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Infestation[edit | edit source]

Infestation is the persistent presence or invasion of pests, especially in large numbers (AAT 2014). [1]

Book riddled with pest damage [2]
Frame with active infestation
Painting with active infestation. courtesy Fine Arts Conservancy

Related Terms[edit | edit source]

Synonyms in English[edit | edit source]

invasion, swarm, infiltration, influx, plague, insect damage

Translation[edit | edit source]

English Infestation, infested
French Infestation
Spanish Infestaciòn, plaga
Dutch Plaag
Italian Infestazione
German Verseuchen
Chinese (Traditional) 蟲害

Discussion[edit | edit source]

Use this word when referring to pest attacks, mold growth, or rodent attacks. Over the years pest control in museums has undergone many changes. Pesticide use, for example, has evolved from a wide array of uses to specific pest management procedures that keep in mind the dangers to staff and to the collections. Now most museums employ Integrated Pest Management plans, which are procedures to discourage pest infestations in their collection storage and display areas using a variety of non toxic approaches to create an inhospitable environment for pests (Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2015). [3]

Evidence of Insect Activity:
1. The presence of an actual insect, alive or dead, at various stages of its development
2. Cast skins or other body parts
3. Chewing marks
4. Exit holes in surfaces of wood
5. Hair, fur, or feather loss
6. Webbing
7. Grazed surfaces
8. Frass (debris or excrement produced by insects, usually a soft powdery material)
9. Fecal pellets, dried stains, or fecal spots (National Park Service, 2008) [4]

If you find you already have evidence of insect activity there are two recommended ways of dealing with the problem. First, anoxic treatment, which is the elimination of oxygen from a microenvironment. This technique employs oxygen scavengers, carbon dioxide, nitrogen or argon gas to create a controlled atmosphere that deprives the pests of oxygen. This is mostly recommended for single objects or very small groups of objects that have been infested. The second option is to treat collections in a large commercial freezer that can reach 0 degrees F or lower. This procedure is recommended for herb specimens, books, and textiles. This treatment should not be used on wood, bone, ivory, or lacquer because they could be adversely affected (Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2015). [5]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Art & Architecture Thesaurus (2014). Research: Art & Architecture Thesaurus Online Full Text Display: Infestation. Retrieved from:
  2. Wikipedia (2013). Bookworm (insect). Retrieved from:
  3. Philadelphia Museum of Art (2015). Research: Conservation. Retrieved from:
  4. National Park Service (2008). ConservOgram, Number 3/11. Retrieved from:
  5. Philadelphia Museum of Art (2015). Research: Conservation. Retrieved from:

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