We do three things.
1. All new dry specimens coming into the museum, or e.g. specimens that have been sitting in my office for any time, and similar situations, all go into a fumigation cabinet for a week or so where we use PDB. This is always done before we put them into the main collection. We don’t freeze simply because we don’t have adequate floor space to put a freezer (wish we did).
2. Periodically we’ll inspect the collection for damage.
3. We try make sure that all our drawers have tight fitting lids, which means replacing many of our old drawers.
We find that the vast majority of our dermestid problems are ones we’ve caused, e.g. when a specimen with dermestid eggs is inadvertently introduced into the collection. This will not work in places with higher humidities that have problems with psocids too.
From: Entomological Collections Network Listserve [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
On Behalf Of Mike Ferro
Sent: Tuesday, January 19, 2016 7:06 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Museum Pests
1. I know that a lot of museums have moved away from moth balls, PDB, and other chemicals used to keep the hounds at bay. A common strategy seems to be freezing drawers to kill any dermestids and then relying on mechanical defenses (cabinet and drawer seals) to keep dermestids out.
What are the formal or informal protocols you guys use in your museums? Refreeze all drawers every year? Spot check for damage every six months?
2. I get the sense that dermestids preferentially (only?) attack specimens over a certain size. Has anyone kept records of where dermestids are and aren't in their collection? Might they have a taxonomic bias as well as a size one? Basically, can we expect that a drawer full of ptillids is dermestid proof? Perhaps pooling records of where dermestids are (and aren't) in a collection would show a pattern.
Michael L. Ferro
Collection Manager, Clemson University Arthropod Collection
Dept. of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
MAIL: 277 Poole Agricultural Center
OFFICE: 307 Long Hall
Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29634-0310
Subject Editor: The Coleopterists Bulletin; Insecta Mundi