Integrated Pest Management

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This content is excerpted from Preventive Conservation: Collection Storage (2019), Elkin and Norris, eds.

Chapter 18: Integrated Pest Management for Museum Collections

Thomas Strang, Canadian Conservation Institute, Canadian Heritage, Ottawa, Canada
Jeremy Jacobs, National Museum of Natural History, Washington, DC
Rika Kigawa, Museum Science Division, Kyushu National Museum, Dazaifu, Japan

Integrated pest management is a comprehensive approach to lowering the risk of pest harm to stored objects through a combination of effective activities and efficient passive elements. Whether items of a collection are constantly exposed to the elements or are completely protected inside a building, there are levels of control and choice of activities that will mitigate or eliminate the potential for damage from vertebrate, invertebrate and microbial pests.

First, guiding principles behind pest control measures for museum collections are provided as a framework for comprehension and management of pest problems in a resilient manner. Secondly, a concise synopsis of the important pest organisms that harm collections and the items which are vulnerable to pest attack establishes an understanding of the risks pests pose to collection preservation. Thirdly, increasing the control of pests is presented as five cooperative activities: avoid, block, detect, respond and recover.


†Aliniazee, T.M. 1971. "The Effect of Carbon Dioxide Gas Alone or in Combinations on the Morality of Tribolium castaneum (Herbst) and T. confusum du Val (Coleoptera, Tenebrionidae)." Journal of Stored Products Research 7 (4):243-252.

† Indicates references drawn from the original chapter in Preventive Conservation: Collection Storage

Online Resources

The MuseumPests Working Group (formerly known as the Integrated Pest Management Working Group or IPM-WG) is a group of collection managers, conservators and other professionals interested in issues surrounding the implementation of integrated pest management in museums and other collection-holding institutions. The mission of the MuseumPests Working Group is to promote and facilitate best practices in pest management for the collections and cultural heritage communities through the development and on-line distribution of training materials and other resources through the website.

The MuseumPests Working Group also created Pestlist, a free IPM list-serve dedicated to sharing information, posting questions and discussing IPM related issues with a broad community.
IPM-WG is an independent group, but maintains close links with SPNHC: many SPNHC members are active in IPM-WG; the Society has provided financial support for the MuseumPests website; and many of the discussions begun at IPM-WG are continued throughout the year at the Special Interest Group meetings that are part of the SPNHC annual conference. Additionally, past IPM related presentations and posters presented at SPNHC meetings are available for viewing on the website.

Consensus Documents

SPNHC Leaflet: Anoxic Microenvironments

Community Standards