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A contribution to standards for freezing as a pest control method for museums

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Abstract. The mortality of larvae of Anthrenus museorum (L.), Anthrenus verbasci (L.), Attagenus smirnovi Zhantiev, Attagenus woodroffei Hallstead and Green, Reesa vespulae (Milliron), Trogoderma angustum (Solier) (Coleoptera: Dermestidae) and Tineola bisselliella (Hummel) (Lepidoptera: Tineidae) was studied in freezing experiments at 18 to 20 °C. An infestation by these pests was simulated inside heavy woollen material and upholstered furniture, i.e., in wood enclosed in heavy material. It is vitally important that air can circulate around the treated objects in the freezer. Times necessary for the temperature to reach equilibrium were 20 and 36 hours, respectively. Larvae that had been exposed to temperatures lower than 17.6 °C for about 50 hours had all died, either immediately or as observed several months later. Freezing procedures using moderate temperatures must be based on time-temperature-mortality relationships for different stages of the relevant species. Previous conclusions that A. museorum is more resistant to low temperatures than several other dermestids are confirmed and acclimatisation suggested as the reason. Further investigations on the biochemical processes occurring in the insects during exposure to low temperatures could elucidate this further.
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... Many types of infested museum collections can be disinfested by freezing them in a chest freezer or a large commercial freezer (Bergh et al. 2006). Textiles, furniture, herbarium specimens, books, mammal and bird collections, as well as various ethnographic materials, have been successfully frozen for insect control. ...
... Certain alternative strategies (e.g. freezing and anoxia) have therefore been developed and used for a number of years (Bergh et al. 2003(Bergh et al. , 2006Child and Pinniger 2008). Low-temperature treatments are now used for quarantine prevention and infestation control in many museums worldwide. ...
Book
This book aims to assess, evaluate and critically analyze the methods that are currently available for a judicious pest management in durable food. It presents and analyzes a vast amount of methods that are already in use in “real world” industrial applications. After the phase-out of methyl bromide, but also the withdrawal of several insecticides and the continuously updated food safety regulations, there is a significant knowledge gap on the use of risk-reduced, ecologically-compatible control methods that can be used with success against stored-product insect species and related arthropods. The importance of integrated pest management (IPM) is growing, but the concept as practiced for stored products might differ from IPM as historically developed for field crops. This book discusses a wide variety of control strategies used for stored product management and describes some of the IPM components. The editors included chemical and non-chemical methods, as both are essential in IPM. They set the scene for more information regarding emerging issues in stored product protection, such as emerging, alien and invasive species as threats for global food security, as well as the importance of stored-product arthropods for human health. Finally, the analysis of the economics of stored product protection is presented, from theory to practice.
... Many types of infested museum collections can be disinfested by freezing them in a chest freezer or a large commercial freezer (Bergh et al. 2006). Textiles, furniture, herbarium specimens, books, mammal and bird collections, as well as various ethnographic materials, have been successfully frozen for insect control. ...
... Certain alternative strategies (e.g. freezing and anoxia) have therefore been developed and used for a number of years (Bergh et al. 2003(Bergh et al. , 2006Child and Pinniger 2008). Low-temperature treatments are now used for quarantine prevention and infestation control in many museums worldwide. ...
Chapter
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Many types of artefacts are vulnerable to deterioration from biological, physical and chemical sources. Artefacts that consist of organic materials, such as fur, hides, linen, plant material, wood, wool, etc., can be infested by a range of insects. Most heritage areas have collections which are at risk, including archaeology, prints and drawings, contemporary art installations, folk art, fine arts, ethnography, books and archives, industrial and technical heritage and natural sciences.
... Differences maybe resulted from various conditions such as individual differences of pests, different freezers, different treatment methods and difference of taxidermy. Studies indicated that the insulating properties of materials made for museum collections could affect the freezing results (Bergh et al., 2006). ...
... The similar findings also were found in the collection of other materials. The research of Bergh et al. (2006) illustrated that the middle layer of collections made of wood and wool reached -10ºC after 12 h and the temperatures did not decrease further even after expose of five weeks under the freezing temperature -20ºC, and only after air circulation in the freezer had been improved, did the middle layer reach temperatures of approximately -20ºC after 20 h. ...
Article
Museum taxidermies have traditionally relied on toxic chemicals for the prevention and treatment of pest infestations. However, concern over the health and safety implications of the use of chemicals in the museum environment, effectiveness, and potential adverse effects on museum specimens and associated materials has promoted investigation into alternative control methods. One such method is the use of freezing. The efficacy of freezing against museum pest insect Demestes maculates was evaluated. Results show that all pests tested at the surface of tanned skin failed to survive beyond 6 h of exposure of the temperature -20ºC. However, the insulating properties of both the tanned skin and the stuff straw affected insecticidal effect by slowing the spread rate of cold air. Moreover, results also indicated that the rate of cooling played a key role in the course of eradication with freezing. With the increasing of the time of temperature equilibrium, the time from the point of equilibrium temperature to the point of obtaining 100% mortality increased significantly. It was suggested that the adaptation of pest insect against freezing would be strengthened and the freezing time would be prolonged if the temperature decreased slowly.
