Some insects, like silverfish, cockroaches and beetles, are attracted to paper and cardboard. This means that document storage can be vulnerable to insect infestation, particularly if there are a concentrated number of documents in one easy-to-access location. These tips will help you avoid an inconvenient and unpleasant infestation.
Provide Proper Storage Conditions
Prevention through proper storage is your first line of defense. Keep your documents in a room that is cool and clean, with low humidity, at a facility like Easy Self Storage & The Archive Center. Have a dedicated room for your record storage, away from any food preparation areas. Ideally, the documents will be enclosed in plastic tubs, and free of dust. Cardboard boxes offer little protection, as cardboard is often food for insects that also eat paper.
Check Documents Periodically for Damage
Looking in on your documents on a regular basis will help you catch problems early. This is especially important if the building where the office is has been known to have insect problems in the past. Note that offices in empty warehouses and older buildings may be especially susceptible to this type of problem.
When you're looking through the document room, inspect the papers for brown streaks, black specks, signs of blood or random inexplicable stains. Signs of damage like fraying book covers and damaged or chewed pages could indicate an insect problem. Inspect the outside of any cardboard boxes for tiny holes, indications that insects have eaten through the box.
Inspections will be easier if you set glue traps out in the office. Lay the glue traps along the walls, behind doors, in corners and between stacks of boxes. If there are any insects in the room, some of them are likely to get caught on the glue traps. Check glue traps each time you inspect the room.
If your records room does become infested, these solutions will help you manage the problem without losing your documents.
- Hire a pest control expert. Find an experienced pest control professional who has experience dealing with eliminating insects while preserving paper documents where the insects may be living. Be careful not to use insecticide that can sicken humans who later handle the documents.
- Freeze the documents. If your records are old, fragile and valuable, insecticide may be too damaging. Freezing documents and books can actually kill insects without doing damage. To de-bug your records, place the documents in bags and freeze them in temperatures below -3 degrees Fahrenheit for 3 or 4 days.
- Make digital backups. If at all possible, start transferring your paper records to digital storage. Digital storage takes up less room and does not attract insects.
If your record storage room becomes infested with insects, it's only a matter of time before the rest of your office will be infested. By taking the right steps, you can control the situation and prevent the problem from becoming unmanageable.