ASL: Public Library Chat #17, Integrated Pest Management Made Easy, June 16, 2015


ELLEN CARRLEE:
OK, so five after. I guess we’ll get started. This is a little talk for you
library folks about integrated pest management,
and I will start out by telling you what this
is and why we’re doing it. First, maybe I should
tell you that I’m a museum person and
not a library person, but I think that this is
probably relevant to libraries. The Alaska State
Museum where I work has been monitoring for
pests since about 1990, and we’ve started monitoring
for the Alaska State Library’s historical collections in 2007. And also we’ve been monitoring
at the state archives. So it used to be that there
were insect issues with museums that pesticides would
be used, or you’d have your moth balls or
naphthalene or those sorts of things. But those things make
our collections toxic, and they’re also toxins that
we as folks who work there and our patrons then
have to encounter. So museums took a cue from
the agriculture industry and started using what they
call integrated pest management. So with the acceptance that
you’re going to have bugs in your environment– and it’s
kind of a good thing that you do– we want to manage them. We want to keep track of who
they are and what they’re doing and if they’re a threat
to our collections or not. So what I mean by it’s
a good thing if you have bugs is if you don’t
have any resident insect populations at all
in your building, it means your building is toxic. And that’s not a healthy
environment for folks either. So with the Integrated
Pest Management program, we can, kind of, keep an eye on
what those resident populations are and intervene
if there are things that are not good for our
preservation environment. So this is the part in
the talk where I tell you what I’m going to tell you. So this is kind of our agenda
here for our talk here. There’s the prevention
element where we talk about housekeeping
and keeping insects out and not attracting them, and
if you are bringing collections related things, books
and whatnot, things that belong in your building
that might be infested, what you can do
to mitigate that. Keeping in mind
museums often have– or should I say, libraries
often have similar things to museums in that you
might have displays, loads of artwork, taxidermied
animals, wool in rugs, upholstered furniture,
all kinds of other things that you don’t want infested
besides your collections of books and scripts
and photographs and that sort of thing. So monitoring is, kind of, a
key part of the Integrated Pest Management system,
and I’m going to show you a little bit about the
blunder traps that we use, how to recognize signs of
an insect infestation, what some of the basic tests are,
and what the staff training and record-keeping
might sort of look like. And finally, if you
have an infestation, what’s the response to that? And generally speaking,
freezing and trapping are the most successful
sorts of responses to that. There is an article that
we’ve got in the Alaska State Museum’s bulletins from a couple
of years back called Integrated Pest Management Made Easy. So it’s a simple
straightforward article about what Integrated
Pest Management is. That’s in the Alaska
State Museum’s bulletin. There’s the link. I’ll show it to you again a
little bit later in the talk. But also if you just Google
Integrated Pest Management Made Easy, it was a very
popular posting, and it would come
up pretty readily. So on the prevention
end of things, what do we do to kind of keep
bugs out of our preservation environment? So housekeeping is
kind of a major thing, not only to keep all
those tasty crumbs and spilled drinks
and things that might attract the
pest out, but also to keep surfaces clean
so that we can see if we do have an infestation. Because bugs usually leave
debris and mice and squirrels and other unwanted pests. So housekeeping both
limits the attractants and helps us monitor for the
signs that they might be there. So generally keeping food and
drinking in controlled areas is really one of the key
things to controlling that particular part
of the attractants. Sealing ingress is a thing that
helps quite a lot actually. Here’s an image of a pipe going
through a cinder block wall, and you can sort of
see the next room where a mouse got into
our collections room. And that was kind
of the ingress where we knew the mice were getting
into our collections room. So sealing those
sorts of things up. Removing attractants, aside
from just food and drink, there’s also I hate
to say it but plants are really attractive to pests. And there is a
government agency in Geno that had an issue with
large potted plants being nesting ground for
mice, and insects also really like the nutrients
and the moisture that’s in with plants. So the insects that
come in on plants aren’t always the
heritage eaters, but they can be food sources
for some of the insects that are the heritage eaters. So plants and
attractants like food are hard things to be
keeping an eye on and being concerned about. The isolation quarantine or
preemptive freezing aspect of prevention is something
that museums do a lot, but I think might be slightly
different for libraries and collections that have like
circulating sorts of things. So isolation and quarantine,
I mean, you’re not sure if it’s got an infestation,
so you’re keeping it away from your other collections
until you can make sure that it is safe. For example, with museums
if we have something too large to get preemptively
frozen in our freezer, we put it in a big bag and seal
it up and keep an eye on it for a month or so to see if
we get a hatch out or see if we see signs of infestation. So that’s kind of what I
mean by like the isolation and quarantine. There’s also the kind of
question of cats and dogs, which there are some museums and
