Hi Andy

I am not sure if you have looked at the publications available from SPNHC,
but some of them, even if a bit outdated now, are still pretty useful and
based on research.  I have attached a screen capture of the 2 I know of
that are pretty standard. I suspect some questions remain, though...


> 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.,
> 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)
> - our best result
> sticky trap in summer, in room next to collection (after two months)
> - our worst, with rodent turds, stray identifier
> label, firebrats, Scutigera parts ... curator tears
> Thanks for any feedback!

James B. Whitfield
Department of Entomology
320 Morrill Hall
505 S. Goodwin Avenue
University of Illinois
Urbana, IL 61801