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Mysterious Insect Eating Historical Document

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By Andrew Reed

Shoshone, Idaho (KMVT-TV) Paper-eating insects are destroying historical documents in Lincoln County.

The records include judgments, birth certificates, marriage licenses, land deeds and permits.

Tiny insects have taken over the Lincoln County courthouse.

County officials discovered historical documents damaged while working on an effort to digitize its older, paper records.

"We were locating the records that we plan to photograph and in the process; books and boxes had to be moved and I came across some that were in really bad condition, they had been eaten by insects” said Don Hudson, Document Photographer.

The exterminator the county hired told officials the bug is inactive, and could be a worm or fly.

The county plans to fog the vault with a pesticide to make sure no future damage will happen.

Lincoln County keeps all older documents in a vault underneath the courthouse. When volunteers were going through the documents they noticed two court judgment books from the 1930's completely destroyed.

"I didn't see any crawling critters, what they left behind was there lots of paper dust and bug droppings, but I didn't see any live bugs at all” said Don Hudson, Document Photographer.

County commissioner Roy Hubert stressed none of the documents have been neglected and the records are treasure to the state.

"We have to do everything in our power to preserve permanent records for the county” said Roy Hubert Commissioner, Lincoln County.

History that doesn't have a backup file, and will be gone forever.

For more information about the Silver Fish insect and Fire Brat insect that maybe eating through documents go to insects.tamu.edu/fieldguide/aimg2.html



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