Introduction (3 of 10)

Why are pests found in museums?

The environmental conditions generally found in museums (warm, dry and undisturbed) provide pests with a suitable environment in which to live and breed. The objects themselves provide the pests with a food source and material in which to live. Furthermore, museums often include cafés and offices that contain food and waste, which encourage pests to stay.

Often pests are introduced into the museum within objects that have come from elsewhere – for example, on loan from other institutions, or donated by members of the public. Pests can be unintentionally moved around the museum and offsite when objects and packaging materials are transported.

The pests that directly damage museum collections in Western Europe are certain types of:

However, a small number of other insects, such as silverfish, booklice and woodlice, can also harm objects.