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Subject: Diatomaceous earth and pest control

Diatomaceous earth and pest control

From: Sophie Parker <parker.sophie<-a>
Date: Monday, January 31, 2005
Jutta Gopfrich <j.goepfrich [at] ledermuseum__de> writes

>... Also we are looking for a source for
>pheromone traps against certain beetles (Anthrenus).

In our storage and display rooms we are considering using
diatomaceous earth (Kieselguhr) against insect infestation. Does
anyone have experience with that product? Also we are looking for an
source for pheromone traps against certain beetles (Anthrenus).

We have experienced a problem with controlling anthrenus verbasci
larvae in a museum entomology collection and I have done some
investigation into suitable pest control methods.

I had hoped that a dusting of diatomaceous earth (desiccant powder)
under the entomology cabinets would control and kill travelling
larvae. I contacted the entomologist of a company who imports
Dryacide, a diatomaceous earth for the protection of grain in
storage. However in his opinion, the anthrenus larvae had too many
body hairs which would prevent the dust from scratching the wax
cuticle on the larvae, thereby leading to their dehydration. I have
a sample of Dryacide to conduct some simple experiments to test its
effectiveness with anthrenus larvae. Fortunately I have not been
able to capture enough larvae, as yet, to make it worthwhile! The
entomologist was also kind enough to research, internationally, a
source for anthrenus verbasci pheromone traps. As I had already
suspected, they do not appear to be manufactured. There are
pheromone traps for black carpet beetle but since we have variegated
carpet beetle, I can't imagine it would be effective.

Our method of approach is to survey and clean every entomology
drawer (5500 of them!), removing old naphthalene, and freezing any
drawers that have living or dead evidence of anthrenus larvae. The
store and all the cabinets are thoroughly cleaned inside and out.
The cabinets will have legs attached to the bases to raise them off
the ground to facilitate regular cleaning and allow strips of sticky
traps (double sided tape for carpet laying on thin card) to be place
underneath. We have also employed a pest control contractor to space
spray the store with pyrethrin Pestigas. We temporarily removed the
top drawer of every cabinet and pulled the other drawers out a small
amount to allow penetration of pyrethrin gas into the cabinets. In
this way we hope to achieve a reasonable baseline to proceed with a
more stringent Integrated Pest Management program.

I am keen to hear other people's responses to this type of problem.

Sophie Parker
Objects and Textile Conservator
Artlab Australia
70 Kintore Ave
South Australia 5000

                  Conservation DistList Instance 18:38
                Distributed: Thursday, February 10, 2005
                       Message Id: cdl-18-38-010
Received on Monday, 31 January, 2005

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