Pest Partners

South West Museum Development Programme

Pest Partners is our project, aiming to help you identify, monitor and manage pests in your heritage collections.

The Pest Partners project was launched in 2020, with funding from Historic England, to support museums and heritage organisations to care for their collections during the Covid-19 Lockdowns and beyond. Further funding from the Art Fund enabled us to produce the educational animation ‘The Museum Life of Pests’.

Pest partners logo

supported by historic england

Art fund logo in red




About Pest Partners

Project aims:

  1. Raise awareness of the problems collections face with pests
  2. Increase confidence and enthusiasm in staff and volunteers for identifying pests and dealing with them
  3. Encourage links between local entomologists and collections
  4. Provide valuable data for scientific research, in the spread and variety of pest infestations and climate change
  5. Find ways of improving our protection of collections

Pest Partner Organisations

138 organisations joined the project and monitored for pests in their buildings. Museums, historic buildings, galleries and privately owned heritage collections were eligible to join as long as they met both of the following criteria:

  • Sited in the South West of England as defined by the Office of National Statistics (OSN)
  • Have a collection which is normally open to the public in some way.

We provided free trapping and identification kits to help assess the scale and variety of pests that may be threatening collections and further supplies for quarantine and cleaning where needed.

Organisations received guidance on:

  • Where and how to place the traps and monitor them
  • How to identify and record the pests found in the traps (and elsewhere)
  • How to spot possible pest damage
  • How to create a plan of actions to deal with any infestations

Each Pest Partner heritage site committed to:

  • Signing a simple Charter expressing their commitment to the project until the end of 2021
  • Using the kits provided to monitor and identify pests in their site
  • Sending in the data on the pests they have found once a month until November 2021, using the simple online form provided
  • Allowing the pest data to be analysed, mapped and published for scientific use

Pest management resources 

The Museum Life of Pests

Take a look at our five minute animation to help museums and other heritage organisations protect their collections by developing pest management plans, called Integrated Pest Management.

This animation, populated by fun pest characters, is packed with information but provides an easy way to get to grips with the actions museums need to take to protect our heritage.

How-to videos

We produced these how-to videos, featuring practical guidance and tips from our Conservation Development Officer, Helena Jaeschke to help our Pest Partner organisations get started with pest monitoring, management and treatment of objects their collections.

Setting and monitoring traps

How to set up a blunder trap:

How to set up a moth trap:

How to check a pest trap:

Examining and treating objects

How to examine an object for pests:

How to wrap an object for freezing without a box:

How to wrap an object for freezing with a box:

Save The Museum Cards

Two red playing cards

As part of the Pest Partners project, we also created ‘Save the Museum’, a card game used by our Pest Partner museums and heritage sites across the South West to help encourage more people to join in and become confident identifying and dealing with pesky museum pests!

For more details on the cards please get in touch.

The cards are available to buy from Conservation Resources Ltd.

Pest management written resources

For other written resources, including how to identify and treat specific pests, view and download via our Resources page and search for “Pest”.

Pest Survey

Pest Partners checked their traps and other locations monthly whenever possible and entered their data in an online survey. 5499 pests were identified from 2640 traps and locations. The data from July 2020 – May 2021 is summarised in our interactive infographic.

Click on the image below to access the interactive infographic:

a screenshot of pest data report

If you are having trouble viewing the infographic please contact us at [email protected] to access the report in an alternative format.

We included 24 pest species and some indicator species – plaster and fungus beetles, spiders and woodlouse spiders – which help to indicate the presence of damp or of prey species.

Get in touch

If you are interested in more detail or working with this data, please get in touch. We would be very interested in working with entomologists, climate change scientists or other organisations working on changes in insect populations to make use of this data.

If you would be interested in helping your local museum identify the pests found in their traps, please get in touch with them direct – they will welcome your help!