Uninvited and welcomed guests in museums – biological management of clothes moths and woodworms


Abstract: In museums and historic houses clothes, moths (Tineola bisselliella, Tinea pellionella) and the furniture beetle (Anobium punctatum) are the most economically important pests on textiles or wooden artifacts, respectively. Their management is essential to protect cultural ethnological heritage and natural history collections for future generations.Pest management strategies have changed over time. Today, intensive knowledge on pest biology and overall material science are key cornerstones in IPM concepts – also for the museum environment. The important first steps for sustainable pest management are risk assessment, early pest detection and identification of pathways of infestation. These steps are followed by physical and biological means of control, which have lately gained more importance than applying biocides. Several potentially effective biological enemies of clothes moths and woodworm have been known for a long time, but their promotion for pest control in museums and historic houses is just beginning.This short review summarizes current concepts of pest life cycle interruption by applying good quarantine and very specific biological measures. The lessons learned from recent faunistic surveys, life-history studies as well as behavioral observations of parasitoids and predators of clothes moths and woodworm may supplement the pest management tool box. The need for further research in this field is addressed.

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