some libraries in Alaska that do have cats and dogs. And there are some aspects of
merit to having them around, but it’s actually not
a compatible thing with the preservation
environment, partly because of the issues
of a living creature having dirt and mud and fur and dander
and those sorts of things. The accidents can happen if
they did decide to spray. Or if they’re ill,
those kinds of messes can often be in hidden
areas and attracts more insects and problems. You have your patrons
who have allergies to those sorts of things. And then you have
the awkwardness of interpersonal relationships. Some people want pets
in the spaces and others don’t, especially if
you’ve got hierarchies of supervision and whatnot. So cats and dogs
generally are not compatible with library and
museum environments in general, but particularly not compatible
with the preservation environment. And monitoring, this is the
last of the really boring slide, because then we’ll get
into stuff like that. Which I’m going to tell
you about that in a minute. I think that’s an
exciting slide. So monitoring is how we’re
keeping an eye on what our resident populations are. So these little
blunder traps are going to catch insects before
we can really see them visually. Because most insects that
you would see walking around in the middle of
the room are only out in the middle of the
road, because they’re sick and they’re about to die. Insects really don’t want
to be seen particularly. They like being in crevices
and corners and dark places. So monitoring allows
you to know who’s there. Monitoring also
catches a wide range of species who have
different habits. Some might be out at night. Some of them might
crawl or fly or whatnot. And these little
blunder traps can monitor areas that are
difficult to inspect, otherwise like behind cabinets or under
tables, that sort of thing. The traps allow you to
keep data kind of metrics on which insects you have and
how many of them over time and tell you if you’ve got
an increase of certain pest numbers in certain
locations in your space. And one of the most
compelling reasons to keep these kinds
of blunder traps is the environmental hints
it gives you besides just if you have an infestation. They can tell you if you
have other things going on with your building, which
I’ll get to in a minute. And if you are trying to
get rid of an infestation, this is how you know
whether it’s working or not. Because you continue to
monitor the population. OK, that was a
really boring slide. Now we’re going to go on to
some more interesting things. This is what these
blunder traps look like. So they come flat and
they’re perforated. And you fold them in
this neat old triangle, and the inside surface
is very sticky. I have a long ponytail,
and it’s terrible if you get your
ponytail in this trap. You’ll see in the corner
I’ve got a number seven. I have the traps
numbered sequentially throughout the
building, and I keep putting them all in exactly
the same spot time after time. I have the date and
the location on them, and I collect them once
every three months. So 4 times a year I’m
monitoring the population. This website that
I’ve got listed here for Insect’s Limited is
where we buy these traps, and you can get a box
of hundred of them. They come three together
with perforates between them. So that’s basically
300 traps for $67, which with shipping comes
out to around $0.25 a trap. Right now I’m monitoring
insect populations in five or six buildings. So I probably look at 350
year 400 traps quarterly, and it takes me maybe
a day to do that. So I would imagine most you have
a much more modest monitoring situation if you decide to have
one of these Integrated Pest Management Systems. This is one of those clues
to environmental conditions. Here’s the trap that we
had sitting in a corner, and it got soaking wet. So this is a soggy, wet trap. And so it’s indicating
that we had a water issue in a part of
our building we’re not expecting to have water. So that kind of thing can be
a useful hint about what’s going on in your building. This is the pest chart for
the Sheldon Jackson Museum down in Sitka. This is what our
monitoring looks like. So this is the chart that I
fill out for this building four times a year. You’ll see down on the bottom
there’s a map of the museum and the office area
and the storage area, and the blue dots are where
we’re placing the traps. So you can see they’re
right next to doors, and they’re fairly evenly
distributed through the museum. It’s delicate to
put them in a spot that they’re going to be
catching insects and monitoring populations reliably but
not be picked up by pigeons and discarded or stepped on or
crushed, that sort of thing. So in corners, behind
doors, under desks, those tend to be good places to set
up these little monitoring stations. And you’ll see the chart that
I have shows the date that I set the trap, which
number trap it is, the location, the
date that I picked it up, the kind of trap. And then there’s the
section that I have listed what kind of bug and how many? And then this happened to be one
that Scott Carrlee filled out, the monitoring trap. So I keep these
and fill them out, and I kind of figure out who
our resident populations are. And if I see some bug
that’s a heritage eater or something suspicious
when I print this out I’ll circle it in red. And I’ll keep an eye out
for it the next round to see if it’s something
that just came in on a patron and is a one off
thing or if I actually have some sort of strange
infestation going on. So Julie just asking me here
what is a heritage eater. And that’s just
kind of what we’re talking about in
terms of bugs that are a threat to our collection. So these generally fall
in two major categories. You’ve got your bugs that
eat like plant materials, and you’ve got your
bugs that eat proteins. So there are some bugs that
