The Museum Assistants monitor the insects within the museum galleries and displays, which may be damaging the collections. There are some insects which like to eat the materials the objects are made from. The insects are monitored by using traps. The museum does not use the traps to reduce the number of insects but to keep an eye on insect numbers, noting any increases which might be a threat to the collection.
The insect monitoring traps are really easy to use. You just fold them into a triangle and peel off the paper to expose a sticky pad. When any insect walk on it they get stuck.
The job can be quite a handful as we need to take a pest monitoring form, spare traps, a pen, clip board, a magnifier and an insect guide.
Spiders – Spiders feature quite high in this month’s bug finds! They are not a threat to the collections as they generally eat other bugs, not the collections. However spider’s webs can attract other insects so cleaning is really important to reducing this risk.
Silverfish – Silverfish always feature on our ground floor pest traps, but luckily we do not find them in our collection store rooms. They like to eat paper, books and textiles. Silverfish can be a useful indicator of damp conditions.
White shouldered house month – Three of these moths featured in our bug traps this month. The larvae (baby) moths can sometimes eat museum objects, in particular woollen items, fur and feathers, but only usually when items are damp.
Brown house moth – Two of these moths featured in our bug traps this month. The larvae can sometimes eat woollen items, fur and feathers, but only usually when items are damp.
Infestations are more likely to happen in warm, damp conditions, so monitoring and controlling the environment is really important to reducing this risk. The museum stores have excellent conditions which help battle the bugs!
Blog by Steph Smith, Museum Assistant