Saturday, February 06, 2010

Know your enemy

Over the past couple of weeks a strange cycle has developed in my apartment. I'll be minding my own business when the b.f. suddenly starts clapping his hands in the air. Then he says the word that I don't want the here; "Moth!".

"Moth? What moth? We don't have moths!" I say, trying to convince myself. All the while thinking what a wonderful shangri-la my abode would be for hungry moth larvae. There's more wool than air in this place!

Last weekend I smartened up and decided denial would get me nowhere. I declared war! I took my yarn from here:
To here:

I figured a couple of nights on my porch in the middle of February might help freeze anything that was in there. Then I organized a mass evacuation of wool sweaters, jackets and pants from my closets. I washed my sweaters in Eucalan and decided to store them in my cedar chest when dry. Jackets and pants went to the cleaners (chemical warfare). Hats and scarves joined their yarn-y brethren out on the cold front-lines.

With my stash successfully divided and conquered, I sat down with my good friend Wikipedia to do some research to prevent further enemy invasion. Some of you may be questioning why I didn't do my research first. Heh-heh. I'm asking myself the same question.

Allow me to share what I learned so that you may learn from my mistake.

The clothing moth: aka carpet moth, aka knitters worst enemy:

The indeanmeal moth; aka north american high-flyer, aka pantry gross-out:

Gaah! I've declared war on the wrong nation! The more I learned about the two varieties of household moths, the more I was sure I had a meal-moth problem. Before I drag my yarn back inside (and apologize to it), let me give you the short-list of identifiers so you can...


Clothing Moth:

- Petite, with big fuzzy heads, they are like insect Olsens.
- These guys don't fly far from home. In fact, they don't fly much at all. If you see these fluttering near your clothes or yarn (!) you might have a problem.
- The larvae (ew!) are the wool eaters, not the adult moth. If you see holes in your clothes but don't see moths, you could still be screwed

Indianmeal Moth

- The easiest way to identify these bad boys is by their wings; two-tone!
- Buy a lot of bulk grains? They are often come "free" hiding in your basmati or cornmeal!
- The mealies are fly by nighters. You'll see them most often in the evening and unlike their wool-eating buddies, they often travel far from their food source.

I sincerely hope you don't have do deal with either of these icky pests. Now it's time to put on my combat gear and attack the kitchen cupboards. I'm bracing myself for what I might find! Oh the casualties of war!


Anonymous said...

What a major and grody pain! At least your wool should be safe from future attacks.

Reckless Glue said...

my skin is crawling right now. This year I unfolded a cashmere sweater from my closet (bought NEW last year --not handmade but still 100% cashmere!) only to discover two or three tiny holes (naturally right on the front of the sweater) I almost cried. I haven't seen any moths, nor have I come across any other affected clothes, but that must be it. Why couldn't it have attacked the ugly "owls" sweater I made last year? bastards.
I don't think I have the energy for that kind of full-scale cleaning jag right now though!

Fox said...

...where will it all end .... who knows; bedbugs may be next on your zealous cleaning frenzy...

Tee Hee and yuck!
Fox ; )

Tabatha said...

Been there. Done that. Those indeanmeal moths are horrible and VERY difficult to get rid of. I have sworn off bulk food stores because of them. Good luck and persistence is the key!

Jessica said...

We had mealmoths over a year ago and I was certain they were after my yarn too but then found them in the cabinets. I waged war and won.

Then, last fall, something was eating my yarn and I couldn't figure out what. Soooooo pissed. Eventually I pulled everything out and figured it out: carpet beetles. Those little buggers are seriously hard to get rid of. I washed ALL of my yarn in Dawn dish soap, cleaned like mad sprayed and otherwise made myself crazy. Two months of cleaning and I think I finally won. Finally. I hope.