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Subject: Powderpost beetles

Powderpost beetles

From: Heather Dumka <hdumka>
Date: Tuesday, December 15, 1998
We would like to hear from anyone who has had recent experience
dealing with powderpost beetles in their collection. We have found
evidence of an infestation in a number of artifacts in an exhibit
gallery of mostly wooden West African artifacts.

Earlier attempts (freezing, CO2) to deal with what was thought to be
an isolated incident were met with failure.  We now are faced with
the deinstallation and treatment of all of the wooden artifacts. The
cause of the infestation is still uncertain.  It may have been
present in some of the artifacts when the exhibit was installed in
1994 or it may have been in the bamboo decorative elements that are
in the gallery (and have also been found to be infested).

At present the treatment options that appear to be practical are CO2
(which can be done in-house) or phosphine (which would be done by a
pest control company outside of the museum).  Because of the number
of artifacts to be treated (approx. 300, and some are very large),
we may use both options to speed up the process.  Due to the high
cost of deinstallation/reinstallation we are anxious however to use
the most effective method to eradicate this problem.  Any thoughts
on these proposed treatments would be welcome.  Also, any short or
long term concerns with the use of phosphine would also be welcome.
We are aware of the corrosive nature of the phosphine in regards to
metals and would not be treating any pieces with attached metal
components with this method. Also, we are not planning to reinstall
the bamboo decoration since it appears to be an ideal habitat for
the beetles.

Heather Dumka
Conservator - Artifacts
Glenbow Museum
130-9th Avenue SE
Calgary, AB  CANADA  T2G 0P3

                                  ***
                  Conservation DistList Instance 12:51
                Distributed: Tuesday, December 15, 1998
                       Message Id: cdl-12-51-028
                                  ***
Received on Tuesday, 15 December, 1998

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