects.

A pest infestation not only creates anxiety among staff — it can cause significant damage to our collections. Insects are generally a barometer of another environmental problem, such as high relative humidity, bad building condition or poor housekeeping. Our Integrated Pest Management system is part of our professional practice, just like monitoring the temperature and relative humidity in our archival repositories and maintaining appropriate levels of lighting.

Due to it being autumn, we can see more spiders or beetles or other invertebrate invaders and birds and rodents to come across our buildings. We need prepare ourselves for what we thought we might find inside buildings :).

To illustrate this, let’s have a closer look at the slides below.

So, try to identify the insect, understand its lifecycle and preferred habitats during the life cycles.

If you’re unable to do this yourself, try working with Archives & Special Collections Conservation and Preservation Team.

Thanks for reading and keep having fun identifying the pests 🙂 !

Categories: Archives and Special Collections

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