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Natural Moth Control

Natural Moth Control

Moth, the popular name of a numerous and beautiful division of insects resembling butterflies. They are readily distinguished from butterflies by their antennae, which are feather-like or tapering, never terminating in a knob; by their wings being horizontal when resting, and by being seldom seen on the wing, except at night. Butterflies are harmless, but some of the moths, especially in their larval state, are exttremely injurious to both vegetable and animal tissue. Other moths, however, are useful, and supply the product silk.

Natural Moth Control

by Michael O’Brien

The weather is warmer and you’ve begun storing your winter clothing especially those nice wool sweaters. The antique cedar chest you bought second-hand seems like the perfect place to store wool clothing. Most of us have heard that cedar woods works to repel clothes moths so you are surprised in the fall when you find that those nice sweaters have been attacked by moths. As it turns out cedar wood loses much of its repellant properties after about three years so the clothes moths were undeterred. Not cleaning your sweaters before storing them worked against you since perspiration and body soils can also attract the clothes moth larvae.

The larvae of the clothes moth prefer woolen material and do not feed on synthetics, cottons or silk fabrics. Feathers and furs can also provide a hardy meal for hungry moth. Before storing wool clothing and other wool fabric items, you should take precautions to prevent those items from being damaged by an infestation of clothes moth larvae. The adult female tends not to fly while carrying her eggs. The adult female will literally glue her eggs to the fabric and once in place the eggs can be hard to remove so a close inspection and thorough cleaning of wool fabrics is needed before storing them away. Wool fabric items that you use on a regular basis are also at risk of damage if not kept clean.

Preventing adult moths from taking up residence in your home is an important first step toward keeping your wool fabric items in good condition. Never assume that a recently purchased wool fabric item is free of moth eggs and those items you should give those items a thorough inspection. If you find moth eggs or larvae present on a wool fabric item place the item in your freezer overnight, since freezing temperatures will kill both the eggs and the larvae. Keeping your wool fabric items free from perspiration and other body soils by keeping them clean can be a very effective deterrent since moth larvae need the nourishment found in sweat and other soils. Cleaning should be done in accordance with the fabric care label frequently found on wool fabric products. Information on the care of wool fabrics can also be obtained on the internet and at your local library.

Simply sealing your wool fabric items in plastic before storage is not an adequate way to prevent damage by moth larvae. The eggs can survive for quite a long time even inside a plastic bag so make sure the items are completely clean before storage. There is a debate on the effectiveness of available chemical products like mothballs. Since they contain naphthalene, mothballs can be harmful, even fatal to children and pets so avoid using them if you can. Other types of chemical products are available to repel or kill moth larvae but these products should be used with extreme care as many of these chemicals may damage other types of fabrics.

Some chemicals used to repel or kill moths and their larvae may actually do more harm than good by damaging certain types of plastics and expose you and your family to dangerous chemical fumes generated by adverse chemical reactions. If you have any doubts or questions about the use of chemicals to deal with a moth infestation always consult a pest control professional and be sure to ask about any non-chemical alternatives.

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