Newsgroups: alt.folklore.herbs
Subject: moths: remedy?
From: (Vandy Simpson)
Date: Sun, 18 Dec 1994 16:04:19 GMT

Good day to you all.Does anyone have any words of wisdom about MOTHS and how to destroy/prevent the little **#.$%^**? I've been a textile worker for almost two decades, with wool in all stages of readiness in my home, and have never had a problem till now.Somehow the little darlings have found me, and all the standard methods of dealing with them(short of changing hobbies!) have failed. Well, they've helped some, but haven't solved the problem. So, if I'm to make up a special all-powerful remedy.What do people suggest? I need to be able to have one form for use with spun wool (balls, skeins, wovenlengths, etc.); something for the unspun, uncarded; and something I can use as a rinse I guess, in my wash water.It would seem that overkill is better, and with herbals, that doesn't seem to be a problem.The varying moth flakes/balls/crystals etc. are a quick measure, but not something I want to deal with in large doses unless they are a guarantee[and they don't seem to be.]

I know about lavender, pennyroyal, cedar, rosemary.Are there others?Are there better? Is there a *best* combination? Can anyone help?

Thank you,
Vandy Simpson

From: (Hilda Marshall)

Southernwood [= Artemisia abrotanum. - Henriette] is a good moth repellant too. (And a very pretty
bush, I might add.) Love, Hilda

From: hlf.holmes.acc.Virginia.EDU (H L. Falls)

> Does anyone have any words of wisdom about MOTHS

The following article was forwarded to a mailing list I'm on. I don't follow the h-costume (historical? costume) list, perhaps an inquiry there would uncover more info. Based on the article, I'd think the thing to do would be to use the freeze-thaw cycle to kill the varments, then use herbal repellants to keep 'em away. Hope this helps!
--Landon Falls

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 6 Oct 94 1:01:49 EDT
From: Hollie Buchanan <>
Subject: Warning! Moth Alert!
Stuff deleted...

> There are three things that will kill existing moths and their eggs: mothballs (which contain a toxic chemical, as already mentioned), freezing (for at least a couple of days -- I know people who store their fleeces in a chest freezer!), and boiling water. Freezing is probably the least toxic and least damaging to your fiber, but of course you have to have space in the freezer.

Stuff deleted...

Hi All,

Thanks for the neat ideas over the past few months, I really like this list.

A word of caution to any who plan to use cold as a moth/larvae killer.

(We were just having this same discussion on Knit-L). Cold, even relatively severe, DOES NOT KILL THE LITTLE BUGGERS. Here's the deal. Anything below freezing will keep any eggs dormant, ie., the larvae will not hatch and begin munching your beloved fibres. If you wish to KILL the buggies, subject your fibres/fabric to a six or seven-fold cycle of deep freeze (<10F/-12C) and then hot/humid (next to the shower-above 70F/whatever that is in C., I'm too tired to figure it out, sorry). The heat and humidity (think India/Burma/China) make the dormant eggs hatch, and then, when you pop the fabric back into the deep freeze, the cold kills the larvae. The larvae are the ONLY stage which are susceptible to cold. If they have pupated, then hand pick the chrysali (the larvae will have done their damage by this point-adult moths lack even mouth parts, and live a very short time). Even if you see chrysali (look like small grains of rice covered in, well, silk), subject the fibre to the heat/ cold treatment, for it's likely that there are unhatched eggs, as well.

Heat will also kill all the life stages, but as it requires constant temps above 170F for extended (25 minutes, to be sure) periods of time, most fabrics and fibres can't take it. (It's called stifling, and is what commercial silk growers do to all but the breeders of the silk crop before the chrysali are reeled).

In general, each of the heat/cold periods mentioned above, need to be of at least 48 hours of duration, but not more than 72, or you may just be feeding a generation of hungry larvae, yuk!

I think the entire knit-list discussion (we even consulted an entomologist/ lepidopterist) is archived somewhere. If there is interest, I'll ask the knitlist admin, and try to find it.

P.S. Among naptha's (mothballs) more darling side effects are liver/kidney damage, Parkinson's like tremors, permanant brain neurotransmitter dysfunction, birth defects (severe), convulsions and, occasionally, death. Read the warning label on the box sometime-charming stuff.

From: (Dale Woika)

> Does anyone have any words of wisdom about MOTHS

Actually, today's mothballs are usually made from paradichlorbenzene. This stuff is even stinkier than napthalene. Try pyrethrin. Non-toxic, made from chrysthanthemum species, & will wipe out your moths w/o destroying your wool. As far as killing a whole room of them, your dryer would actually be better than freezing. If you can subject your stuff to 20 degree below or more (f), the eggs will most likely not survive. However, I learned (from General Mills of all places) there are virtually no insects which can tolerate a temperature of 140 degrees. In fact, many factories which make cereals use this as a housekeeping measure. All of the temperature-sensitive materials are cleaned out of a certain building (like computers or plastic things) & then the doors & windows are sealed. Next, large space heaters are brought in & the temperature of the whole place is brought up to 145 degrees & kept there for 2 hours. This procedure kills all flies, roaches, weevils, --you name it!--all of them. Then the place is allowed to cool overnight & a cleaning crew comes in & sweeps the bugs up before the plant is started again. This kills them, eggs & all.

So, try baking. The wool is sensitive to heat, so be careful. 135 degrees for an hour or so ought to do it. Also, you will likely have to treat your whole place, as these moths will leave eggs on carpets, in your closets, in drawers, etc., so it would seem an overall cleanup & treatment followed by good sanitation practices is in order. Your workplace is probably a haven for the beasts, so re-infecting your abode is likely, but vigillence will pay for itself.

And cedar DOES work if it is fresh & untreated. Sadly, the effects wane after time though.

Finally, don't let me catch you EVER putting moth flakes in your wash water! These chlorinated hydrocarbons are real buggers to get out of water, and a little bit goes a long way toward polluting A LOT of water. NEVER never never let these things get into your water or wastewater!!