Potential for increased pest activity during museum closures

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In response to enquiries from museums around NSW that are planning to close to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, Alex Roach, Director of Modified Atmospheres, has provided the following advice.

During winter and cooler weather it’s normal to see an increase in pest activity, especially rodents, around and in buildings as they search for food or new places to nest. On top of this, with fewer tourists and visitors to venues, pests which are normally active in parks and gardens will start coming closer to (and inside of) buildings looking for new food sources.

With the increasing number of venues are closing, the risk to collections from insects and other pests will increase, especially in properties that have to close their doors altogether. Increases in pest activity, mould, and dust may go undetected for long periods of time.

The installation of rodent baits around buildings as soon as possible is recommended. Globe Australia sells rodent bait stations (and bait) that can be installed around buildings to try and knock rodent numbers down before they become established. Distribution of bait stations should be around one every 10m or so (e.g. smaller buildings – say a 3-bedroom house size, may need 6-8 bait stations). This will need to be higher where venues have greater rodent pressure (e.g. close to parks, gardens, schools).

Also expect to see increased numbers of pests such as cockroaches as food becomes less available to them elsewhere. For this perimeter treatments with a suitable insecticide is recommended.

Because venues will be closing for an unknown period of time, the following actions are also recommended:

*Kitchens, cafes and restaurants which have closed should ensure that food is removed, fridges cleaned out and (ideally) turned off, as this will make these areas less attractive to pests during the shut-down.

*Indoors venues should be cleaned thoroughly before shutting down. Dust and other debris will attract pests.

*Where possible, regular cleaning should be maintained.

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