Integrated Pest Management (IPM)


Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a proactive program, utilizing techniques that minimize or even eliminate the use of chemicals, that is designed to determine whether there is a pest problem that needs to be addressed or whether there are buildings maintenance or operation issues that need to be improved to reduce the likelihood of an infestation in the future.

IPM is preferred to chemical spraying for several reasons. First and foremost, researchers are discovering that a wide variety of chemicals found in pesticides can have a disruptive effect on a person’s neurological, respiratory, immune, and endocrine systems, even at relatively low dosages. Decreased use of chemical application will reduce risks to the health of staff members. Also, pesticides, particularly those in oil-based solutions, will chemically interact with paper, film and digital media. Decreased use of chemical applications will reduce the risk of deterioration and disfigurement of holdings.

The Preservation department has been conducting IPM monitoring activities in several special collections library spaces since 2007. A summary of findings from monitoring these spaces can be found in the IPM Annual Reports . In 2010, Preservation began providing supplies and training for staff interested in starting an IPM monitoring program in departmental libraries. For more information about IPM in your library, contact the Head of Preservation.


The first step in setting up an IPM program is to determine the level of insect activity in the collection. Although a small amount of insect activity is inevitable and acceptable, a large population of destructive pests can be extremely threatening to the collection. Insect activity is best observed by trapping insects and recording their presence. Departmental Libraries should contact the Preservation Department for free traps.


Traps should be labeled (date / trap name or #) and placed methodically around the collection space with their locations denoted on a floor plan. If you do not have a floor plan for your departmental library, visit the ADA accessibility page for rudimentary floor plans of most University buildings. Invertebrate pests are attracted to sources of natural light and/or gravitate towards water and food sources. In addition, traps should be placed in pest runways – along baseboards or window edges. Therefore, traps should be placed near or in the following locations with glue traps flush with the wall:

  • Drains and water sources
  • Building entry points (doors, windows, air vents)
  • Areas where food is routinely present
  • Floors below ground level

The number and spacing of the traps will be decided both by the square footage of the library and the risk of infestation. For example, the Spurlock Museum at the University of Illinois has 91 traps throughout the building. There is approximately 1 trap per 400 square feet of space in areas with a high risk of infestation. There is approximately 1 trap per 1000 square feet in areas with a low risk of infestation. Conversely, there are only 5 traps in the storage space of the Oak Street Library Facility due to its extremely low risk of infestation. At the outset, it is recommended to place a large number of traps throughout the facility and allow them to remain in the same location for a year of seasonal change. Additional traps may be added in specific locations where high insect activity is detected, and traps that do not see insect activity may be culled. Generally traps should not be removed until inactivity is confirmed over a one year period.

Reporting & Standard Response to IPM Inquiries

The Library staff is encouraged to report any pest sightings to Library Facilities and to the Preservation department.


Standard Response to IPM Inquiries  – Click here for  updates on the IPM Program Edits
Step 1
Staff reports pest sightings using t he web form helps to alert both Facilities & Preservation of any pest issues. It will also help us keep a log of all of the pest sightings reported to us by staff in areas where Preservation does not keep monitoring traps.
Step 2

Reporting staff should take initial cleaning measures-removes food crumbs, wipes up old spills, etc.

Step 3 Library Facilities will asses the severity of issue and determine course of action- i.e. whether to continue to monitor or call Water Station immediately.
Step 4 Review of staff and patron compliance with the U of I Library Employee Food and Drink Policy .
Library Facilities will check that Library staff are utilizing food trash cans and emptying daily and ensure that BSW staff are emptying trash weekly .

Clean and de-clutter space (wipe down, change trash, etc.)
Library Facilities can provide cleaning supplies for the staff and spot cleaning of areas of consumption.
  • If a spill occurs on the floor or furniture the Office of Library Facilities must be notified immediately at 217-333-0317.
  • If a spill occurs on the computer equipment Library IT must be notified immediately at 217-244-4688.
Step 5 Monitoring – temporary monitor traps will be placed in the areas and Library Facilities & Preservation will continue to monitor for the next two weeks.

In Case of an Infestation

Library Facilities will contact the Water Station to request pest control treatment/service. This is a last resort, as we strive to deal with pest control in the safest, most natural way possible.

  • Library staff should avoid applying unvetted chemical products to avoid polluting the workplace and affect human and collection resources.

The Water Station honors requests in the order they were received.

While the Library waits for service:

  • The Office of Library Facilities will quarantine infected materials with the assistance of Preservation.
  • Cleaning of the space will occur.
  • Situation will continue to be monitored.
  • After area is sprayed, deep cleaning (including carpet cleaning if necessary) will be requested.

Identifying and Tracking

A staff member should be assigned to the responsibility of performing routine IPM monitoring. This will ensure a regularity and centralized authority for the quality control of the program. Once the program has begun traps should be collected on a scheduled basis, roughly monthly. In order to collect these findings, the preservation staff have created folders for individual departmental libraries on the G: drive within the IPM folder (G:PresConsPublicEnvironmental MonitoringIPM). Within the folder, a copy of the Excel file “IPM Tracking Template” should be made and modified for that particular library (The BLANK IPM tracking Excel can also be found within the IPM folder). The Excel file is broken into worksheets for each month, a photo reference of commonly trapped pests, a short ReadMe detailing the use of the Excel, Seasonal comparisons and charts, and a worksheet totaling all pests caught in that year.

