Destructive insect pests have been found within museums before, and several incidents involving termite destruction to important artifacts have been documented. Although an infested museum can see termite damages, many museum buildings are made from materials that are not attractive to termites. The floors of museums often consist of cold linoleum or other non-wood materials, and the wide open spaces in many museums make foraging a challenge for termites. These wide open spaces also increase the likelihood that a museum employee or guest will notice a termite presence, making infestations noticeable or unlikely to occur. Of course, there are many different types of museums, and not all exhibits are located within modern buildings that were designed to host large groups of people. For example, living history museums often consist of historically notable homes or other structures that are professionally maintained in order to remain standing despite their old age. In these types of museums, termites can be a big problem since most old structures are made from wood. One particularly opulent museum located in Miami, Florida became infested with termites a few years ago. Unfortunately, this museum was a century old Italian-style Villa that contained dozens of rooms containing classically styled wood-constructed furniture.
Back during the Summer of 2014, A room at the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens became infested with both termites and beetles. The luxurious Lady Hamilton Bedroom in the Vizcaya house had undergone a unique form of termite eradication that was designed to kill termites while still protecting fragile objects of value from damage. Given the high value of many delicate objects within the room, such as old furniture items that were still in perfect condition, furniture experts and pest control professionals decided to use the delicate termite eradication method known as “anoxia”. This eradication method alters the air composition within a room in order to kill insects. This method proved to be a success, as the termites were eradicated while the museum’s valuable artifacts were preserved. Today the Vizcaya house still stands as a monument to a bygone era when ornate mediterranean architecture from the 18th and 19th centuries were commonplace in wealthy areas in America’s south. The museum is visited by many tourists from different areas of the world.
Do you believe that historic structures in Florida should be, or already are inspected for termites more than once a month due to the abundance and diversity of termite pests in the state?