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Standards for temperature and humidity for dry collections are a bit complex.  In general, colder and drier are better for preservation, but stability through the year is also important.  Some of the "standards" in the museum community are based more on tradition than research data, and we hope a new set of data driven standards will emerge in the near future.  The Smithsonian hosted a symposium on the topic several years ago and has produced proceedings that can be downloaded free at the following URL:

http://opensi.si.edu/index.php/smithsonian/catalog/book/111

Proceedings of the Smithsonian Institution Summit on the Museum Preservation Environment

Summary: This publication presents the proceedings of the Summit on the Museum Preservation Environment, held at the Smithsonian Institution in March 2013. The purpose of the summit was to start a conversation over a gap in collections management policy at the Smithsonian, namely, that Smithsonian collections and facilities management staff desire a written standard and best practices document for the management of environments in spaces where collections are housed. They acknowledged that the controlled environments of many of the Smithsonian’s collections were based on commonly held notions of environmental “standards” (i.e., 70°F/45% RH with ± variations) that are at odds with current and even historical research findings and not understood by stakeholders to be the final and best preservation environment for all collections. They further recognized that establishing environments for long-term preservation of collections must take into account mandated and socially responsible energy savings and sustainability goals.


-----Original Message-----
From: Entomological Collections Network Listserve [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Andy Deans
Sent: Monday, July 10, 2017 10:32 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: environment and pest data

Hi all,
I have a couple questions about how you monitor your collections for pests, humidity, and other important variables and what you do with the data. We have sticky traps (n=5), UV traps with sticky cards (n=2), and a single HOBO that records RH and temp in our 1600 ft2 (147 m2) collection room (stuck to the outside of a cabinet). We collect the data and replace the sticky traps monthly. We image each card and record the adherents in a spreadsheet (determined minimally to family but usually to species). Now that we have about a year's worth of this new, more standardized data than what we had previously I can see areas that need better climate control and some that have higher level of insect activity than others. 

My questions:
(1) What is a typical or at least non-troubling level of insect activity for a sticky trap? A couple spiders and a carabid in a trap tells me that there is some activity or leakage from the outside, but they aren't taxa of concern. But what if a trap has 10 springtails? An indication that humidity is too high? I'd love to have a flow chart or at least thresholds for actionable results. What's the minimum number of book lice in trap to warrant an in depth observation of drawers in the area of the trap? What if there's a live dermestid larva feeding on a dead Scutigera in a trap? Do you freeze treat all the drawers near it?

(2) What's your typical RH? I know that general guidelines have been discussed here before (e.g., https://listserv.unl.edu/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ECN-L;aqK9Ng;200808141145240400B), but do any of you have data regarding typical RH and fluctuations? We've had wild swings, from 15% up to 65% over the past eight months, but mostly it's between 45-55%. A little too close for comfort in the summers, in my opinion.

(3) How many of you collect these and other kinds of data for your collection environment? Do you report them to your administrators or is it more about simply monitoring for extremes?

If you're curious:
sticky trap in winter, middle of collection room (after one month) https://flic.kr/p/Qpfri5 - our best result sticky trap in summer, in room next to collection (after two months) https://flic.kr/p/WfvWi7 - our worst, with rodent turds, stray identifier label, firebrats, Scutigera parts ... curator tears

Thanks for any feedback!