eat all kinds of things, but generally they fall in
one of those two categories. And a little bit later on
we’ll get into the details of who some of those guys are. Here’s some insect
debris, some signs that you might have an insect. And you’ll see you’ve got
a number two pencil here for scale, because
I think it’s really helpful to know what the size
is for some of this stuff. Now to your left you going
to see this pile of it looks like sawdust or
sand or just this– how would you even know? It just looks like dirt. Well, this is frass, which
is the technical name for insect droppings. And the way that you
tell insect droppings from just sand or
sawdust or whatnot is that they’re tiny
little round pellets. And you can’t really see very
easily that they’re round. But if you have them
on a piece of paper and you tilt the
piece of paper, they will roll like
little tiny balls. So they’ll roll
all over the place. So you’ll see they’re
very uniform in size, and they’ll roll when you
tilt them on a piece of paper. So that’s one sign
of insect debris. To the right of
the pencil, you’ll see these little casings. So when insect larva grow,
they shed their skins. And these are shed
larval casings and a few little dead larva too. And then far to
the right, you’ll see these tiny little cocoons. There’s two different
kinds of clothes moths that we’re worried about
in our collections. They’re mostly protein eaters. They eat wool and
feathers and fur, so mostly we see them in
like fur parkas and mukluks. We see them in bead work
that’s on wool felts. We see it– we see them a
lot on dolls, sometimes rugs, wool rugs, that kind of thing. So that’s kind of some of the
signs that we’re looking for. Here’s a pair of mittens in
the Shelton Jackson Museum collection, and I show
you this general picture do you’ll, kind of, see that
we’ve got two mitts here and it won’t be so confusing
when I show you the close up. So here’s kind of a close up
and, sort of, to the right you can see brown fur– patchy brown fur. It’s, kind of, like
the hairs are, sort of, all pointing downwards. You can see where
a lot of that’s just been grazed right off. And on the left mitt,
you’ll see that it’s been grazed all the
way down to the skin, and there’s even holes eaten in
the skin, the sort of irregular eating through. This is definitely insect damage
and a protein eating insect. You’ll also see on the red
trim there’s some little holes and some raggedy edges. That’s also insect damage
from a protein eating insect. And then on the
black part, you’ll see those kind of
white residues. Those are areas where those
cocoons have peeled off, and so the cocoons are kind
of stuck to the surface. So that’s, kind
of, classic clothes moth infestation evidence. That’s, sort of,
what it looks like. Here’s an example of silverfish
attacking collections items. So we’ve got a
photograph that has, kind of, big scratch down it,
which might either be a scratch or it might be
grazing by an insect. It’s hard to tell
from this image. I didn’t see the object exactly. But the board that
it’s mounted to used to be all this white color. But it probably had a
starch in the coating, like a glaze on
it, and silverfish have eaten through that and
exposed kind of the browner cardboard beneath. So this has been really
heavily attacked by silverfish. Again, the things in common
between this and the image previous– let’s see if we can
go back to that one– is kind of these bare
patches with irregular edges. That’s really a big
indicator of insect damage. This image here is the
underside of a wooden canoe at the Sheldon Jackson Museum. And you see all
these little holes? These are flight holes
from wood-boring insects. Now the Sheldon Jackson
Museum collection came into the states museum
system back in the 80s. Back when it was part of
the Sheldon Jackson College, it had a major wood-boring
insect infestation in the 60s or the
70s, and they required like three or four
rounds of pesticides to treat this infestation. So there’s a lot of things that
are made of wood in the Sheldon Jackson collection that have
these kinds of holes in them. And the frass that I mentioned–
those tiny little pellet-like droppings– they just comes
right out of these holes. If you take wooden objects
in the Sheldon Jackson Museum and then you tilt them
around, that kind of stuff falls out of the holes. So this is what, kind of,
wood-boring insect infestation looks like. If you see lots of little
holes near each other, this is kind of a sign that. So Julie’s just checking to see
if everybody can still hear OK. My little talk
button says we’re on. Hooray. Thanks, Andy, we
appreciate that. So moving on to the next image. So the article that
I mentioned earlier, I wanted to give a sense of
the scale and some pictures in that article. And so we, kind of, came up
with this dime and this kind of bug clothe so you know
what the different bugs are at different points around
the dime, sort of, for scale. So this one is sort of the
bad bugs, the heritage eaters so to speak. And the one up top there at
12 o’clock is a hide beetle. It’s a protein eater. And the two little ones
at 1 o’clock and 2 o’clock are also small protein eaters. The one o’clock is a cigarette
beetle and 2 o’clock’s a drugstore beetle. The one at 3 o’clock is called
a confused flower beetle. And that’s not a
major heritage eater. It’s more of a grain
and cereal eater, but we see those
occasionally in museums and often associated with
things like granola bars that people bring
into the museum. After that we’ve got a skinny
little guy at 4 o’clock, the sawtooth grain
beetle– another bug that might eat certain
things like if you’ve an herbarium like we do, like
plant specimen collection. But mostly coming in
in people’s lunches. The little guy with the orange
on his back is a carpet beetle. That’s another wool,
protein, fur eater. And at six o’clock
