Invasive pest fears for British Museum due to Covid-19 lockdown

Pest control

Priceless exhibits risk being damaged by invasive insects, due to an absence of visitors during lockdown, the British Museum has warned.

Experts at the museum have warned that the lack of tourists visiting the institution due to COVID-19 means that dust has settled, creating an inviting environment for pests. The London-based museum houses delicate artefacts of human culture and history spanning two million years.

Although birds and rodents can find their way into the building, the bigger threat comes in the form of insects like woodworms, moths, and carpet beetles which can devour irreplaceable items. In order to protect the 19th Century building and its contents, pest control has to be done without the use of pesticides. The British Museum has hired an integrated pest management specialist, to begin tackling the problem of increasing insect numbers in the galleries and protect these historical treasures.

Displays that contain items with skin, fur, feathers, and wood are a veritable buffet for many insects and other pests. Those on open display in spaces like the Great Court are even more susceptible to damage. Pest monitoring and proofing is done by museum staff, who conduct risk assessments for historical items which could come under threat. A spokeswoman for the British Museum explained: “The collection is housed in a splendid, but old and complex building and our visitors play their part in controlling humidity and dust levels that create environments for pests to thrive.”

 

 


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