Each monthly worksheet in the Excel file should be filled out with the locations, descriptions of placement, and # for each trap placed in the library space. When traps are collected at the end of the month, that month’s worksheet should be filled out with the amounts of each pest caught on each trap.

These records, over a series of trapping cycles, will show if there are areas that should be watched more closely. In addition, through generating reports and charts over a period of time, they may also provide the annual cycle of insect populations within the library so that preparations and staff awareness can help to guard against increases in populations.

Most insect identification can be accomplished by referencing the Photo Reference worksheet on the tracking Excel sheet. This pest photo reference is also web-mounted: Pest Photo Reference Table . For those pests not covered by the Photo Reference, consider checking our additional identification resources , or email your IPM contact in Preservation (typically the Preservation graduate assistant or Head of Preservation). Once the information has been recorded, full traps should be replaced with a clean trap (labeled and dated) and live specimens can be released or disposed of properly. Dead specimens and used traps should be disposed of, preferably outside the facility.

Rarely, live rodents may walk over the glue trap and stick instantly, unable to budge. This is both cruel to the rodent and unsanitary for humans (as trapped mice urinate and defecate on the trap out of fear, creating a potential health problem for humans). If you discover live rodents on a glue trap, you can loosen the glue and safely release the trapped animal outside the facility. Wearing gloves, add vegetable oil to neutralize the glue and, with a pencil, gently push the rodent off the trap.


A majority of insect activity within a library can be eliminated through proper habitat modification. Although the university library already has a policy restricting food and drink consumption and preparation to a specific area of the building, it is imperative that a food and drink policy be enforced. In areas where food is allowed, good housekeeping is essential. This area should have a regular cleaning schedule to help reduce the risk of invertebrate pest infestation and garbage receptacles should be tightly sealed and removed daily to remove food sources for pests. In addition to food and drink, plants should not be allowed anywhere in the collection area or in staff offices. Wet soil and dead plant matter can all lead to supporting insect populations. Unfortunately, creating strategy is easy, but implementing it is very difficult. Nevertheless, a properly modified habitat will decrease the risk of an infestation and prevent it from swelling in numbers if an infestation does occur.

Small Infestation

If an increase in insect activity is located in a particular section of the collection, isolate the infested material as quickly as possible. Remove the infested section away from the rest of the collection and place items in small sealable plastic bags. In order to kill all life stages of the insects, the materials should be labeled and sent to the Conservation Lab at the Oak Street Library Facility for blast freezing treatment. Although most items can withstand blast freezing, some materials are too fragile and may be damaged in the process, therefore blast freezing may not be appropriate for all infested library materials.

Large Infestation

If local blast freezing is not a possibility, eradication of the insect infestation is most likely accomplished by chemical control and applied through the University of Illinois Facilities and Services Department (UI F&S). The use of any substance (especially insecticide) directly on collection materials is not recommended. Generally, invertebrate infestations are not controlled chemically unless they present a significant and immediate danger to the building or the collections. However, silverfish, beetle, termite and cockroach infestations should be chemically controlled as soon as possible, as these organisms may pose significant risk to any collection. Before treated materials are returned to the collection, the infested area should be thoroughly cleaned of all debris.

Identification Resources

University of Illinois Preservation Photo Reference

This tool should be your first reference point for identification of typical pests. It was developed by Preservation staff specifically for use at University of Illinois libraries. The table contains information about bugs that commonly appear on traps here, including common and scientific name, adult and often larval images, and notes relating to the bug. it can be found online (click the header for link) and as a part of every tracking Excel file.

Bug Guide


More than just a clearinghouse for information, this site helps expand on the natural histories of insects. By capturing the place and time that submitted images were taken, they are creating a virtual collection that helps define where and when things might be found. A clickable guide of identification makes this site a great resource for beginners.

Pests and Diseases Image Library


This website is excellent for obtaining multiple-angle views of individual pests. However, this site is based in Australia, and is therefore missing many insects that would be considered common in Illinois. This site is most easily navigated by searching by scientific name.

A Field Guide to Insects

(White, Richard E. and Donald J. Borror. A Field Guide to Insects. Second Edition. New York: Houghton Mifflin., 1998.)

Detailed descriptions of insect orders, families, and many individual species are illustrated with 1,300 drawings and 142 superb color paintings. Illustrations – which use the unique Peterson Identification System to distinguish one insect from another – include size lines to show the actual length of each insect. A helpful glossary explains the technical terms of insect anatomy.

National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Insects and Spiders

(National Audubon Society. National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Insects and Spiders. New York: Knopf, 1980.)

Spiders, bugs, moths, butterflies, beetles, bees, flies, dragonflies, grasshoppers, and many other insects are detailed in more than 700 full-color photographs visually arranged by shape and color. Descriptive text includes measurements, diagnostic details, and information on habitat, range, feeding habits, sounds or songs, flight period, web construction, life cycle, behaviors, folklore, and environmental impact. An illustrated key to the insect orders and detailed drawings of the parts of insects, spiders, and butterflies supplement this extensive coverage.

Pest Management in Museums, Archives, and Historic Houses

(Pinniger, David. Pest Management in Museums, Archives, and Historic Houses. Denbigh, Clwyd : Archetype Publications., 2001.)

The book begins with an introduction on what insects are and why they should be a cause for concern. The author compares pests in museums to those in commercial and industrial premises and gives clear descriptions, accompanied by drawings, of the structure of insects and life cycles of the most common museum pests. The second part classifies pests by the damage they cause rather than by taxonomic features.