that’s what the baby version, the larval
version looks like, that real hairy little larva. That’s a larval version
of the carpet beetle. At 7 o’clock we’ve
got a different kind of a carpet beetle called
the varied carpet beetle. You’ll, sort of, see
that these beetles are kind of similar
sizes and pretty small. The next one at that
would be 8 o’clock is kind of a classic
domestic beetle. This is the kind of beetle
that natural history museums will keep to clean
skeletons, because they’re so effective at eating proteins. Yes. And then at 9 o’clock
we’ve got a larger beetles, which is another protein eater. An example of your
webbing clothes moth there is that
kind of beige one. And it’s I like to think of
the button like if you’ve got a button down shirt
and the button on the cuff of your shirt is a
pretty small button, and that’s kind of around
the size of what that clothes moth is going to be. So if you see, kind
of, a bigger moth flying around in your
house, like the kind that likes to be outside your screen
door, that’s not one of our web and clothes moths. Web and clothes moths
are really pretty small compared to the kind of moths
we see flying around the lights outside and that kind of thing. And then finally the kind
of brown, shiny globular guy is called the spider
beetle, and that’s kind of another protein eater. So those are some of
the bad ones that we see most commonly in Alaska. And then here’s some of these
that are kind of OK bugs that you’re much more
likely to see on your traps and that tell you a little bit
more about your environment. They’re not likely to be
eating your collections, but it’s good to
know who they are. So I’m going to start out with
1 and 2 o’clock, of course, are spiders that are
kind of curled up. And spiders are easy
for people to identify, and the only tricky
thing is sometimes a spiders head will
pop off in the trap and the size and shape
of the spider’s head will be very much like some
of the very small bad beetles. So I scared myself a few
times by the beheaded spider. Some of the spiders
are also kind of fuzzy. Which if the spider
gets in your trap and gets out again,
you can sometimes see fuzz like gray hairs in
your trap, which sometimes also happens if a mouse
starts to get into a trap and gets away again. Sometimes you have some
fur in your trap that way. 3 o’clock over here are
minute scavenger beetles. They’re really tiny, and
they’re on a piece of tape here, and they look a little
bit like booklice. We’ll get a little bit into
booklice in a little bit. But very tiny. Some of the tiniest
bugs we’re going to see. After that we’ve got a weevil,
and he’s, kind of, not really showing his most
attractive side, which is the
elephant-like, nose-like– a weevil has a really
long nose-like element. So they’re not too
hard to distinguish. The little wings guy at 5
o’clock is a carpenter beetle– I mean, a carpenter ant. And a lot of Alaskans have
issues with carpenter ants. And the good news
about carpenter ants is that they’re
not like termites. They’re not eating sound wood. Carpenter ants are only
eating through rotten wood to make nice moist nesting
environments for their eggs. So a carpenter ant is,
kind of, doing you a favor and telling you, you
have rotten wood. It’s not actually
attacking sound wood. Down at the bottom center
there at 6 o’clock, we just got your
typical icky housefly. After the housefly, we
have the picnic ants. Which we had a bit of an issue
with picnic ants a while back. And a couple of what they call
sowbugs or rollie pollies, those little bugs that you
often see under your doormats or areas that are really damp
in basements and whatnot. And then at 10,
11, and 12, we’ve got just common ground beetles. Sometimes they’re called
carobids or fungus beetles. And they’re mostly eating
the leaves that are outside, and they’re coming
inside by accident. So here’s some of
the typical pests that you might still be
seeing in traps if you start a monitoring system. This is a trap that I saved and
I put in like a sandwich bag. So that’s why it’s less shiny
and plasticky on the top. But this is a classic
example of a trap full of gnats, little tiny
flying insects in, kind of, large numbers. If you see this in your traps,
basically, what’s happening is you’ve got
rotted leaf matter, organic matter clogging up
your gutters on your roof. And these bugs are hatching out
of that rotting organic matter and getting into the vents of
your building and, kind of, coming in little clouds
as they’re hatching out. So whenever I see this I
say to our maintenance folks we need to check the roof,
because our roof is going to start to flood pretty soon. And this was pretty consistent
at the old Alaska State Museum that had a flat roof. We would start to get
big puddles on the roof when the drains were
clogged, and then we’d start getting leaks. So this is one of those examples
of how a monitoring system can tell you what’s going
on with your building, in addition to
tell you what might be threatening your collection. Here is one of the less
disgusting images of our ant infestation. Aren’t you glad it’s after
lunch and not before lunch. So this was very
unusual that we had a combination of picnic ants
and carpenter ants together. We knew for quite
some time that we had an issue with picnic ants,
which are the littler ones that don’t have the wings,
because someone spilled punch during a reception. And they cleaned it
up, but they were unable to move the
big heavy printer. And there was a puddle of
sticky punch under the printer, and the ants found it
and started to come in. So we had kind of an
ant issue for awhile, which ants are not going
to eat your collection. They’re not going to
bite you, and they’re not hazardous or whatever. But they’re, kind of, icky. Like, nobody really likes
to have ants in their house, and patrons don’t really like
