A case study involving a comprehensive inspection to discriminate between old and active pest infestations is described. Integrated pest management (IPM) processes within the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), Smithsonian Institution, Division of Mammals (DOM) are challenging because of the size and composition of the collection, the age of storage equipment, and a low staffing to specimen ratio. Each specimen cabinet was inspected by IPM technicians during a 6-week period in late 2012. Following that inspection, two members of the NMNH collections program technician team began a 9-week project to clean 5,925 incidents in the affected cabinets in DOM storage areas in the Natural History Building downtown. The results of this project show that cleaning up a pest infestation in any natural history collection can be done in a reasonable amount of time and will help ensure the preservation of collections in the future. Knowing that the collections have been fully inspected and cleaned will allow staff in the DOM to easily and rapidly address future IPM issues in a structured way. Such efforts facilitate future IPM inspections because evidence of any new pest activity is no longer at risk of being overlooked due to debris from past infestations.

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Author notes

Associate Editor.— Christine Johnson