15th September 2011
Insects eating away at our heritage
Museums and heritage properties are under threat from growing numbers of insects, intent on eating precious exhibits and precious historical relics.
A recent BBC News story has highlighted that in recent years there has been an influx in moths and beetle larvae an in particular a breed of moth being dubbed the "clothes moth" which only grows up to 8mm long and couldn't be more visible with its gold body colouring but it's doing substantial damage in museums and heritage properties throughout the UK.
The problem has become so severe in national museums that most are seeking out the expert advice of "bug man" David Pinniger, a renowned heritage site pest control consultant. Adrian Doyle, collections care conservator at the Museum of London warns that a close eye needs to be kept on exhibits with wool, silk, cotton or older fabrics as they have a high "munchability index" due to them carrying the most value.
The solution to this epidemic is a combination of pesticides, lures and creating low temperatures around displays to make them less appealing and even kill the moths and beetle larvae. The pest controllers see this is a preventative method to stop historical materials and garments being damaged by the bugs but there is an alternative, stopping them coming into the building through doors and windows that are being left open for ventilation.
Fly screens would greatly reduce the numbers of insects coming into a building whilst keeping the flow of fresh air. Heritage buildings often have unusual and over-sized doors and windows but Phantom Screens are bespoke fitted to ensure they cover any size doors or window and have been fitted on various commercial properties in the past and onto heritage building in partnership with architects.