Thursday, June 12, 2008

A bit about Moths

I will hardly call myself an expert on clothes moths, but I do know more about them now than I did a year ago.
Unlike other types of moths, clothes moths like the dark. They will actually flee from the lights and try and hide under something.
So no bug zappers.
It is also the larval stage that does the damage. The adults don't have mouths that are able to chew.
As for mothballs, I hate the smell of them. It stays with the fabric forever and anytime it gets damp, you smell that lovely mothball smell once again. The container into which the mothballs are put need to be air tight also otherwise the the vapours slowly dissipates and may slow the larva down, but not kill it. Death of all stages is what we are aiming for.

There are two types of moths that do damage to fibers. The web making moth and the case making moth. At the school I had the web making moths. Here, I have the case making moths.
Both kind lay eggs which hatch in under two weeks. The larval stage can last as little as 40 days or as long as 2 years. And it is here that the insect does the damage. Both kinds of moths like the dark and quite and so are mostly found in things that are being stored as opposed to things that are being used regularly. The case making moth will spin a case for itself as soon as it emerges from the egg and it builds upon this as it eats. The colour of the fiber that it eats will be spun into its cocoon and so acts as camouflage. The larva have most of its body in the cocoon and have their head and few front feet out of the cocoon and so can move around. Apparently you can sometimes find them crawling up the closet wall. A pleasure that I have thankfully not had.

For more information, you can look here.


f. pea said...

Ugh! I hate them too. I am a collector of antique tribal textiles (mostly wool and silk), so of course moths be DAMNED! But I find I have great luck keeping them away. They also need moisture to survive, so I store everything with those little silica gel packs (like you get in a box of shoes) thrown in, and some cedar blocks. Between the two, I never seem to have any problems with my stored woolies. And cedar smells much better than moth balls (and doesn't kill your brain cells).

Christine said...

Yuck, yuck, yuck, yuck...may the force be with you and may those ugly beasties be on the run.

Anonymous said...

Would putting your woolens in a pillow case and tossing them in the drier for a while help? It would be dry heat. Vacuuming the area where you found the moths and tossing the vacuum bag in the garbage might also help. I don't recall ever having to deal with cloth moths but then I don't have a lot of wool like you. How ever I usually put my wool blankets and my wool sweaters plastic bags for the summer.

Good luck with ridding your woolen of moths.


Rhonda the Stitchingnut said...

Wow, I hope I never have the experience of meeting any of those guys ... but now I know what to look for. Creepy.

I am Curious Llama. said...

Thanks for the mothucation. I am interested in f.pea's collection of tribal weavings. I have a few myself (in wool, from the Andes). I was commissioned by a museum in Cambridge (England) to buy some for their collection, so, the best pieces I have ever purchased are hopefully enjoying a moth free life.

Kansas A said...

Horrid things! I get some of those caterpillar moths in my trees and they sure do a lot of damage.