Museum Pests

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The adult firebrat (<i>Thermobia domestica</i>) is a small insect usually around 1 cm that prefers warm temperatures and high humidity.  They feed on a variety of carbohydrates and starches such as plant materials, paper goods, clothing and book bindings.
The adult firebrat (Thermobia domestica) is a small insect usually around 1 cm that prefers warm temperatures and high humidity. They feed on a variety of carbohydrates and starches such as plant materials, paper goods, clothing and book bindings.
The larval form of a carpet beetle (<i>Anthrenus verbasci</i>) is a small insect roughly 4-5 mm that prefer dark undisturbed areas. They are a common museum pest, feeding on organic materials and known to damage furniture, clothing, blankets, furs and carpets.
The larval form of a carpet beetle (Anthrenus verbasci) is a small insect roughly 4-5 mm that prefer dark undisturbed areas. They are a common museum pest, feeding on organic materials and known to damage furniture, clothing, blankets, furs and carpets.
The adult form of a carpet beetle (<i>Anthrenus verbasci</i>) is a small beetle roughly 2-4 mm that take one to three years to reach adulthood.  They emerge between May and August with a two week life expectancy during which they mate and lay eggs near organic materials.
The adult form of a carpet beetle (Anthrenus verbasci) is a small beetle roughly 2-4 mm that take one to three years to reach adulthood. They emerge between May and August with a two week life expectancy during which they mate and lay eggs near organic materials.
The adult psocoptera commonly referred to as booklice is an order of insects ranging from 1-10 mm dispersed across many environments and vary widely in shape and size.  They received their common name because they feed on the paste used in the bindings of old books.
The adult psocoptera commonly referred to as booklice is an order of insects ranging from 1-10 mm dispersed across many environments and vary widely in shape and size. They received their common name because they feed on the paste used in the bindings of old books.
The caterpillar form of the clothes moth (<i>Tineola bisselliella</i>) hatches nearly-microscopic and begins feeding immediately on many natural fibers but favors wool cloth most. It is considered a major pest and can cause considerable damage in caterpillar form which it remains as between one month to two years depending on environmental conditions.
The caterpillar form of the clothes moth (Tineola bisselliella) hatches nearly-microscopic and begins feeding immediately on many natural fibers but favors wool cloth most. It is considered a major pest and can cause considerable damage in caterpillar form which it remains as between one month to two years depending on environmental conditions.
The adult form of the clothes moth (<i>Tineola bisselliella</i>) emerges from a cocoon and prefer scuttling over surfaces to flying - some never fly. Adults live for 15-30 days during which they do not feed and only look to mate.
The adult form of the clothes moth (Tineola bisselliella) emerges from a cocoon and prefer scuttling over surfaces to flying - some never fly. Adults live for 15-30 days during which they do not feed and only look to mate.
The adult larder beetle (<i>Dermestes lardarius</i>) grow to 5-9 mm with an average life cycle of 40-50 days. Closely related to carpet beetles, they bore into wood and eat a wide variety of materials but thrive on dried skins, hides and other natural fibers.
The adult larder beetle (Dermestes lardarius) grow to 5-9 mm with an average life cycle of 40-50 days. Closely related to carpet beetles, they bore into wood and eat a wide variety of materials but thrive on dried skins, hides and other natural fibers.
The adult silverfish (<i>Lepisma saccharina</i>) is a  common insect found throughout the world that prefer moist, humid areas. Growing up to 2.5cm, they live between two and eight years and feed on starches including book bindings, plaster, some paints and paper as well as natural and synthetic fibers.
The adult silverfish (Lepisma saccharina) is a common insect found throughout the world that prefer moist, humid areas. Growing up to 2.5cm, they live between two and eight years and feed on starches including book bindings, plaster, some paints and paper as well as natural and synthetic fibers.

Museum collections have many complications to deal with; one of which is insect infestations. At the University of Missouri’s Anthropology Museum a variety of precautions are taken, from bug traps and routine sprayings to processing of all incoming artifacts in an isolated wetlap before entering the main collection. These images were made with aid of the Enns Entomology Museum and comprise common museum pests.