... Several other papers have directly addressed the practical problem of time to complete cooling: Bergh et al. (2006) demonstrated the loss of efficacy through accidental thermal bridging of textile objects against the insulated wall of a small chest freezer but also ran mortality studies with several key species with insulation delays. Zhang (2012) sampled Dermestes maculatus over time at different depths of matting to examine efficacy in a model museum situation. ...
Conference Paper
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Collections in cultural institutions are vulnerable to many deleterious events. Insects of concern are a blend of 'household pests', typified by clothes moth and dermestid species, 'timber pests' such as anobiid and lyctid species and 'food pests' of kitchen, pantry and granary as collections are quite varied in their composition across museum, archive, library, gallery, historic properties and cultural centers. There is a distribution of scale of museums and concomitant resources to apply against all modes of deterioration, as well as accomplishing operational goals using the collections as a core resource. There is a strong need for museum pest control methods inside an integrated pest management framework to be efficacious, have minimal effect on objects, and be economical in their costs. Through the 1980's and 90's museum staff became increasingly knowledgeable about industrial hygiene, harmful substances used in preparation methods, preservative solutions and residual insecticides. Some collections have been tested for residual arsenic, mercury, DDT, and other contaminants. Fumigants were curtailed for health and environmental impact so ethylene oxide (ETO), phosphine and methyl bromide (MeBr) followed the loss of grain fumigants which had been applied as liquids in museum storage cabinets. Thermal and controlled atmosphere methods offered a way forward for many museums which found they could not continue previous practices for controlling insects on and inside their objects. To gain widespread adoption, efficacy data had to be assembled to create confident schedules for treatment. Concerns about adverse effects arose as thermal treatments conflicted with the conservation profession's ideal of tight climate control for object preservation. Rudimentary knowledge on how humidity changes with temperature exacerbated concerns when cooling or heating an object. This paper shows the existing guidance for thermal efficacy against museum pest insects, how mitigation of adverse effects has been achieved in application of low and elevated temperature control, and topics for research.
... Thermal stress can be used in insect pest management, and both cold and heat have been used for the management of insects pests of stored commodities (Dean 1911, Mathlein 1961, Burges and Burrell 1964, Bergh et al. 2006, Wilches et al. 2016. Structures used for processing and storage can be exposed to high temperatures by introducing heated air and raising the temperature to lethal levels to eliminate insect populations infesting the structure (Fields et al. 2012). ...
Article
Extreme temperature has been used as an alternative to chemical treatments for stored product pests for years. Resistance to heat or cold treatments has not been documented in stored product insects, but repeated use of ineffective treatments could lead to adaptive tolerance. Trogoderma variabile (Dermestidae) is a common pest of stored products, and the larval stage is highly resistant to cold and destructive. We artificially selected populations by inducing chill coma at four different cold temperature treatments: 3 and 5 h at -10°C and 3 and 5 h at 0°C. Recovery time was highly heritable after selection for seven generations for decreased recovery time (cold tolerance) and increased recovery time (cold susceptibility) at all time and temperature combinations. Three replicate populations for each time and temperature combination varied substantially, suggesting different mutations in each population were probably responsible for selected phenotypes. Body size decreased in populations selected for cold susceptibility compared with those selected for cold tolerance and survivorship to long-term cold stress increased in the cold-tolerant populations compared with the susceptible populations. After the cessation of the selection experiment, cold tolerance dissipated within four generations from the populations at -10°C, but was maintained in populations exposed to 0°C. Our results suggest that warehouse beetles can adapt to cold stress quickly, but in the absence of cold stress, the proportion of cold-tolerant/susceptible individuals is quickly reduced, suggesting that some of the mutations responsible for these phenotypes may be associated with fitness costs under normal conditions.
... Anheuser and Garcia Gomez (2013) reported a nonsuccessful treatment against webbing clothes moths in a collection; here residual pesticides are probably responsible for the failure (Anheuser 2016). Other methods used in museums today are freezing (Tanimura and Yamaguchi 1995;Bergh et al. 2006;Strang and Kigawa 2009;Berzolla et al. 2011a), controlled heat treatment with regulated humidity (Strang 1992;Child 1994;Roux and Leary 2001;Strang 2001;Ackery et al. 2002Ackery et al. , 2005Beiner and Ogilvie 2005;Ball et al. 2011), nitrogen fumigation (Gilberg 1989(Gilberg , 1991Rust and Kennedy 1993;Valentin 1993;Selwitz and Maekawa 1998;Maekawa and Elert 2003;Berzolla et al. 2011b), CO 2 fumigation (Valentin 1993), and also the application of toxic gases like sulfuryl fluoride (and formerly phosphine (Derrick et al. 1990;Binker 1993). ...
