Foiling Insects and Rodents

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What household pests damage books, and how can I prevent it?

Foiling Insects and Rodents

Insects and Rodents

Insects and rodents are attracted by the cellulose of the paper, the proteins and carbohydrates of gelatin sizing, glue, paste, leather and other organic substances. The most certain way to avoid insects and rodents is to practice good housekeeping: keep food away from the storage area, screen windows, and kill any insects or rodents observed.

As a further precaution against insects, one can place small open containers of paradichlorobenzene (the active ingredient of moth crystals) on bookshelves. Paradichlorobenzene is a poison and must be placed beyond the reach of children! If insects are found in stored documents, one can place them in a covered container with paradichlorobenzene for three weeks, an ample time to eliminate insects and their eggs. Paradichlorobenzene is available in drug, discount and general stores under various trade names. The material readily vaporizes and requires periodic replacement.

Silverfish may be eliminated with a sweetened mixture of 1-3/4 cups wheatflour or oatmeal ground to flour, 1/4 teaspoon sodium fluoride (available in drug stores), 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; once mixed, the powder can be placed in shallow cardboard boxes loosely covered with crumpled sheets of paper. The mixture is ample for several good sized rooms, and the boxes may be placed in areas where silverfish are known to occur Mix the ingredients thoroughly and it is ready to use. This powder should also work on various other insect pests. Sprays should be avoided because of the chance of staining materials.

   

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