Moth alert, Part 3

Introduction:

Last night while working with my dyed silks in our lounge down the hall, a clothes moth happened to fly by. I couldn’t belief it! It had the nerve to fly over my worktable and I dropped my needle and gave it a lethal swat. Then I took its photo: front and back. I was looking for the golden whiskers mentioned in the previous post! I saved it until I got back home and photographed it again with a penny for scale. Now I think it’s time to throw it in the garbage.

A few more responses came in for my last moth report. One person wanted people to know the important fact that moths don’t like light and certainly don’t fly around a light bulb like other moths. That fact reminds me not to let clothes hang in dark closets without wearing them, or shaking them out, or airing in the sun on occasion. Several places on the web say if you want to store things, do in plastic and seal the seams. Moths can eat through a cloth bag.


They like body oils and oils in fleeces. I once (in the 70’s) hung a couple of fleeces in my loom room because I thought it looked neat. When I took them down and looked inside, it was awful. One year I didn’t wash my main sweater in the spring and left it in the drawer. The next fall, it was crawling, too. And a cashmere bathrobe from my mother-in-law languished in the back of the closet when I stopped wearing it and a mess as was on the dress next to it.


One person suggested they put trimmings of cedar in with the wools when they pruned the trees. A word of warning: cedar only kills young larvae, not older ones or eggs! And the effect fades as the scent dies.


One person wrote from the Philippines that they were battling termites.


More Moth Advice

 I got comments with more moth advice and I spent a very few minutes on the web.


If you get moth traps, be sure to get the type for cloth moths, not for food moths. This is a cloth moth. I love the description maybe from Wikipedia. “The adult moth is gold with reddish-golden hairs on the top of its head. A row of golden hairs fringes its wings, which have a span of about ½ inch.” When I’ve  swatted one of those tiny things, I’ve never noticed the golden hairs! They are tiny but “swat-able.”

What the traps do is attract the males and then they get stuck to the sticky surface inside.

Besides freezing, one person wrote that heat in an oven can kill all the cycles of the moth and gave this informative website: https://www.pesticide.org/moths_clothes

Be sure to date the moth traps and replace every six months.


I tried to find a picture of the debris often seen around where moths have been found. It is white sort of silky and web like. That may be why the moths are called webbing clothes moths. This shows the larvae and eggs, too.


Another comment: “I had a ton of clothes moths in the house; they started from the dog hair under the dish cabinet and spread out around the house. I vacuumed all the wool rugs, both sides each week for a year, vacuumed everywhere else (threw out the vacuum cleaner bag after each vacuuming), sealed all the woolens in plastic bags, and double-bagged my fleeces with the thickest plastic bags I could find. It took 2 years of constant work, but I did it. During the summer I still place the indicators in various areas of the house to find early problems. After several moth-free years I got stupid and brought in a fleece with 12″ locks that I didn’t quarantine and got moths again last year. Sigh…”


You can even buy an iPhone case with moths pictured on it.


A Textile Lover’s Fruit Bowl

I noticed my fruit bowl today and thought not many people have balls of yarn mixed with their apples and oranges. The balls of yarn were there waiting to go into my freezer. The reason: To stop moths from multiplying and eating holes in my wool things. To prevent that: do the following: Put the wool item in the freezer for two days. Take it out for two days. Put it back into the freezer for two more days. The time out allows any eggs to hatch and the freezer zaps them with the second incarceration. This is serious advice used by serious textile people. When they bring home something, it goes straight into the freezer.


I noticed a moth flying around when I was at the computer the other day. I ordered moth traps immediately. I set one up near some other wool yarn that I was suspicious of.


I looked tonight and saw I’d caught one. It’s the larvae that do the harm but flying moths make eggs which make larvae and then turn into more moths. Catching the moths stops the cycle.


I have had this moth trap hanging over my closet for a long time and I can see it’s doing its job. What this means is that I haven’t been religious about the freezer treatment. I discovered a couple of wool garments from trips that had a hole or two –or worse—larvae casings! Then they went to the freezer for sure.