Pests are a huge problem for a museum and employees are encouraged to be ever vigilant to keep an eye out for potential problems. That was the case a couple weeks ago when Brian Brown, the Entomology curator, sent out an email to keep everyone on the lookout for a pest that keeps popping up, the Stout's Hardwood Borer. As the name suggests, it is a beetle that has an affinity for eating up hardwoods such as oak, maple and eucalyptus and can cause a lot of structural damage as well as damaging artifacts. Anyway, I took the email as an interesting anecdote to my job at a museum, but I didn't think I'd actually find one.
But I did!!! I spotted it on my way to lunch hanging out above the doorway to a stairwell. I got really excited and started to panic (as I am wont to do when I'm excited). I really wanted to capture it alive and give it to the Entomology people, but just as I grabbed a cup to capture it, someone tried to smash it! Yes, it is a pest; yes, it should die, but it should be kept whole so it is easier to identify! Luckily, the ham-fisted, would-be smasher missed and I caught it and promptly gave it to Giar-Ann Kung, Entomology Curatorial Assistant.
I thought that was that until Giar-Ann sent me a photo of my little Stout's Hardwood Borer all pretty and pinned in the Entomology collection! It even has my name on it! So. Proud.