This Collections Care document has been produced using information from our Conservation Development Officer, Helena, to provide suggested step by step methods to treat woodworm.
If you aren’t sure how to identify woodworm, then keep reading…
If, on the other hand, you know this critter on the left is boring away in your collections then download our resource which gives you a step by step guide to treat woodworm.
It’s smaller than a grain of rice, and a dusty chocolate brown. Seen up close it has rows of tiny dots along its back and it looks as though it’s wearing a rather large cycle helmet. It might sound innocuous, but it has the power to arouse fear in the most stalwart of museum folk. It’s Anobium punctatum, the furniture beetle, often called woodworm.
Most of the time the young woodworm grub, like a small white caterpillar, is munching its way through the wood of some prized museum object or even the timbers of the building itself, but from late spring onwards the adults emerge, chewing small holes about 2mm in diameter and look for mates.
If the museum store is undisturbed, especially if the relatively humidity is a bit high, you may find them crawling around on the surface of objects when you first put the lights on. Sometimes you will find the adults caught in sticky blunder traps or dead on windowsills. Sadly, by then they may have already mated and laid eggs in the holes in the object. Soon the tiny grubs will hatch and crawl deeper into the wood, tunneling their way around, always staying below the surface, for as long as 5 years before they pupate and emerge as adult beetles.
So, what do you need to do? If you find holes in your wooden, basketry or wickerwork objects don’t panic, but do investigate further:
- Are the holes fresh and bright looking inside or dull and dark? New exit holes will be clean and bright and need action.
- Is there grainy wood dust falling out of the holes or in little piles beneath the object? The dust or frass (droppings) can fall out of old holes when the object is moved. If the holes and dust look bright or there are little piles, then the infestation is recent and needs action.
- Are there little dark brown beetles in the area (dead or alive)? Then you need to take action.
Download the below resource for step by step guidance to treat woodworm
A summary of the changes to Museum Accreditation in 2020, and key questions museums in the South West may be asking.
Volunteer-run Tavistock Museum in Devon is seeking an Accreditation Mentor.
Volunteer-run Tewkesbury Museum in Gloucestershire is seeking a Mentor for Accreditation.
We are the support provider for Arts Council England’s Accreditation in the South West.
Funding updates Arts Council England, National Heritage Lottery Fund and weekly highights
Our latest South West Museum Skills training sessions are open for booking.
Our August newsletter features updates on sector funding, pest packs, new resources and the launch of our Annual Survey of Museums
Booking is now open for the first tranche of the SW Museum Skills: Essentials programme 2019/20.
We are launching Pest Partners, a project to help museums and heritage organisations in the South West identify, monitor and manage pests in their collections
A review of the current reopening perspectives from museums in our region.
Our dedicated newsletter with condensed guidance from trusted information sources regarding Coronovirus.
South West Museum Development is offering funded places to attend a Touring Exhibitions Group collections training session
This page summarises the direct support available for museums during the Coronavirus pandemic
We are a team of museum development experts who offer specialist support services to museums throughout the South West.
Wednesday 23 September, 14.00-15.30
Online via Zoom
Our grant scheme provides funding to support museums across the South West
Join us as a Pest Partner - a new project helping you identify, monitor and manage pests in your heritage collections. Supported by Historic England.
We have developed an approachable support network and devised an intuitive programme to help museums every step of the way.
Our Strategic Advisory Group aims to guide the work of the team and support the development of the Programme
SW Museum Skills: Essentials provide subsidised, relevant and accessible training opportunities
South West Museum Development programme is proud to be an Arts Council England Sector Support Organisation