to see ants crawling around and whatnot. So it’s nice not to have them. But then we started seeing
these ones with the wings, which are carpenter ants. And both of these in huge
numbers in our kid’s room. They were kind of
coming out of a hole in the top of this
cabinetry area and just swarming like
Alfred Hitchcock style. It was quite disturbing,
huge numbers. I’m not squeamish, but
it gives me goosebumps to remember this incident. But what was going
on was that there was a nest of carpenter
ants in the insulation around our drains. So it was a nice
moist environment rather like rotted wood. And we knew something was
going on ahead of time, because this is what our
traps were looking like. We were seeing all kinds of ants
and a whole bunch of chewed up material in our traps. So we were able to
look at our maps and see where these traps
were showing up, and it all– it located in three different
levels of the building all in the same corner, which
is what narrowed it down to that drain pipe. And we were able to figure
out that there were also some trees outside the
building in that location that were probably housing
this infestation. And what had happened was when
a colony of carpenter ants gets big enough,
they grow wings. And they go to the highest
spot they can and jump off, and they start trying
to find new colonies. And so that’s what was going on. They were all going to
the top of this drain area and trying to go out into the
world and find new colonies, but instead they were all
coming out into our kid’s room and making a crazy mess. So that was one of
those situations where the infestation
just ran its course. They did that for like
a day, and we vacuum up huge quantities of them. And we called in an
expert who knew about ants and said that the carpenter
ants and the picnic ants generally don’t live in
the same place together. So that was really
quite unusual. And for a while we
considered covering the drain with plexiglas and
turning it into an exhibit and calling it the peace ants. But we just ended up vacuuming
them up and cleaning up the mess. When we’re trying to figure
out what to do about insects, we really need to
identify who they are. And so there’s these
various charts and aids on the internet that talk
about the different body parts. And usually it comes down to how
readily can you see their head and do they have wings and
how big are their antenna and do they have
little segments. And some of that sort of stuff. So some of that
stuff can be handy. But if I end up with a bugs
that I really can’t figure out what it is and I can’t figure
it out from the internet, there are people in
Alaska, entomologist, bug experts with the Forest
Service and in your local area that are probably pretty
good at identifying who your local critters are. So your response when
you have an infestation aside from our ant situation
where we just vacuumed them up and understood
what was going on and moved forward from
there, the response usually for what we do is we freeze. We bag up the materials
that are causing trouble, and we freeze them. And the freezing protocols
are a little specific, and I’ll go into
that in a second. Chemicals are, kind
of, another option, but the whole point of
Integrated Pest Management is to get away from chemicals. But there are certain
chemicals that are useful. Boric acid is one of them. I mean, it sounds
horrifying, boric acid. But it’s just kind of a more
finely ground and pure form of Borax, which we use
already in laundry detergent and what not. And it’s not particularly
toxic to us or pets or whatnot. But it does mess
up the metabolism and the internal
functioning of insects. So that’s one of the
things we tend to use. If you have silverfish
and you put out the little what they call dekko traps– D-E-K-K-O– dekko traps are
just full of boric acid. And they eat their way into
their and they get at it, and they– and they just die. So there’s a few chemicals that
are more inert that we do use. Traps that are like
snap traps or live traps for bigger critters, that’s
kind of another option. And these other three options
are a little more specialized. Anoxic means you’re putting
them in a special environment and taking all the oxygen out in
order to suffocate the insects. Generally speaking,
I’ve only seen that on things like very
expensive, very large paintings that have an infestation. And like maybe it’s a medieval
panel painting or something like that. Anoxic treatments are
sometimes used in that case. Heat is sometimes used in
libraries and museums that are in warm climates, tropical
places with really low budgets. So sometimes you’ll see
museums and libraries putting things in a
black plastic trash bag and sealing it up and
leaving it out in the sun. For example, this is a very
low-tech emergency response to pests. Of course, heating things is,
sort of, artificially aging. So we tend to prefer freezing
over heating and lowering relative humidity. Often, there are insects,
particularly the booklice and the silverfish
and those kinds of bugs, that really like
moist high relative humidity situation. So if you can bring down the
humidity in your environment, it’s going to really
slow down the life cycles of those kinds of insects. This is an intimidating
looking chart, but basically all it’s
saying is the temperature you need to kill off the bugs. So each little dot on that chart
above the big white curved line represents a stage in an insect
life cycle for our heritage eaters, so either the egg or
the larva or the adult insect. And often adults
are killed much, much more easily than say
eggs, which have some ability to overwinter or whatnot. So one side of the chart shows
the temperature in Celsius and the other shows
it in Fahrenheit. And you can see that
right around five days or so if you get the
temperature cold enough, you can be killing off all the
