A yarn lover’s four-letter word – MOTH

It’s a yarn collector’s worse nightmare…the dreaded moth.

But before you despair at the sight of a moth near your stash there are a few things to know:

  1. Look to the larval stage

    It’s not the winged adult insect that causes the damage, rather the larvae that feeds on your favorite fiber.

  2. Not all moths eat yummy yarn

    You don’t have to freak at the sight of any moth. There are two kinds of moth typically responsible for moth damage to fiber here in the US-The webbing clothes moth (Tineola bisselliella) and the casemaking clothes moth (Tinea pellionella) are the culprits for most moth damage here. You’re unlikely to see them about as they avoid light. They’re usually buff colored and small, less than the length of your pinky nail.

  3. Not all fiber is susceptible to the plight of the moth!

    Cotton and synthetic fabrics such as polyester and rayon tend not to be attacked unless part of a blend with wool, or heavily soiled with food stains or body oils.

  4. Don’t see an adult moth don’t celebrate just yet

    The adults lay about 40-50 pinhead-sized eggs which will hatch into the fiber-eating larvae. Like the canary in the coal mine an adult moth can do a whole lot of damage.

Whether it’s your yarn or your finished objects that fall victim to these wee beasties it’s best to take swift action if you find evidence of moth damage.

Someone is eating my yarn stash. What should I do?

  1. Identify just who is eating your yarn

    It isn’t just moths, but also carpet beetles and silverfish that can do damage. Check your yarn for evidence of moth larvae or beetles. The focus of your action will depend on what you find. Carpet beetles? Get to shaking out your yarn and get crazy with the vacuum.

  2. Separate your yarn into small plastic bags.

    Clear out the freezer (better still if you have a deep freezer use that) and place the yarn in the freezer for at least one week, the colder the better. If you have a freezer that can reach -20 degrees Farenheit – 72 hours should do the trick. It’s important that the yarn be room temperature prior to placing in freezer. The big switch from 70 degrees Farenheit to 0 degrees is a critical step. Some of us also throw in an additional step, , letting the bags come back to room temperature for several days and then refreezing.

    Don’t have freezer room, but live in Tucson? If it’s summer, place those plastic bags in your car and let the heat bake them. 120 degrees Farenheit for an hour or so should do the trick. Our cars left in the sun often get to such temperatures.

  3. Clean house

    While the yarn is freezing clean and vacuum the area your yarn was stored in. Get ready for a few preventative steps.

See next week’s blog post for an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

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