When it comes to securely filing and storing papers and documents, one of the most overlooked aspects is infestation.
Most organizations and companies will have some basic plan or strategy to protect their vital documents and papers from the most obvious disasters that can cause the loss or destruction of documents. Some examples would include theft, fires, flooding and typhoons. However, for most businesses and organizations that store and file large quantities of documents, the idea of document infestation won’t even cross their minds. The main reason for this is because this type of disaster is more obscure than the more common ones.
Many insects and rodents can be attracted to records storage areas in search of food and shelter. Although ants, moths and spiders are unlikely to cause much damage to paper and documents, they may attract other pests that do common problematic pests that include rats, mice, silverfish and cockroaches.
Silverfish and termites are by far the most destructive pests to papers and documents. This is because they produce considerable damage in a short period of time, and are only noticeable when an item is retrieved or their habitat is disturbed.
To reduce the possibility of pest damage to your documents, you should:
- Keep the storage area clean at all times, dust can be a breeding ground for insects and mould.
- Do not eat in the storage area where documents are secured. (Food scraps attract pests)
- Regularly check storage areas for outbreaks of insects or rodents.
- Control the humidity where documents are stored. (Where there is condensation or moisture, there is usually a presence of mould, fungi, insect and rodents that cause infestation).
Paper materials contain proteins and carbohydrates that are attractive to insects. The extent and nature of damage depends on the insect type, material, and how promptly the infestation is discovered and dealt with. Damage can vary widely, from a few holes in the documents, to complete destruction.
The most common type of insects that attack paper objects are:
- Case-bearing clothes moth
- Powder post beetles
- Deathwatch beetles
- Carpet beetles
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