different parts of the insects lifecycle. So we have a tissue
freezer of– sort of, a scientific freezer at
the Alaska State Museum that goes down to
negative 30 Celsius. And so we can put anything
in there for like five days and be sure that we
eradicated any infestation. But if you had just
a regular chest freezer or the kind of freezer
that’s on your fridge, like, the kind that you can
buy at Home Depot, some of those freezers
are frost free, which means they cycle
back and forth between what we would consider a
lethal temperature and not lethal temperature. And some insects
have the ability to make anti-freeze
in their bodies, and so we would want to not
just put it through one cycle and be concerned that they
might be able to survive that. We put them through one
freezing cycle of maybe a week and take the bag out
for a day or two. And then after the
insects, kind of, potentially start to
wake up, we stick it back in the freezer for a week. So kind of that one,
two punch of two cycles will pretty much take care
of anything in any freezer. Takes a little bit
more time, but it’s more effective and cheaper
than buying, sort of, a tissue freezer that goes down
to the really low temperature. It’s important– I will
point out with this image– to bag up anything that
goes in the freezer. Because when you
take something really cold out of the
freezer again, it’s going to get condensation
on the outside. So you see my finger
wiping the condensation on the outside of
this plastic bag? If you seal something
up in a plastic bag, that condensation from
being cold in the freezer will happen on the
outside of the bag and it won’t happen on
your fur coat or your book or your photograph or whatnot. So bagging it up is the
other kind of important part. This, kind of,
freezing protocol is described in the article
I sent, but you’re perfectly welcome to call us
if you come upon an infestation and you want to talk
in detail about how to address it with a freezer. Here’s a snap trap. A lot of folks don’t
know that a snap trap is most affective
if you position it in this orientation
against the wall. And that has to do
with the habits of mice and how they like
to skitter right along the edge of
the wall there. So loading with peanut
butter or cheese whiz is generally what we do I have a
friend who swears by pine nuts, but doggone I’m not going
to give our mice pine nuts. They can– sometimes I’ve
heard of people putting two of these traps side by
side really closely in case a mouse wants to hop over one. Sometimes you’ll see
people using glue traps, although glue traps are a
little harder to stomach. It’s one thing to have a snap
trap that instantly kills it. It’s another thing to come
across a suffering tiny animal. So I’m more in favor snap
traps than glue traps. And the times that I
have done glue traps, it’s because I
have mice that are too smart for the snap traps. And when I do glue traps,
I tend to check them several times a day,
last thing at night, first thing in the morning. So as soon as I find a suffering
creature, I bag it and take– put it out of its
misery as soon as I can. So at this point, I think
maybe I’ll take a break and see if anybody has
any questions about this. And here’s my email
and that link again. And if we have some questions
or maybe some stories of anybody who’s had specific problems at
libraries, after a little bit we can go in and look
a little bit more specifically at individual bugs. We’ll go on to introduce you
to a few of the bugs then. Oh, a question, oh good. This is great information. [INAUDIBLE] Sneaky mice, yeah, so
I’ve had more trouble with my in my house than I
have actually at the museum. And like I said, we’ve
used both the sticky traps and the snap traps. And like my friend with
the pine nuts said, sometimes changing
up the bait helps. And the little gob
of peanut butter or the little gob of cheese
whiz if it’s eaten off and your trap isn’t sprung,
that might be an indicator that you’ve got a
pretty smart mouse or that you’re not setting the
snap trap sensitively enough. Of course, it’s kind of nerve
wracking to set mousetraps, because if they
snap in your hands, they like scared the
bejesus out of you. But there you go. AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE] ELLEN CARRLEE: Yeah, shrews,
voles, mice, they do come in and they do cause trouble. I think– mice I
think tend to– this is my own personal opinion–
tend to look for nests and, like, look for a
home inside more than I think shrews and voles do. Yeah, we did have an incident
where we caught a vole– I think it was a vole. Maybe it was a shrew. It was very fat. I’m not sure what it. But it was in one of the
doors of our kitchen, and we pulled out
the whole drawer and we put our cutting
board on top with it and drove it up the road and
dumped it out on the beach. I wouldn’t say that’s my
first choice for pest control, but capturing it live in your
kitchen drawer is an option. So what I’ve got in this
image is the booklouse, which is, oh, I would
say two or three times the size of the period
at the end of a sentence. They’re really tiny. But if you get out
a magnifying glass, I think the most notable things
is they’re kind of translucent and they have this really
big chubby looking nose. They’re a little
bit Muppet-like. And they’re not– they’re, kind
of, considered a nuisance pest, but in large enough
numbers, they are in books and book
bindings and paper things. I know that the
Alaska State Library’s historical collections has
some in the archives where the archive store
system has quite a few. And you can really
tell them because they are too tiny to get very
far under the traps, but they’ll be on edge of your
little sticky traps and cements in large numbers. They really like high
relative humidity, because they really like those
microscopic molds and starches and that sort of stuff. And almost all bugs
