Its our experience that insects that damage books are mainly attacking spine. This is because the spine receives liberal amount of adhesive while book making.
After eradicating all the various stages of insects thriving in the books, book conservators repair damaged and deteriorated bound materials. We treat them further so that readers/researchers can consult them without further damage. Artistic features of a book, such as decorative, structural and printing (if present) characteristics, are of great interest to bibliographers and social historians, and where possible, conservators at our lab seek to stabilize problems with minimal treatment in order to preserve these qualities.
Treatment: Fumigation or Modified micro-environment
Problem of insects that damage books is generally sorted by fumigation. But the process of fumigation involves use of harmful chemicals that are bad for not only the people involved in the execution of the treatment and other staff, but also pollutes the environment. Since last few decades many alternative methods are being researched for efficacy against insects that eat books.
Among the alternative treatments like low temperature, high or low energy radiation treatment etc, Modified micro-environment with anoxia as the main curative component of the procedure, is extremely safe in addition to being effective.
All of the insect species that are known to damage books are eradicated by storing the infested books in the isolated micro-environment for 8 days. All the various stages of the insects are taken care of.
The results of various studies done till now show that the time required to kill 100% of the insects varied among species and even among the developmental stages of a given species. For most insects tested, exposures of less than 72 hours were required to insure complete kill. Certain stages, such as eggs of cigarette beetles, may require up to 8-day exposures to insure complete kill.
Users of “the modified micro-environment” treatment will easily achieve and maintain the desired anoxic environment of less than 0.3% oxygen in a chamber if the proper tools and materials are used. This is because the enclosure will have a low oxygen leak rate when it is well made of oxygen-barrier film and the appropriate number of oxygen-absorbing packets as per the manufacturer’s labeled capacity is placed in it.