Turning up the heat on pests at Woodford Academy

The Woodford Academy will become the first heritage property in Australia to undergo a “non-toxic” pest control treatment this month.

The groundbreaking process will see the interiors of the academy’s buildings heated to 56 degrees.

The innovative treatment is being undertaken by Modified Atmospheres and Simon de Montemas from Precision Pest Control and targets pests such as borers and silverfish – both of which are notoriously damaging to historic buildings and extremely difficult to eradicate.

“This pest treatment is an important part of the National Trust (NSW)’s ongoing commitment to the conservation of our nation’s built heritage and we are very pleased that we are the first Australian heritage property to undergo this innovative treatment to ensure the Woodford Academy’s buildings and museum collection is appropriately conserved for future generations,” said Elizabeth Burgess, Chair of the Woodford Academy Management Committee.

“This important conservation work would not have been possible without the expertise of the National Trust (NSW) staff and our dedicated team of volunteers who have generously donated many hours of their own time over the summer months to make this project a reality.”

The pest treatment will be accompanied by a symposium on Friday, February 15 along with a public talk by National Trust (NSW) Collections Manager, Rebecca Pinchin, and Alex Roach from Modified Atmospheres for the Academy’s monthly open day on Saturday, February 16.

“The symposium will explore, through a range of  perspectives, new approaches in museum practice and methodologies for the management of insect pests in heritage collections and buildings,” said National Trust (NSW) Collections Manager, Rebecca Pinchin.

“It will highlight and discuss the treatment of the buildings at Woodford Academy, established in the 1830s, with heat, explore the challenges posed by an undertaking on this scale, and share the solutions found to the problems encountered. This is particularly relevant to regional collections held in historic buildings.”

The industry symposium and public open day will be accompanied by ‘Dust: An exhibition about insects, collections and care’, which brings together artists and museum professionals to explore the processes of collection care underway at the museum.

Developed by local Blue Mountains artist Jacqueline Spedding, Dust celebrates the work of Spedding’s fellow artists and museum colleagues who have backgrounds in art and science.