Question on "fumigating" herbarium specimens

Kent E. Holsinger kent at DARWIN.EEB.UCONN.EDU
Tue May 11 15:33:17 CDT 1999


We are fortunate enough to be faced with a problem. Soon we will be
moving our collections into a new facility. One of the things we will
do in transferring the specimens from our present facility to the new
one, is treat all of them for possible pest insect infestation. We
currently freeze all specimens entering the herbarium for a week or
more and have planned to do the same as we move collections to the new
facility. This has the advantage of avoiding noxious insecticides, but
it ensures that the seeds of many tropical plants are killed. Some
types of systematic research require living seeds, e.g., crossing
studies, common garden studies, chromosome studies. Once frozen such
studies are no longer possible on many tropical plant species.

We would very much appreciate any ideas on alternative pest control
methods for herbarium specimens, methods that kill insect pests, but
not the seeds on the specimens.

You can send your replies to the list, to Les Mehrhoff
(vasculum at, to me (Kent at Darwin.EEB.UConn.Edu), or to
Greg Anderson (ander at

Thanks for your help.


P.S. If there is interest, I will summarize the replies to the list.

Kent E. Holsinger                Kent at Darwin.EEB.UConn.Edu
-- Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
-- University of Connecticut, U-43
-- Storrs, CT   06269-3043

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