Article
Full-text available
We report on biological control of an active infestation by biscuit beetles (Stegobium paniceum) of museum objects (Old Masters paintings) in the storage facilities of the Museum of Fine Arts in Vienna. Because chemical and non-chemical treatment methods would have been very problematic, the release of parasitic wasps (Lariophagus distinguendus) was discussed and accepted by the director of the collection. We released 3000 wasps every month from August 2013 until September 2014 in the two infested storage rooms and monitored the activity of biscuit beetles on sticky blunder traps and light traps, and also by visual inspection. In the insect monitoring of 2014 until 2018 no more biscuit beetles were found in the two storage depositories, showing that the treatment was 100% successful. To our knowledge, this is the first proof of a fully successful biological control of a museum pest using parasitoids only, and also of stored product/food pest, outside a laboratory experimental setup. This biological pest control method allowed avoiding negative side effects such as contamination from treatments with biocides, or costly logistics in case of chemical-free methods.
... Repeated cycles of freezing and thawing are also more likely to kill any remaining live larvae within wood. However, as with heat treatments, it is important to consider the effect of variation in temperature and consequent variations in relative humidity on vulnerable objects (Carrlee 2003;Bergh et al. 2006;Berzolla, Gariboldi, and Chiappini 2011). ...
Article
By far the most common species of woodworms perceived to be the main cause of damage to wood, and in particular to wooden art objects, are Anobium punctatum de Geer and Hylotrupes bajulas of Coleoptera family. In search of non-chemical methods for eradicating these wood pests, microwave (MW) heating can be an effective tool to help control the insects in their different life stages (eggs, larvae, and adult). The effect of 2.45 GHz frequency MW exposure on wooden art objects is described and discussed. MW heating time is reported in connection with lethal temperature of the pest and moisture content of the treated wooden object. The treatment was carried out using Microwood 12, especially conceived for portability, easy operation, and control. Microwood 12 consists of a switch mode high-voltage power supply and an industrial continuous wave magnetron connected to a rectangular-shaped horn antenna. The measure of temperature and control of operation is done via a built-in infrared thermometer.
Article
An incoming collection in the Collection Centre of the Amsterdam Museum was transported and treated against possible active pests in a freezer truck. This method turned out to be safe, quick, and cost-effective.
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Specimens from zoological collections play a pivotal role in improving scientific knowledge in many natural science disciplines. To guarantee an optimum state of conservation and ensure their usefulness, the preparation process employed is crucial. Skins and skeletons are key elements in vertebrate scientific collections and, ideally, are prepared from recently deceased animals; however, specimens are often stored in a frozen state for a long time (years) prior to preparation. Whether the duration of this frozen state has a deleterious effect on preparation quality has rarely been studied. The main objective of this study was thus to contribute towards research into zoological preparation by testing to see whether prolonged frozen storage hinders the preparation of bird skins and skeletons. We used the common buzzard (Buteo buteo) and the barn owl (Tyto alba) as biological models. Our results showed that long-term frozen storage led to weight loss, bone marrow acidification and solidification, and hampered skin preparation. The necropsy affected weight loss and decreased the skin tear resistance, probably due to tissue dehydration. Thus, prolonged frozen storage appears to have a harmful effect on the preparation quality of vertebrate specimens. Since frozen storage could ultimately have an impact on the conservation and scientific use of museum specimens, practices should be implemented to minimise the amount of time specimens are frozen or to mitigate any detrimental effects. More importance should be attached to research on zoological preparation since it is fundamental for optimising the quality, conservation status, and value of museum collections.
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Khapra beetle, Trogoderma granarium Everts, is one of the world's most important pests of stored grain. Common in Africa and Asia, it is a quarantine insect for much of the rest of the world where methyl bromide has traditionally been used for its control. However, this ozone-depleting fumigant is now heavily restricted, and alternate methods of control are required. In a two-step process, we examined the use of high-temperature exposure as one such method of control. First, different life stages were held at 45°C for different periods to calculate LT 50 (lethal time to 50% mortality) values. In descending order, the most heat-tolerant life stages at 45°C were diapausing larvae (LT 50 = 41-122 h) > nondiapausing larvae (LT 50 = 47 h) > adults (LT 50 = 33 h) > pupae (LT 50 = 25 h) > eggs (LT 50 = 10 h). Second, diapausing larvae (the most heat-tolerant stage) were held at 45, 50, 55, and 60°C for different periods to calculate LT 50 , LT 95 , LT 99 , and probit 9 (99.9968% mortality) values. Estimated LT 99 values for diapausing larvae were 288 h at 45°C, 6 h at 50°C, 1.1 h at 55°C, and 1 h at 60°C. Based on these results, an exposure of 2 h at 60°C is recommended to control T. granarium with high temperatures. To meet requirements for control of quarantine pests, exposure of between 2 and 12 h at 50-60°C is recommended to cause probit 9 mortality, but additional experiments are needed to get a better estimate of probit 9.
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