Disinfection by heat
Heat treatment for infested collection items is an effective method for assuring 100% efficacy in killing insect pests. In addition, it is a method that can be carried out in situ and has been applied at scales ranging from small individual objects to entire multi-story buildings. It is particularly useful for treating large immovable items with minimal impact on surrounding operations. Heat treatment can also be a good option where resources are limited.
A short exposure of 55oC (130oF) is sufficient for eradication of all life stages of insects (Strang, 1992). The limiting factor for treatment is the time needed to heat through the affected object. Thus, it will take longer for the effective temperature to reach the center of thick or dense items that are effective thermal insulators, than for thin and more thermally conductive items. Temperature probes may be necessary to insure that the required temperature has been reached. A useful thermal treatment guide (for both low temperature treatment and heat treatment) including estimated treatment times can be found in Strang and Kigawa, 2009.
b-Cat offers planning and building complete and custom made Heat Treatment Chambers for museums, collection and storage facilities. The chamber System is a tailor-made system made to almost any reasonable size to suit specific requirements. They can also be designed with large doors making them uniquely suitable for use as a “quarantine station” for treatment museum loan exhibits for example, or where there are many objects frequently moving in and out of storage.
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