Report from the IFLA Sri Lanka PAC Centre – Testing Aqua Fumigator (Cyphenothrin 72%) against insect pests of library books in Sri Lanka

The IFLA PAC Center of Sri Lanka conducted recent research on pest control. The members of the advisory committee of Sri Lanka IFLA PAC Center provided their support and expert assistance in this study.

Cyphenothrin 72%- Aqua Fumigator is a well known commercial product which has been used in Sri Lanka to control library pests since the 1990s. The product was not imported during the last few years due to delay of local chemical registration processes to reimport. An experiment was designed to measure the effectiveness of fumigation to advise the librarians in the country.

Lasioderma serricorne, or Cigarette beetle (left),  Lepisma saccharina, or Silverfish (middle), and subterranean termites (right)

Lasioderma serricorne, or Cigarette beetle (left), Lepisma saccharina, or Silverfish (middle), and subterranean termites (right)

Insets damage (photo Udaya Cabral)

Insets damage (photo Udaya Cabral)

The fumigations were carried out in two different libraries in Kandy and Colombo against common library pest species in the country:, subterranean termites, silverfish (Lepisma saccharina) and Cigarette beetles (Lasioderma serricorne). Library books containing live pests were arranged on a wooden table of 3 x 2 square feet surface area. A thick transparent polythene sheet was laid over the books and the edges of the sheet were sealed to the edge of the table using a cello tape leaving a small gap to insert the canister inside. One canister of Aqua Fumigator – Cyphenothrin 72% was applied to 3 cubic feet. Paper materials of newspaper (mechanically wood pulp paper), 70gsm photocopy paper (chemical wood pulp paper) were also placed inside the polythene sheet to examine the effect of chemical to the paper. After treatment the polythene cover was opened. The room was fully aerated, and books were taken out from the polythene chamber to make observations. 95% of Lepisma saccharina and subterranean termites were seen dead at the time of opening the treated books. The rest were found dead after another 10 minutes in open air. In another treatment we found active beetles indicating that there was no effect of the chemical on the Lasioderma serricorne.

Fumigation of test material using Aqua Fumigator – Cyphenothrin 72%

Fumigation of test material using Aqua Fumigator – Cyphenothrin 72% (photo Udaya Cabral)

Examination of fumigated items (photo Udaya Cabral)

Examination of fumigated items (photo Udaya Cabral)

Newspaper and photocopy paper were analyzed by Fourier-transform infrared spectrometer (FTIR) to examine the chemical effect of the fumigation of the paper. Changes were not observed in both paper samples of newspaper and photocopy paper before the treatment and after the treatment. FTIR spectrums conformed fumigation had not affected paper samples or their composition.

news paper treatment

paper treatment

This well known and trusted aqua Fumigator Cyphenothrin 72% did not achieve a reaction against the most common library pest species of Lasioderma serricorne. Librarians are advised to not to rely on such chemical in the future and to make arrangements to strengthen the integrated pest management practices in the library.

Udaya Cabral, Head of Conservation and Preservation Division, National Library, Sri Lanka

 

 


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