[NHCOLL-L:5363] RE: moths and taxidermy mounts
JWoods at delmnh.org
Wed Apr 6 15:11:43 EDT 2011
Keeping moths out of a taxidermy collection can be a big challenge.
Infested items should be freeze treated to -20C, which typically takes a
chest freezer. Do not use a frost free freezer. We use a cycle of in
the freezer for 1 week, out at room temperature for 24 hours, and back
in for 1 week. You want to warm/cool the material as quickly as
possible to maximize the stress on the moth larvae/eggs and cause them
to die. So don't put a large amount of material in the freezer all at
once because it will take too long to cool. Bag items to avoid
In addition to treating infested items you also need to get the storage
area de-infested- this sounds like it might be the problem. Thorough
cleaning is a good start (and I'm sure you have done this) and remove
any materials that the moths might get into (fabric, cardboard, etc.).
Seal wood shelves with varnish or paint if possible (low VOC
preferably). Because of their small size moths can easily get into
cracks and crevices so unless you rid the storage area of them the
collection will just get re-infested. We have used a product called
CB-80 Extra, which is a Pyrethrum spray to "bomb" storage cabinets
(ideally with all contents removed). Since it is a plant based product
it is not as nasty as some insecticides but still not risk free. It
leaves minimal residue. You should be able to find information about it
online. Don't use mothballs.
I'd suggest you clear the storage area, bagging all items as they are
removed. Strip the storage area to the walls and clean thoroughly.
Bomb the room with CB-80 Extra. Freeze treat anything that goes back in
including shelves, brackets, boxes, etc. Freeze treat all the taxidermy
before returning it to the room. Seal the room better and get pheromone
traps (see next). A lot of work but it sounds like this is a
Insects Unlimited sells a pheromone trap for clothing moths, which is
probably what is infesting your taxidermy. Moths are fairly weak
fliers, so hang the traps low. Before buying pheromone traps you might
try to get the moths identified- they might also be case making moths,
which is a different pheromone. I think Insects Unlimited might have
info on their web site.
To prevent re-infestation store items in a room with limited access to
the outdoors and keep windows closed. I think both of the possible moth
species occur naturally in much of the US, so there is an ever-present
risk of re-infestation. Examine storage cabinets/rooms and add
weather-stripping or caulking to make them insect-proof. Limit the time
that items are out of the storage area if possible. To the extent
possible store taxidermy and especially study skins in plastic bags or
boxes to keep moths out and contain new infestations. Regularly inspect
the collection to detect new infestations.
Establish protocols for treating items that have been out of the nature
center or new acquisitions so that they don't bring in problems. You
can quarantine these items for a period of time (6 months) to check for
infestation. We generally freeze-treat anything newly acquired no
matter if it is professionally done or old. If items have been to a
high risk situation (e.g. an outdoor festival in the summer) it might be
better to just freeze treat them when they come back.
I hope this helps! Feel free to contact me offline if there are other
Dr. Jean L. Woods Phone: 302-658-9111 x314
Curator of Birds Fax:
Delaware Museum of Natural History e-mail:
jwoods at delmnh.org
4840 Kennett Pike, P.O. Box 3937 web: www.delmnh.org
Wilmington, DE 19807
From: owner-nhcoll-l at lists.yale.edu
[mailto:owner-nhcoll-l at lists.yale.edu] On Behalf Of James Ladonski
Sent: Sunday, April 03, 2011 1:24 PM
To: NHCOLL-L at lists.yale.edu
Subject: [NHCOLL-L:5358] moths and taxidermy mounts
A colleague of mine at a nature center is dealing with moths getting
into their taxidermy mounts and study skins. I do not have much
experience with this issue, but was hoping someone on here could offer
them some advice. If you have suggestions or questions, please contact
Michaele off-list at mklingerman at sjcparks.org
I was given the following information:
"One of the nature centers has a problem with moths destroying their
taxidermy mounts. They have tried everything, from freezing the mounts,
fumigating and attempting to pick off the eggs. It seems the moths have
even gotten to specimens that were done professionally. I would have to
see them to be able to tell if they had been tanned properly. Do you
have any suggestions as to how to rid themselves of the insects?
We have the mounts and study skins (really, mostly study skins) stored
in a closet in our auditorium where we conduct our programs. We do have
mounts throughout the building and in the auditorium; although nothing
"new". The bear rug is in the closet with the other skins. I mentioned
that one only because that was where the first moth was seen. As soon as
we saw that moth we began searching and discovered that all of our items
in that closet had been infested."
Thanks in advance for any help anyone can offer!
Department of Biology and Microbiology
South Dakota State University
4801 N Career Avenue
Sioux Falls, SD 57107
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