National Trust’s unwelcome pests

The National Trust has said they have come under attack by several pests that could potentially cause irreversible damage. The organisation has confirmed that a rare Chinese wallpaper, 18th century furniture and tweed knickerbockers that were worn by playwriter George Bernard Shaw have been damaged.

The National Trust regularly lay down traps to deal with the pest problems, and statistics show that the number of pests from 2014 and 2019 have gone from 178 to a huge 356. Items suffering from pest damage include books, wallpaper, curtains, furniture ornaments and rush matting.

The pests are in a few locations across the UK, including Devon, Hertfordshire, Suffolk and Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire where Mary Queen of Scots was filmed. They are suffering from silverfish, woolly bears, carpet beetles, clothes moths

Nigel Blades, who is The Trust’s preventative conservation advisor for interior environmental conditions has said “Insect damage to objects is not new – we know, for instance, that textiles and foodstuffs from as far back as ancient Egypt suffered from insect infestations. Fortunately, only a tiny proportion of insect species in the UK attack or eat historic material. However, a small percentage of these have the potential to become serious pests and can cause irreversible damage to collections in a short period of time.”

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