I would like to know how you preserve your specimens. I use naphthalene and I have never had any problems with any pests. However, recently I have had thoughts about the health issues of using naphthalene, especially after reading about its hazards. Have any of you tried the new Zensect Moth proofer balls and do they work. Only living in a small town house, I have no room for a freezer.
Important! Last night I discovered a live dermestid larva in a drawer using cedar oil treated cork. I removed it and placed it in an airtight box with two drops of cedar oil. The larva was still alive today, so I'm considering the cedar oil method as a failure. I'm returning immediately to the old method of Vapona strips - much as I dislike them, I can't trust cedar oil to do the job.
I have found that small squares of vapona strip in each draw work very well, and the old squares continue to give protection for a very long time.
It is good to know that cedar oil is not 100% reliable, despite some collectors swearing by it. I think an important point to bear in mind is humidity. Cedar oil may have a preventative action, but I have found that low humidity is very important in keeping pests out of the collection room in the first place as well as a strict quarantine regime for newly arrived specimens. Most pests prefer higher humidity, and just outside my door there are Psocids and Dermestids everywhere, but they don't come into the room because I keep the humidity below 20%.
Annoyingly, I've already converted about 200-250 drawers to cedar oil, so now I'll have to redo them. I'm glad that I discovered the problem now, both for sake of specimens and before I spend more time and effort converting the rest of the drawers. I shouldn't have to check the drawers too thoroughly, since I only began converting them about 6 weeks ago, and I'll depend on Vapona to kill any pests that may have entered during that time. Typically I only change Vapona strips after 4-5 years, and I have never found live pests in any drawer that contains them.
The drawer that had the live larva contains a lot of recently acquired specimens; I assume that it arrived with one of them. Usually new specimens are kept in a bin with Vapona until I set them, but occasionally I set them immediately, assuming that Vapona present in drawers will do the job if any pests are introduced. Adam, that's an interesting point about humidity, and one that I hadn't considered. I wonder whether dermestid species in tropical areas are particularly sensitive to low humidity? Humidity at home is typically in the 40-60% range all year. Occasionally I find a larva near one of my bins with papered specimens, but (so far) never inside one of the bins, as they also contain Vapona.
Tom - yes, FAR more effective and long-lasting. Mothballs are a preventative but I don't think they will actually kill pests that are already present. Vapona is also a health hazard; one can't avoid breathing some of the fumes, but I minimize it as much as possible, and never touch them with bare fingers.
Is there any product that does not cause health hazard? I know freezing is the good method but one have to have large freezer to fit the whole drawer and it is not preventive method . It is just to kill any pests already eating the collection. I wonder what would prevent infestation not really so strong to kill but to avoid the problem.
About the humidity . Does any one use silica gel inside drawers to lower humidity right inside ? I have order them from bioquip but have not received it nor used it yet. Any expiriance with silica use ?
To answer Paul question, I doubt any efficient product would be health hazard-free. You cannot KILL small insects in a large drawer with non-dangerous products. Let's try to find the less dangerous one.
For safety, I personnally trust more the EU regulations which seems to be tougher than the US one. That's why I am using transfluthrin, which is still authorized in Europe, instead of paradichlorobenzen which has been banned.
I have been using the Zensect orange balls that contains transfluthrin for 3 years now and never had any problems. I also put all new arrival in the freezer for at least 2 weeks. About humidity, living in Europe, I have never checked it, but it should be ok.
Zensect balls. I have never seen them in Canada. Bioquip in U.S. nor Paradox in Poland sell them. Where you buy those? Ok I found them on Amazon . And you are right Europe is more strict about chemicals and food stuff.