like high humidity, because they need humidity
for their life cycle. And they will go
through their life cycle a lot faster with high humidity. So there’s the booklouse. There’s kind of a lousy image
of a silverfish on a trap, but I’m assuming folks have
all kind of seen silverfish. The kind of long
and skinny and they have big antennae-like
sorts of things. And they’re much more
damaging than the booklice. They can do that damage like we
saw in the photograph, grazing surfaces off of things,
glues and starches and that sort of stuff. And they will also kind
of go after some textiles, often grazing on
the surface making this kind of abraded look
on the surfaces of things. But as I mentioned before,
these dekko packs– D-E-K-K-O. You can buy them from
Amazon.com or Insect’s Limited, and they’re pretty effective. I think the historical
library here had more silverfish
than they wanted once, and they got the dekko packs,
they had very little issue with them after that. They’re very active. This is one of those
cigarette beetles. These little beetles, the
cigarette beetles, the carpet beetles, the drugstore
beetles, they’re all kind of the
same size and shape. And they are a little difficult
to distinguish from each other. So any time I see small
little oval beetles like this, I get a little nervous. Thankfully, I don’t
see them very often, but they are just the size
and shape to be worried about. So you’ll see the– I think that’s an and an adult
and then a curled up larva. Here’s sort of a
warehouse beetle, which is kind of a similar size. You see the larva
are a little bigger, and they are also eating
books and plant matter and that sort of thing. It’s the drugstore beetle. So this image and
a lot of the times that you see images
where they’re kind of showing them
FBI most wanted style, they’ll kind of have
them sticking out there and antennaes and
sticking out their legs and looking a little
bit more like you’re Egyptian scarab than what
they really show up as. So when they’re
really showing up, their legs are tucked under. Then their heads are a
little bit tucked down. You don’t always see
their antennas real well. They’re kind of this
shiny little brown oval. Here’s a deathwatch beetle– again, another beetle
that’s potentially going after woody
and papery materials. The larder beetle is a little
bit bigger, and in the path, kind of, lighter colored
patch over its shoulders is pretty distinctive. So that’s a pretty good sign. This is one of those
protein eaters, so this is something
who would eat taxidermy and fur and
feathers and leather and wool and anything that’s
a protein, like, something that had once
been an animal essentially. Same thing with this guy,
the black carpet beetle. Some materials, like
corn and baleen and hair, what they call the
hard carotenes, those are a little
bit less tasty to insects than some
of the softer proteins. But I have seen infestations
in baleen baskets and things like that too. He’s another one of
those little beetles that’s a protein eater,
the varied carpet beetle. Spider beetles are ones that can
be attacking your collections, and I’ve probably seen
this particular bug more than a lot of
these other bugs partly because they
come in from outside. So they’ll be active somewhere
outside your building, and they can get in and
get in enough numbers that you’re
concerned about them. So we saw these in
the historical library here in Juno, in the
archives in Juno, and in the city museum in Juno. And because I had seen
them in those three traps and the same
time of year, it made me think that
it wasn’t necessarily infestations in collections. But since we’re all around the
telephone hill area of Juno, made me think that telephone
hill had something outdoors. And so we sealed up that crack
between the floor and the wall all around the storage of the
archives with a good sealer, and that completely
got rid of the issue at the archives building. So they’re not one that
we want them around. Furniture beetle, this is
kind of like the sort that would be infesting obviously
furniture and picture frames and wooden artifacts,
canoes, kayak frames. There’s a lot of libraries
that have kayak frames hanging from the ceiling. Powderpost beetle was the one
that the Sheldon Jackson Museum had a problem with making the
little tiny holes in brass and things. This kind of makes this
indication that the beetle like kind of hardwoods,
kind of good quality woods, furniture sorts of woods more
than conifers and soft woods. So fir and spruce and
those kinds of woods are not as often attacked
by the powderpost beetle. Here’s our little clothes moth. So this is the one that I
showed you on the mitts. So a pretty tiny little guy
with the edges of his wings are really kind of raggedy
looking and pale wings. So pale wings– sometimes pale
spotted wings, raggedy ends of the wings, and
the little moths that are about the size of a
button on the cuff of a button down shirt. These are protein eaters, and
of course, they especially like wool clothes. If you’ve got wool rugs, though,
that’s kind of another place. Like if you have a wool rug that
you can just flip over and look under the edge,
that’s a, kind of, a spot to look for
an infestation. Oh, the– right like the cedar. Cedar has natural oils in
it that repel most insects, and I think that’s
part of the reason that they use cedar trees and
whatnot to make totem poles out of and all kinds
of other things, because it is
naturally repellent. And that’s not a bad thing to
have around if you want to– as kind of a more natural
repellent sort of thing. This is the case-making
clothes moth, which is very similar
in size and behavior to the webbing clothes moth. So I think you’re fine
just saying clothes moth, and I’ve seen both of these in– often in museum collections. Usually we catch them when they
