15 October 2003
Bugs can cause havoc, and we are not talking about the dreaded computer variety but book lice which can do untold damage to documents such as antiquarian books, papers and fabrics. Document SOS is the leading specialist in recovery and restoration of all paper based documents. Most of the Company's work involves reinstating flood and fire damaged documents but recently the company has seen an increasing number of cases of insect infestation including carpet beetles and book lice (Liposcelis corrodens).
Book lice, also known as paper lice, are about 2mm long and often crawl in large numbers over stored papers, books, walls, furniture, and other materials in damp, warm, undisturbed areas in buildings especially during the spring and summer months. They feed on microscopic moulds and mildew associated with high-humidity conditions. They are harmless but can cause considerable damage to paper.
The most effective and environmentally friendly treatment for dealing with insect infestation of this type is not to use pesticides but to deep freeze the materials at more than -20C for nearly two weeks. This kills the adult insects as well as the larvae and eggs. Sometimes drying is required if the books were damp.
Georgine Thorburn Managing Director of Document SOS says: "Over the long term these insects cause considerable damage. The best way to prevent infestation is to keep the environment dry, ideally below 50% humidity and the temperate below 75C. Books and papers should be stored off the floor and be well ventilated."
Document SOS recently undertook the restoration of over 3000 books at the London College for Psychic Studies, some of which had become badly damaged. The problem was exacerbated by the fact that books had been moved around the library to five separate sites so the infestation had spread rapidly. The documents were successfully and cost effectively treated and reinstated within a fortnight.
Document SOS offers a comprehensive range of services and a prioritised document tracking system to ensure business continuity. Membership of the Document SOS scheme provides organisations with reassurance that an expert will be on site within a few hours of a disaster for an expert review and treatment. The Company is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and carries out detailed risk assessments and the service is bespoke to each organisation. Document SOS is ISO 9001 registered and has been awarded Millennium Product status.
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