Abstracts for 8th July annual meeting 'Pest Off with Covid and other stories'

A unique approach to IPM during lockdown

Adie Doyle, IPM Manager, British Museum

Adie Doyle provides an insight into the challenges and opportunities on managing an IPM programme in the British Museum during the Covid-19 closure. Galleries, traditionally bursting with tourists, are completely empty allowing us to deep clean and also to undertake pest inspections during the day.High risk collections already identified by the Risk Zone concept, and concerns over historic damage from known pest species have been highlighted with special collections risk management impact statements and procedures to prioritise collections and spaces to be visited when possible to reaffirm a lack of pest problems.

IPM considerations when preparing for lockdown and beyond

Kerren Harris ACR, Historic Royal Palaces

Like many heritage institutions, Historic Royal Palaces had to close its doors to the pubic very quickly in response to the Covid-19 crisis in Mid March. In this talk, I will outline the steps HRP took to prepare Hampton Court Palace and Kew Palace's building and displays for a period of closure with an unknown end date. I will look at what measures we took to ensure we could focus our limited resources to where they would have most impact.

I will look at what challenges and benefits we are finding during the closure period from an IPM perspective and what we have learnt to help inform our planning in dealing with issues in the future.

IPM opportunities and challenges at Tate during Lockdown

Helen Smith ACR, Independent Preventive Conservator

On 17th March 2020 Tate closed all four of its galleries to visitors and within 48 hours all sites were closed to almost all staff in line with government advice. Initially the hope was to reopen in May, however as we know the lockdown lasted far longer than we expected and at the time of writing Tate has not yet set a firm date to re-open.

With no visitors and minimal staff, the galleries instantly changed from public spaces to being more like giant, open-plan art stores from a preventive conservation perspective. The hazards and risks of pest attack shifted subtly to match these conditions, changing IPM priorities both at the initial point of closure and again as the timescale of closure was elongated.

I was a Tate Preventive Conservator from 2011-20 when I left for personal reasons. Since I left Tate I have been working form them on an occasional contract basis. I will discuss how the conservation team worked together remotely to prioritise aspects of preventive conservation including IPM and undertook targeted site visits during the closure period. I will outline how a risk assessment of IPM against pest related hazards informed preventive conservation priorities at the start of closure and how the risk necessarily shifted over the duration of lockdown. I will also discuss the targeted London site visits that were possible in the context of Lockdown restrictions and what it was possible to achieve on site. Tate's Estates and Operational teams have planned and provided vital services throughout the closure period and worked closely with Conservation to co-ordinate targeted actions on site. There have been some unprecedented opportunities in addition to the many challenges brought on by the coronavirus pandemic and the stay at home order. I shall reflect on what IPM activities have and have not, been possible since March at Tate and how this may influence future plans

Managing and controlling the common clothes moth at Hampton Court Palace: A ten year study

Sam Higgs, Preventive Conservator, Historic Royal Palaces

The common clothes moth, Tineola bisselliella, has become a common pest throughout the UK, causing problems for many.

This presentation will reveal the results of a 10 year project to monitor and control the common clothes moth population at Hampton Court Palace

Activities to support IPM during lockdown

Amy Crossman, Independent Conservator

The Chantry Library and What's Eating Your Collections websites are both important sources of information for the IPM practitioner. The What's Eating Your Collection website hosts a database of key IPM literature references, which are added to annually as and when new literature is generated. The database was last updated inAugust  2018 and lockdown has provided an ideal opportunity to review the reference library and add in literature produced since. The Chantry Library produces annotated subject specialist bibliographies on topics relevant to the conservation community, and an IPM subject specialist bibliography is due to be published in July 2020, with an accompanying review of it in July's edition of Icon News. Going forward, it will be interesting to analyse the type of literature that is published once Covid-19 has abated and the impact that this has on literature and the future of IPM. 

Under lockdown conditions, these resources are ever more significant and prevalent conditions provide an opportunity for them to be explored, with the potential of IPM practices becoming embedded further in our daily work upon our physical return to collections. Lockdown provides ideal conditions to refresh and update IPM knowledge using these resources, building resilience and sustainability into IPM practice.


Acoustic emission monitoring of furniture response during thermolignum heat treatment

Nigel Blades, National Trust

Acoustic emission monitoring was set up at the National Trust's Knole House to measure the response to Baroque Furniture to a general reduction in RH brought about by conservation heating.

Incidental to this study, it was found that two of the monitoring objects, a table and torchere, exhibited AE response due to anobium punctatum infestation. The objects were treated to kill the infestation by the controlled-RH thermolignum process. Acoustic emission monitoring took place throughout treatment, showing moderate AE response during the heating and cooling cycles. There was no evidence to damage to the objects or of dangerous AE response. After treatment the objects' AE response reverted to normal environmental levels, suggesting the wood boring larvae had been killed by the treatment process.

Ascertaining the cause of localised pest build up in collection storage areas

Joseph Jackson, Preventive Conservation Intern, National Library of Scotland

This talk will explore the changes Joseph has made to the IPM scheme at The National Library of Scotland, as well as investigations being made into the cause of localised increases in pest numbers and the affect that COVID-19 has had on these investigations.

An introduction to Icon networks

Michael Nelles, Head of Membership, Icon

Michael will introduce Icon networks and how the Pest Odyssey Network will function for both Icon members and none members.



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