come in, and we get rid of them before they get going. Or we see evidence
of them on things. Like the infestation
is over, but we see the little
cocoons and the frass and the little webby bits. Yeah, that’s pretty common. And like I said, you see this
on taxidermy dolls, beaded, wool things, that sort of
thing, ethnographic collections particularly common. And then back to
our not so scary. These guys can be really big. They could be as
big as your thumb, and so you see one of these
guys and you’re like holy cow. But they’re totally
harmless, and they really don’t want to be
in your building. And if you find one,
they’re probably confused and almost dead anyway. Sometimes they can
be a little smaller, or you can get these little
tooth-necked fungus beetles. And tooth-necked means that
kind of middle section, sort of, their shoulder section has kind
of these little bumps on it. That’s why they’re tooth-necked. So they don’t really want to
be in your building either. They’re mostly eating fungus. But if you do have a lot
of them in your building, it might indicate
that you’ve got, like, things that are molding
and that sort of thing. Here you’ve got spring tails. And spring tails have this cool
little thing on their rear end that’s a little bit hard to see. It just a little spike that like
makes them bounce, ping, ping, up in the air. And generally if
you see one, you see him in pretty large numbers. And again, they’re the
ones that can’t really get very far onto your
trap, so you’ll see them along the edges of your traps. And even with the bare eye,
you can distinguish these guys from the booklice. Because these guys are kind
of pointed and more angular looking, and the booklice
are kind of rounder and more Muppet-like, like with
their little rounded noses and whatnot. These guys really like
moisture and mold and– like if you have condensation
on your Windows all winter long and you get that green
scum towards the bottom of your windows, they eat that. So it’s not a
creature that’s going to be eating your
collections, but it’s really interested in
mold and high moisture. So it means that you’ve
dampness somewhere. So with this guy and with
the guy after it, the sowbugs and pill bugs. If I see these bugs that I
know really like moisture and I see them
somewhere I expect moisture like near the
doors or in the basement or under the door mats, so if
I see them in those places, I’m like, yeah, whatever. That’s kind of where
they’re going to be. But if I saw them say in
the middle of the reading room, in my collections
area, in the museum gallery, I would really worry
that there was a leak. Like maybe there was a leak
soaking into the carpeting slowly quietly somewhere that
was creating a high moisture situation and some mold. So these guys are not
going to cause trouble. But if they’re where I
don’t expect them to be, then I’m starting to look
for a building problem. And I think– I think that’s my last slide. So if anybody has
any questions, I am happy to entertain
them now, or you’re very welcome to email me too. AUDIENCE: So Ellen. ELLEN CARRLEE: Yeah? AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE]
they’re going to have a new library [INAUDIBLE]. ELLEN CARRLEE: For
the new library. Well, we just got a new storage
facility for the museum, and we set up little
traps around and whatnot and started monitoring it. And it was probably a
good five or six months before we really started
getting a sense of what our populations were. But something that I have heard
is that construction sites are really dirty places,
and often construction sites if they’re not very
well controlled have mice and all kinds
of other critters. And so I think
right away if you’re going to move in collections
and kind of settle in, it wouldn’t hurt to have a
few of these little monitors out to make sure
you don’t have mice and to kind of get a sense
of what your resident populations are. So I find it helpful just to
have a floor map of the space and to lay some– to put some out and– I tend to leave them
out for three months. And the reason that
I do that duration is because that’s a
reasonable amount of time to catch an infestation
before it goes too far. And you know I guess not having
presented about museums– or about libraries before but
mostly about museums, like, if you get some of
those protein eaters on a piece of taxidermy
or on some fur mitts or something like that,
they can really go to town and do a huge amount
of damage really fast. It might be that like
libraries if they don’t have those
kinds of collections might want to check three
times a year instead. But another thing that
happens is sometimes traps get kicked or crushed or
lost, and that’s all lost data. So in order to find out that
you’ve lost a trap or a trap’s gotten soak and wet or
isn’t working anymore, like checking them every
three months is kind of nice. And another thing with checking
your traps more frequently is that once theirs
insects on those traps, those are food sources
for other insects. And other insects will come
and eat insects off that trap or lay eggs and insects on that
trap or that sort of thing. So you start getting these
little tiny microsystems going on your trap. So in order to get your
data in a timely matter and be able to respond to it,
three or four times a year is probably optimal. Yeah. AUDIENCE: Well,
thank you, Ellen. [INAUDIBLE] ELLEN CARRLEE: Yeah,
well thanks for joining, and you can find
me on the internet. The Alaska State Museum
and it’s probably at the libraries
in the archives, we have an outreach mandate to
provide advice and expertise statewide. And museums call
us all the time, and there’s no
good reason why you couldn’t get in touch to if
you wanted to get this going. All right, Beth, cool. Well, let me know if
you have any questions. I’m more than happy to help.

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