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Subject: Book lice

Book lice

From: Gretchen Voeks <gretchen_voeks>
Date: Tuesday, February 27, 2007
I have been contacted several times in the past year regarding book
lice infestations in collections.  My recommendations are usually to
freeze at -15 deg. C whenever an ultra-low freezer is available and
the collections, typically books and paper, are safe to freeze
(double-bagged).  The lice are dormant in winter, but new colonies
appear again when RH is higher in Spring and Summer.  The literature
indicates that book lice are usually active when RH is greater than
50%.  Some of the collections storage areas with problems may
undergo periods of higher RH, and some may have microclimates with
higher RH.

I am aware that book lice feed on mold but am wondering what
potential risks they pose to collections?  Besides providing food
for other pests, will book lice damage collections? Information on
this issue, and any safe methods (other than freezing or lowering
RH) of controlling these insects would be appreciated.

Gretchen Voeks
Senior Conservator
Western Archeological and Conservation Center
255 N. Commerce Park Loop
Tucson, AZ  85745
Fax: 520-791-6465

                  Conservation DistList Instance 20:43
                  Distributed: Tuesday, March 6, 2007
                       Message Id: cdl-20-43-025
Received on Tuesday, 27 February, 2007

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