Pictured: Clockwise, from top left, Professor Mike Waldvogel helps the Gregg Museum identify best practices for keeping pests under control; Jordan Cao reviews a list of some of the artwork on display at the Gregg Museum in March; and Strategically placed traps help keep pests socially distant from the Gregg Museum's exhibits.
By David Hunt
An exhibit at the Gregg Museum of Art & Design is playfully titled, “All That Glitters: Spark and Dazzle From the Permanent Collection.” So, it’s no wonder the assortment of textiles, jewelry, pottery and other shiny objects is a feast for the eyes.
But for some visitors to North Carolina State University’s recently renovated museum, the collection is more than a celebration of beauty and creativity. It’s potentially a midnight snack.
“Our collection provides a really great opportunity for learning and teaching and intellectual growth,” says Assistant Registrar Jordan Cao. “But also wonderfully delicious things for bugs.”
PRESERVATION EFFORTS. Protecting the Gregg Museum’s vast and eclectic collection from unwelcome critters is one of Cao’s most important — and challenging — responsibilities.
Thankfully, NC State is home to a leading authority on urban pests: Michael Waldvogel, an extension associate professor of entomology and plant pathology. And like all extension specialists, he was eager to lend his expertise to the problem at no cost.
“I enjoy the challenge,” he says. “I thought this would be a neat thing because this is a case of looking at art as a food source rather than for its aesthetics.”
Any number of bugs threaten the collection. Moths, of course, are connoisseurs of silk, linen and other fabrics. Carpet beetle larvae have a taste for skins, furs, feathers and wool. And even though ladybugs won’t nibble on works of art, they can still do damage.
“If you squish them, they leave a yellow stain,” Waldvogel says.
Waldvogel toured the museum with Cao, answered her questions and reviewed some common-sense, non-invasive measures to keep pests at bay. The good news is that the Gregg Museum was already doing all the rights things, he says. “And if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.”
BEST PRACTICES. The museum follows best practices using an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach. It focuses on minimizing risks before insects get a foothold inside the building. Since both the collection and its visitors are precious, Cao explains, spraying pesticides inside the 24,000 square-foot building isn’t an option.
Integrated Pest Management isn’t a complex process, but it does require a high level of vigilance.
“Basically, we take into account the environment around us, what kind of critters live outside our building, as well as what’s in the collection,” she says. “We use all those factors to develop a plan for assessing and protecting ourselves from pests.”
When a new piece of art is acquired by — or loaned to — the museum, it doesn’t go directly into the collection. “Every object that comes in here is either frozen or isolated to make sure there are no pests,” Cao says.
Any item that can handle a temperature drop to negative 15 degrees Celsius is bagged and placed in one of the Gregg’s giant freezers for at least a week. More fragile pieces are sealed airtight and stored for three months.
LEXINGTON, Ken. — The University of Kentucky announced it will be holding a series of webinars this fall in place of the university's annual Short Course, which was cancelled earlier this summer due to COVID-19 concerns.
"Since we aren't able to meet in person, we'll be running an 8-week online training program from October through December (every Friday from 8 a.m.-10 a.m. EST). We've got a great lineup of speakers which may be of interest to those on a national level (especially since the online format will allow those outside Kentucky to listen in (and possibly get credits)."
Topics Include: COVID-19 and Pest Control; Occasional Invaders and Pest Proofing; Pest Identification; New Products and Technology; Social Media and Pest Control; Technician Training and Reinforcement; Termites; Cockroaches; Ants; Bed Bugs; Spiders; and more.
Speakers Include: Jeff White (Bed Bug Central), Dr. Faith Oi (University of Florida), Mark VanderWerp (Rose Pest Solutions), Dr. Karen Vail (University of Tennessee), and more.
Credits Requested from: KY, TN, MO, IL, IN, OH, WV, VA, NC, and MI. Other states can be requested by notifying the conference organizers.
Full program and registration information available at: http://www.kyshortcourse.org/. Otherwise, direct questions/concerns to:
Atlas Exterminator has been serving homes and businesses in Baltimore and surrounding areas for over 70 years. Bruce Morgan, owner of Atlas Exterminator and past president of the Maryland State Pest Control Association (MSPCA), currently resides as chairman of the Wood Destroying Insect (WDI) Committee—stewarding the state’s credentialed program and training needs.
“We look forward to cultivating a relationship based on the respect and conviction that Atlas has provided to their customers over the last seventy years,” says David Billingsly, president of American Pest. “Atlas’ accomplished pest control professionals are a great addition to our diverse, growing team.”
Morgan adds, “At Atlas we have always valued the confidence business owners and homeowners have placed in our team members and our service quality. With this merger, we found a partner with comparable values—a partner focused on service excellence—an organization that offers an assortment of new service lines to compliment what Atlas already provides.”
The acquisition of Atlas Exterminator is American Pest’s 12th acquisition in 48 months, bringing 10 additional pest professionals to its expanding team.
The Aust Group acted as exclusive financial advisor.