Developing resources on Integrated Pest Management for museums, and other collection holding institutions.
Better pest management doesn’t mean more chemicals.
In the past, pest management in museums and other collection holding institutions often involved regular applications of toxic chemicals to collection areas and actual collections. Health and safety concerns have led institutions to move away from this approach in favor of preventive and protective measures that are not based on chemicals. This strategy involves numerous measures used in combination and is commonly termed “integrated pest management” or IPM.
This site presents information on invertebrate, vertebrate, and mold pests in museum, library, and archival collections as well as historic structures. Content is organized into six sections. The first four comprise the main elements of an IPM program.
This site is divided into four main sections (prevention, monitoring, identification, treatment) expanding on the main elements listed above which are necessary in developing, implementing and managing an IPM plan for your institution – whatever your collection type. Each element is explained with detailed information, samples of documents and forms from museums, and links that you can follow to access even more resources. The Resources section of the site offers a compilation of many of the site’s commonly used tools and links.
Using the Site
The easiest way to access the many resources on the site is to use the Search feature located at the top of each page. Search results will include resources from throughout the site related to your search topic.
This site is brought to you as a service of the Integrated Pest Management Working Group, a group of collection managers, conservators, entomologists and other professionals interested in issues surrounding the implementation of integrated pest management in museums, libraries & archives, and other collection-holding institutions.
The goal of the group is to promote and facilitate good IPM practices by collaborating in the development and on-line distribution of training materials and other resources. For more on our group and how to join please click here.
The term Integrated Pest Management was first used in agriculture beginning in the 1970’s in response to growing knowledge about the negative side-effects of pesticide overuse. The approach emphasized the integration of pest biology and cultural practices in controlling insect pests in crops.
The first literature on IPM in non-agricultural settings came in the early 1980’s with publications by H. and W. Olkowski (founders of the Bio-Integral Resource Center – BIRC) including a training manual written for the National Park Service. The term was used soon after in museums as a replacement for the previous term “pest control”. New ways of dealing with pests were promoted partly by the withdrawal of many common chemicals from use, as well as general trends in health and safety. In cultural institutions the term IPM also indicated the need to expand the pool of alternative control methods by “integrating” pest management into collection care practices.
Although “IPM” represents a specific strategy, it is often used more loosely to describe modern trends that promote any measures other than the use of pesticides and toxic fumigant gases.
NEW - MuseumPests 2014: Integrated Pest Management for museums, libraries, archives and historic sites
Colonial Williamsburg, Williamsburg, Virginia USA, March 27-28, 2014
MuseumPests.net goes live at Colonial Williamsburg! After 10 years of creating online IPM resources for the museum, library/archive and historic site community we are partnering with the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation to hold a two-day conference and workshop program. Papers will be presented in the mornings and hands-on workshops in the afternoons. Come meet and connect faces to the colleagues whose digital signatures you’ve seen on the PestList. Presentations will be posted on the museumpests.net website following the conference. Check back for more information.
The IPM-WG is working on developing plans for sustaining its work and this site. Keep abreast of developments by the Long Range Planning Group read about their proposal on the MuseumPests blog.
Integrated Pest Management for Collections: Proceedings of 2011: A Pest Odyssey, 10 Years Later post-prints are now available. Visit the Pest Odyssey 2011 website for ordering information.
The American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (AIC) and the Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections (SPNHC) have joined forces in publishing Health and Safety for Museum Professionals. Available from University Products, the book contains useful information on pesticide hazards.
We are grateful for the generous sponsorship of the organizations that helped fund the creation of this website:
Find answers to common questions using our PestList archive -
We are always interested in adding images of museum pests, throughout the site. If you have any you are willing to share, please let us know at email@example.com.