Sunday, May 2, 2010

Moths in the stash... and the cupboard... and the ugg boots

I had a friend ask me what to do about moths:

The little green sweater I have on here has been eaten by moths. Just about everything in our house that’s woollen has. It’s really getting out of control. At the moment only things that have been on or near the floor, like clothes in bags in the wardrobe or under the bed and uggboots and slippers so I think they were in the house when we came here, not brought in. I noticed a couple of holes in a woollen skivi last year but just thought I had snagged it on something. That must have been when it started and they’ve reproduced a lot over summer. It’s terrible. I had a beautiful little woollen bag that was made for me by my Japanese grandmother when I stayed there for two weeks back in 2002 and they ate through it completely! Normally moths seem to pop in, have a bit of a munch and then disappear and you find the evidence of them a few months later. This time they were crawling all over it and on the floor where it was sitting! They ate holes in the first jumper I ever knitted too. Anyway…this is my long winded way of asking if you have any tips for getting rid of moths. I kind of want to avoid moth balls cause they’re horribly toxic and Myles is getting into everything. They seem to be everywhere though and spreading so fast. I’ve never seen anything like it. They swarm! They seem to prefer wool over cotton and silk at the moment but I figure it wont take them long. The thought of going through everything and discovering all the things they may or may not have eaten is a little depressing. Oh I don’t even like to think about my poor wool stash!
And I replied:

The moths sound terrible! The non-chemical ways I can think is to get everything you can find that is woolly, and put it in dark plastic garbage bags, and leave them in the sun for a week or so. Leave it outside in fact as the alternating cold and heat will kill them. Little things can go into the freezer though. It will take a week to kill them. Bin anything that has been obviously eaten though.

Then you'll need to use pyrethrin (hardware store - organic, derived from chrysanthamums) to clean the house of them. You can also get pyrethrin traps (pantry moth traps) to get them. Everything then needs to be stored in airtight containers.

Moths tend to go for wool that is not scrupulously clean, such as ugg boots. Anything that isn't eaten should be cleaned thoroughly - wool wash, dried in the sun, and then stored in airtight containers with cloves, lavender, camphor and/or eucalyptus (essential oil on a piece of cotton taped in the top of the container, or on wood beads done the same way, with bay leaves sprinkled through as well).

It's a HUGE pain in the bum to get rid of them. I had this happen to me in Sydney because my pantry was infested and they also got into my stash and my coats. But I'm really sensitive to chemicals so couldn't dry clean and exterminate with chemicals. But you will have to check your stash...
So what are your suggestions? Anything else I've missed?

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