Monday, September 2, 2013

A Problem of Moth-ick Proportions

I can't say I will miss summer. There were several challenges this year. Let's talk about one of those challenges in particular.


This was the summer of the moths for us. Every time we opened a door, at least one or two followed us in. There were signs of moth activity in every dresser. They ruined clothes. We found frass and evidence of cocoons at the bottom of some drawers. At least they kept the cats entertained. There were lots of "toys" to chase after.

How could the moths become such a problem? It's quite simple. I assumed the holes in our clothes meant the cats were overdue for a claw trimming. Considering the number of holes I was looking at, I should have wondered why no one looked mauled. Also, brown streaks appeared on some clothes after washing them. I figured the problem was our old dryer, because it has been known to catch clothes along the rim and scorch them. It didn't occur to me that the marks were smaller and narrower than the typical scorch marks I see when pulling a sock free.

And then we found a moth worm in my daughter's drawer.

It all made sense now. The brown streaks were the paths of scorched moth worms in the fabric. The holes were entrance and exit points. They had a real taste for natural fibers, especially organic cotton. I started cleaning each and every drawer and tossed armfuls of clothes into the dryer for 20 minutes at a time (to check for infestation). Marina's clothes seemed to get the brunt of the damage, including some new clothes. In fact, it was because we found holes in new clothes that we began to wonder. 

Cleaning my son's dresser brought the most humor to the situation. His dresser was given to us by a friend. The two top drawers wouldn't close completely and they couldn't pull out all the way. With the aid of a flashlight, we realized clothing had fallen out of the drawer in back. I tried to fish it out by hand, but I don't have enough bends in my forearm. Marina managed to reach one of the objects. It was a bra. The stress of the situation and the unexpected find sent us into giggles. The bras (there ended up being more than one, as well as a pair of pink socks with lace trim) must have belonged to our friend's daughter, who used the dresser before us. My son was shocked and appalled and endured much ribbing.

At this point, I have nearly finished with clearing and treating clothes. I put cedar in most of the dressers as well as cedarwood essential oil along the edges. And I would be remiss if I didn't learn a new life lesson from this experience, so....

Today's life lesson from watching animals...

Overeating can be bad for your health. It can also be bad for clothing.


Paula Vince said...

Oh no, they sound like persistent little pests. Highbrow too, considering their taste for natural cotton fibers. I guess there are a few lessons, at the expense of your clothes, such as the power of numbers and the impact small beings can make.

Emma is just getting over a terrific fear of moths, but even so, she still refused to visit a butterfly sanctuary at a place we just visited on our holidays.

Inner Elder said...

Hope you've gotten rid of the little beasts. Let me know when you're ready to shop for new stuff. Love, Mom

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