The only thing worse than mice or cockroaches feeding on breadcrumbs in your kitchen is finding them munching on invaluable paintings and artifacts in your museum or library. Insect pests are responsible for significant damage to museum objects, historic books, and in buildings of historical or architectural importance. Various wood-boring beetles, various moths, and booklice can destroy materials, objects, and building parts. Termites, cockroaches, and other insect pests are also common in museums and libraries, and their presence results in even greater damage of wood and paper materials.
Insects do not infest all items in equal ways, however. At the highest risk of infestation are natural history collections, dried insect collections, dry plant materials, stuffed animals, items containing fur, and keratin or chitin-based materials. Usually, items made from these vulnerable materials are stored together in dark areas, making the spread of infestation easier and more successful.
In the past, pest control in such collection-holding institutions involved regular applications of insecticides to the infested areas and to the objects themselves.