Quarantine facility

Echidna

An echidna specimen

Our trained staff can advise on the best treatment for your object. All of our equipment is state-of-the-art and available for hire to external groups.

If you would like to use the facility for treatment of objects or need conservation advice, please get in contact.

The Museum’s quarantine facility offers many tested options to prevent the irreversible damage a pest infestation can cause.

Collections of animals, plants, furniture, textiles and books are continually under threat from insect pests.

Fur, feathers, dried plants, soft tissue, paper and wood are all irresistible food sources for insect pests. Key to limiting the impact of an infestation is to remove the pests entirely.

Training and development courses

From the fundamentals of pest management to disaster preparedness, find out more about our range of courses for professionals across the sector.

Freezing

We have four freezers used for different sized objects:

  • one large freezer at -30°C, big enough to treat an adult mounted rhinoceros
  • two small freezers at -30°C, for small items such as drawers of pinned butterflies
  • one chest freezer at -30°C, for small items such as bird skins.

Hot/cold chamber

This is an alternative to freezing, where specimens are heat treated. The chamber can be set at specific humidities and temperatures depending on the object, but typically up to 55°C.

The chamber can also be used for cold temperature treatments and as extra freezer space if required.

Drying cabinets

Three cabinets dry:

  • plant specimens before they are pressed on herbarium sheets
  • objects that have suffered water damage, such as after flooding.

Prevention

Preventing pests getting into the collection in the first place is a key defence. Since a ban on many traditional methods of pest control, such as the use of dichlorvos, we have built a comprehensive Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programme.

This aims to eliminate or at least limit any possible chance of pest entry. We:

  • quarantine all new specimens and those returning from loan, including exhibition fabrics
  • treat infestations immediately
  • monitor insect activity in stores and in displays
  • have rigid cleaning standards
  • train staff in IPM and best practice
  • invest in state-of-the-art storage
  • consider pests in facility design and maintenance
  • keep storage conditions as stable as possible.

Anoxic treatment

Objects can be treated in reduced-oxygen conditions under special agreement.

We do not currently undertake commercial CO2 treatments and advice on anoxic treatments should be sought from the Conservation Centre.