Pests and Susceptible Archival Material

Some archival material is more susceptible to pests than others. Here are some materials found in archives to monitor for pest infestations:

  • Paper
    • Paper often has gelatin based sizing (sizing is what makes paper slightly water repellant, smooth, and durable). This high protein gelatin sizing is nutritious for pests.
  • Bound Material
    • Leather, vellum, parchment, wood, rabbit skin glue, isinglass glue, and cloth are all found in bound material and targeted by pests, such as silverfish and mice, as sources of food.
  • Leather
    • Leather, and the residual products left on leather from the tanning process and leather dressings, attract pests. There are sugars and salts present that attract beetles, rodents, and silverfish.
  • Gelatin, and Albumen Photographs
    • These photographic processes incorporate high-protein materials such as gelatin and egg whites, making them attractive to pests such as silverfish.

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