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Subject: Pest management

Pest management

From: Michael Trinkley <chicora1>
Date: Tuesday, November 3, 1998
Jacqueline Millard offers an early 20th century recipe for
silverfish bait. There are a number of variations, but I urge
extraordinary caution.

Sodium fluosilicate, also known as disodium hexafluorosilicate, is
an old pesticide. It is poisonous by ingestion and is a severe skin
and eye irritant. Its DOT Classification is Poison B and it is an
inorganic fluoride. In other words, it is not the type of chemical
that I would recommend having around a museum, library, or archive.
Moreover, I suspect that the flour, sugar, and salt pretty
effectively mask the taste, making it somewhat more attractive to
children.

I should probably also point out that since this mixture hasn't been
approved for silverfish control by the EPA, its use is probably a
violation of FIFRA. In addition, I suspect that any OSHA inspection
would have some considerable concern with the application of sodium
fluosilicate to bits of mount board.

While I understand that everyone would like a silver
bullet--something to make difficult problems easy and simple--they
don't usually exist. In the case of silverfish and collections, the
safest and most appropriate treatment remains to evaluate
environmental conditions. With appropriate temperature and humidity
control many problems will vanish. Those that remain can usually be
dealt with by vacuuming or hand cleaning. Any residual problems can
be dealt with using *appropriate*, *safe*, registered pesticides.

Avoid the old recipes--more often than not they are simply recipes
for disaster. Best,

Michael Trinkley, Ph.D.
Director
Chicora Foundation, Inc.
PO Box 8664
Columbia, SC  29202-8664
803-787-6910

                                  ***
                  Conservation DistList Instance 12:41
                 Distributed: Tuesday, November 3, 1998
                       Message Id: cdl-12-41-001
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Received on Tuesday, 3 November, 1998

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