Insects

The most common insects in the Harvard University Herbaria are silverfish, cockroaches, and beetles, primarily the Herbarium Beetle. Curator Genevieve Lewis-Gentry says that she often sees silverfish scuttling over her keyboard and swarming in spaces within the herbaria. Cockroaches, most commonly the American, German and Oriental, can be seen creeping along the shadows and edges of walls in the basement. Beetle damage is recognized by the small holes they leave as they eat through paper and specimens. Beetle larvae cause much damage as they eat their way to adulthood, crawling and munching through materials. When freezing specimens, temperatures must be low enough to kill not only the adult insects, but also their eggs. Low temperatures, low humidity, and a clean, secure building are the best prevention for insects.

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Oriental Cockroach donated by the Harvard Entomology Department
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American Cockroach donated by the Harvard Entomology Department
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Cigarette Beetle donated by the Harvard Entomology Department