What Is Eating Your Collection? Development Of A Web-Based Insect Pest Recording Database
  Key Words  
  Museum pests, insect pest distribution, insect pest identification, database
  Jane Thompson Webb and David Pinniger
  There is very little information on the distribution of indoor insect pests, and particularly those that infest museum collections. In 2009, the authors developed a website using Renaissance in the Regions funding. The site was devised to be a source of information about IPM and insect pests with a photographic reference guide. The website grew out of requests for a reference tool from participants who attended our IPM workshops for people working in the Heritage sector. The participants also asked questions about the spread of insect pests in the UK and whether this was changing. Whilst a pest identification tool could be generated, it was not possible to answer the question regarding the distribution of insect pests other than via anecdotal evidence and personal experience. A second part of the website was therefore developed as an insect pest recording tool. IPM co-ordinators in UK heritage institutions were invited to record the insect finds from their trapping programme on a quarterly basis. There are also records from some domestic and commercial premises where the accuracy of identification can be assured. We have examined the results of all the recordings so far obtained and analysed the current distribution of many species of insect pests across the UK, based on geography and building type. We have also tracked changes in distribution and frequency of established pests and recorded the introduction and spread of new pests, such as Australian carpet beetle Anthrenocerus australis. With coordination, this recording system could be adapted for use in any country or geographical area and it is hoped that it will become a valuable tool to be used by all IPM practitioners.