Actions to Avoid Pest Problems

Pest

  • Microorganism.
    Microorganism symbol
  • Insect.
    Insect symbol
  • Rodent.
    Rodent symbol
  • Bird and bat.
    Bird and bat symbol

Situation to avoid

Spilled or open food (starch, protein, fat) attracts and supports all pest life.

Action

Restrict food areas to places segregated from collections. Encourage the use of tightly sealed food storage containers. Promptly clean up all spills and event areas where food has been served. Flag any foodstuffs (e.g. stuffed animals) in interpretive displays for regular IPM inspections. Consult Case Study 1.

Pest

  • Microorganism.
    Microorganism symbol
  • Insect.
    Insect symbol
  • Rodent.
    Rodent symbol
  • Bird and bat.
    Bird and bat symbol

Situation to avoid

Sources of moisture support fungi, bacteria, rodents, and some insects. Standing water is a minor attraction for bird pest species.

Action

Reduce standing water where possible. Include water features in a detection regime to identify developing hazards (mould around courtyard fountains, etc.). Inspect sumps and drains in collection storerooms to see if they are supporting silverfish and nuisance pests. Ensure water drains away from all structures to prevent foundation moisture problems.

Pest

  • Microorganism.
    Microorganism symbol
  • Insect.
    Insect symbol
  • Rodent.
    Rodent symbol

Situation to avoid

Food, sweat, and blood residues on objects attract pests.

Action

Grazing by insects and gnawing by rodents is increased by residual foodstuff on textiles, baskets, containers, etc. Cleaning these objects will lower their attractiveness to pests and microbial attack in damp conditions. If a residue must be preserved, use blocking strategies to deter pests.

Pest

  • Insect.
    Insect symbol
  • Rodent.
    Rodent symbol
  • Bird and bat.
    Bird and bat symbol

Situation to avoid

Deliberately feeding animals attracts pest problems.

Action

Unnecessary feeding (e.g. urban pigeons) encourages roosting, soiling, and nesting, and attracts insect pests that feed on bird detritus (e.g. clothes moths, dermestids) to collections. Permanent roosting or nesting activity in or on a structure is high risk for introducing harmful insects. Where feeding programs are part of the interpretation plan, reduce risk by ensuring IPM principles are applied in the area and by properly storing foodstuffs.

Pest

  • Microorganism. Microorganism symbol
  • Insect. Insect symbol

Situation to avoid

Elevated moisture content supports bacteria, mould, and some insect life (silverfish, psocids).

Action

Dehumidify storage to less than a seasonal high of 75% RH for periods lasting less than 2 months, and preferably under 65% RH for year-round storage, which will reduce object moisture content to safe levels, or package vulnerable objects in sealed vapour-barrier containers during the dry season and leave them sealed throughout the damp season (Strang ).

Pest

  • Microorganism. Microorganism symbol
  • Insect. Insect symbol
  • Rodent. Rodent symbol

Situation to avoid

Clutter implies uninspected areas that possibly harbour rodents and insects. Combined with damp, permanent clutter exacerbates mould problems by providing more surfaces to contaminate in vulnerable places.

Action

Reduce clutter by organizing objects on shelves or clean pallets. Keep clear lines of sight along walls because rodents use room edges as runways. This is also useful for water damage mitigation, intruder detection, and emergency exit.

Pest

  • Microorganism. Microorganism symbol
  • Insect. Insect symbol

Situation to avoid

High humidity conditions (greater than 65% RH).

Action

Microorganisms and some insects require high humidity to go through their life cycle. Reducing humidity year-round to less than 65% RH avoids conditions conducive to bacteria, mould, and some insect proliferation (i.e. psocids). Likewise, maintaining alcohol preservation at 70% (volume percent) ethanol/water and 40% isopropanol/water avoids microbial action deterioration in fluid collections.

Pest

Insect.
Insect symbol

Situation to avoid

Light draws night-flying insects toward and into structures.

Action

Arrange exterior lights to minimize this effect without compromising security. Use light to draw insects away from building openings. Mercury vapour lighting is very attractive to insects. Energy-efficient, high-pressure sodium exterior lighting is less attractive to pests. Reduce use of nighttime interior lightinb that is visible to the outside.

Pest

Insect.
Insect symbol

Situation to avoid

Wildflowers are feeding and mating sites for adult dermestids.

Action

Be cautious about bringing in fresh cut wildflowers without removing insect life, or ban the practice. In comparison, cut flowers from reputable florists and cared-for houseplants are a much lower hazard, but must be removed at the first sign of plant pests.

Pest

Insect.
Insect symbol

Situation to avoid

Concentrations of pollen or hair in dust may support insect life.

Action

Overall cleanliness decreases available food for pests, and increases the effectiveness of detection efforts and applied pesticide sprays. Vacuum annually under cabinets. Certain mineral dusts designated as pesticides decrease viability of insects (diatomaceous or synthetic silica powder formulations).

Pest

Bird and bat.
Bird and bat symbol

Situation to avoid

External parts of building structure amenable to nesting and roosting.

Action

Discourage nesting or roosting on a building by using blocking methods such as netting. Providing alternate habitats (bird or bat houses) away from a structure may reduce pressure for finding nesting and roosting spots and aid species at risk.

Pest

Insect.
Insect symbol

Situation to avoid

Wood-boring pests introduced into key structures (building, storage furniture, display, crating).

Action

Use “manufactured” wood products (plywood, laminated beams), and avoid solid wood elements unless they have been kiln dried, which will kill borers (International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures, ISPM 15). Avoid re-using framing timbers unless kilned or treated.

CCI Technical Bulletin 29.

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