Beetles: a conservator's nightmare

By Culture24 Staff | 11 May 2009
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A picture of a person attending to armour

Staff at Melford Hall in Sudbury (above) take on beetles, dust and daylight

Here's a science story for the keen naturalists in your class: beetles are great but what happens when they're destroying national treasures?

Find out more at Melford Hall and go behind the scenes with staff on Saturday 2 May at their ‘Dust, Daylight and Little Horrors’ event, which will kick off their Conservation Month, 2009.

Melford Hall, the Sudbury mansion bearing treasured cargo from Spanish galleons, naval painting collections and Beatrix Potter memorabilia, has decided to embrace the perils of dust, daylight and pests with a Conservation Month, brandishing insights into preservation efforts and an exhibition of the "weird and wonderful" weapons used to keep floors shiny and shrubs blooming.

House Manager Josephine Sharpe has had to remain stringent after the Hall chanced upon a new threat last winter in the form of the Guernsey carpet beetle.

"This is one of the first known recordings of the beetle at a National Trust property in the East of England, but it is well established throughout Britain and is starting to become a significant nuisance nationally," she surmised, exuding the concerned solemnity of a Government official discussing visitors from Mexico.

"It's probably more common than we think, but is often mistaken for the very similar and better known varied carpet beetle. Nevertheless, it's important that we remove pests such as this when we find them. As a major pest of textiles, they will eat most natural fibres such as carpets and curtains."

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