We freeze at -40C for 2 days all incoming specimens (eg all loan returns). Usually not alcohol shipments but sometimes these too if the packaging is suspect or it's coming in from a museum.

We do a visual inspection of the entire pinned collection every six months (I get my entomology students to help with this as one of their first lab sessions).

We also rely on cabinet and drawer seals.

Based on older collections we've received, it does seem dermestids prefer larger specimens (Bombus, Sphingidae, etc) but I've seen damage to small flies too. If one wanted to collect data to detect a pattern I'd focus on dermestid damage which is easier to find than dermestids themselves. Might make a great student project!


On Tue, Jan 19, 2016 at 6:05 AM, Mike Ferro <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

Two things:


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


Derek S. Sikes, Curator of Insects
Associate Professor of Entomology
University of Alaska Museum
907 Yukon Drive
Fairbanks, AK   99775-6960

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phone: 907-474-6278
FAX: 907-474-5469

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