Common museum pest identification and trap selection

Museum pests under a microscope

There are a large number of insects that can cause damage in museum and archive collections (and in homes too), but how do you identify them? and, how do you monitor them?

Identifying issues early can reduce the risk of collections being damaged, preventing major infestation and expensive and disruptive treatments. Taking a close-up look at traps with a magnifier or a microscope can help with identification, if you know what you're looking for. Here is a quick guide to common museum pests and the traps you need to monitor for them.


View Moths 🔍 | View Beetles 🔍 | View other pests 🔍 | Just take me to the insect traps!


Beetles

Pest beetles can decimate collections and should be monitored to prevent damage.

Insect Name What insect trap do I need? What does it look like?

 Brown Carpet Beetle (AKA Vodka Beetle)

Attagenus smirnovi

The larvae eat wool, fur, feathers,
silk and skins such as leather and parchment/vellum.

Larvae: up to 8mm 

Adult: Up to 5mm 

975-1163 - Sticky insect detector trap 

975-0012 - PELtrap 


Varied carpet beetle

Anthrenus verbasci

The larvae eat wool, hair, fur, feathers
, silk and skins such as leather and parchment/vellum.
Will also feed on soiled linen, cotton and rayon.

Larvae: Up to 7mm

Adult: Up to 7mm 

975-0338 - Fabric insect trap

975-1163 - Sticky insect detector trap 

975-0012 - PELtrap 


Two Spot Carpet Beetle

Attagenus pellio

Larvae attackwool, fur, feathers
and skins such as leather and parchment/vellum.

Larvae are identical to the brown
carpet beetle larvae.

Larvae: Up to 10mm 

 

975-1163 - Sticky insect detector trap

975-0012 - PELtrap  


Larder Beetle

Dermestes lardarius

Larvae sometimes attack bone, damp wool, fur, feathers
and skins such as leather and parchment/vellum. 

  

Adult: Up to 9mm   

Larvae: 10-14mm Brown with some bands and hairs protruding
perpendicular along whole length

975-1163 - Sticky insect detector trap

975-0012 - PELtrap  


Australian Spider Beetle

Ptinus tectus

Larvae eat dried food and plant material. 

975-1163 - Sticky insect detector trap

975-0012 - PELtrap  


Biscuit Beetle (AKA drugstore beetle) 

Stegobium paniceum

Larvae eat dried food, plant material and
freeze dried animals. Can attack books,
upholstery. 

Larvae: up to 5mm 

 Adult: up to 3mm

975-1163 - Sticky insect detector trap

975-0012 - PELtrap  


Tobacco Beetle (Cigarette Beetle)   

Lasioderma serricorne

Larvae eat dried food, plant material and
freeze dried animals. Will also attack
book bindings and some natural upholstery materials.

Larvae: up to 5mm (white with long hairs)

Adult: up to 3mm  

 

975-0154 - Tobacco Beetle Trap

975-1163 - Sticky insect detector trap

975-0012 - PELtrap  

  


Deathwatch Beetle

Xestobium rufovillosum

Larvae old wood which is damp, usually
with fungal growth.

Adult: 4-6mm 

975-1163 - Sticky insect detector trap

975-0012 - PELtrap


Wood Weevils

Pentarthrum huttoni and Euophryum confine

Larvae only attack damp wood, or wood that has
previously been damp and subject to fungal growth damage.

Adults: up to 3.2mm 

975-1163 - Sticky insect detector trap

975-0012 - PELtrap  


Furniture Beetle (Woodworm)

Anobium punctatum

Larvae attack older dry sapwood of both
hard and softwood.

Larvae: up to 5mm C shaped, 3 pairs of legs

Adult: up to 9mm 

975-1163 - Sticky insect detector trap

975-0012 - PELtrap  


Fungus Beetle

Mycetophagidae

Eat mould. Indicators of damp conditions.

975-1163 - Sticky insect detector trap

975-0012 - PELtrap  

> | View Microscopes Here | > | View All Pest Traps Here

Moths

Pest moths can decimate textile collections
and should be monitored to prevent damage.

Insect Name What insect trap do I need? What does it look like?


Webbing Clothes Moth


Tineola Bisselliella

The larvae eat wool, hair, fur, feathers,
silk and skins such as leather and parchment/vellum    

Larvae: White with brown head, up to 11mm.

Adults: White up to 11mm.

975-0030 - Black and white moth trap

975-0338 - Fabric insect trap 

975-1055 - Demi Diamond Moth Trap


Case-bearing clothes moth 

Tinea pellionella

The larvae eat wool, hair, fur, feathers,
silk and skins such as leather and
parchment/vellum.

Adult: Approx 10mm

 

975-0338 - Fabric insect trap


Brown house moth 

Hofmannophila pseudospretella

Larvae sometimes attack book bindings, cork,
damp wool, fur, feathers and skins
such as leather and parchment/vellum. 

Larvae: Up to 19mm

Adult: up to 15mm  

975-0338 - Fabric insect trap

975-1163 - Sticky insect detector trap

975-0012 - PELtrap  


White shouldered house moth 

Endrosis sarcitrella

Larvae sometimes attack cork, seeds, damp wool, fur, feathers
and skins such as leather and parchment/vellum. 

Larvae: up to 12mm

Adult: up to 10mm 

975-1163 - Sticky insect detector trap

975-0012 - PELtrap  


Indian meal moth 

Plodia interpunctella

Larvae eat dried foods such as cereals and nuts.

975-1163 - Sticky insect detector trap

975-0012 - PELtrap  

> | View Microscopes Here | > | View All Pest Traps Here


Other Pests

Insect Name What insect trap do I need? What does it look like?


Silverfish


Lepisma saccharina

Nymphs and adults eat the surface of damp paper,
books, wallpaper, glues and textiles. 

975-1150 - Silverfish Traps 

975-1163 - Sticky insect detector trap

975-0012 - PELtrap  

368-6047 - Silverfish Traps


Grey Silverfish


Ctenolepisma longicaudata

Nymphs and adults eat the surface of damp paper,
books, wallpaper, glues and textiles. 

Up to 15mm 

975-1150 - Silverfish Traps 

975-1163 - Sticky insect detector trap

975-0012 - PELtrap  

368-6047 - Silverfish Traps  


Common Booklouse

Liposcelis spp.

Nymphs and adults eat the surface of damp paper
and books. Feeds on mould.

Adult: less than 4mm 

975-1163 - Sticky insect detector trap

975-0012 - PELtrap  


Cluster Flies

Frass and carcasses can stain surfaces and encourage other pests.

975-0400 - Cluster fly trap


Cockroaches

 Frass and carcasses can stain surfaces and
encourage other pests. Can present a public health issue. 

975-1377 - Hoy Hoy Cockroach Trap


Harlequin Ladybirds

Adults can stain fabrics/papers with
defensive excretion when disturbed

975-0808 - Ladybird Buster

Harlequin ladybird traps


> | View All insect traps here


Here's our pest identification and monitoring webinar for an overview of common museum pests.


Read our blog on pest prevention here >>


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