What I did this weekend: Put every woolen, cashmere, silk and alpaca thing into a box. That is all my hand knit shawls, toys, sweaters, blankets, etc. That is all my husband's suits and sweaters. That is all my store bought sweaters made of protein fiber. That is all my spinning stash and all my knitting stash. That is all my wips. That is everything I could find in the house.
I also filled about 5 large black trash bags with stuff - some yarn, some spinning fiber, a lot of really old sweaters, some old shirts that haven't been worn in years, a lot of plastic bags and some just plain trash. Our trash day is Monday and because of the holiday, it won't get picked up tomorrow. Oops!
Yes, you guessed it. I found moths in the house. Not pantry moths - those show up every few years and I throw every bit of food in the kitchen out and start over. I don't think there is any way to really avoid pantry moths if you live in the hot and humid south. They just like it too much. And they are in the foods you bring into your house more than you know. Ever walked into a pet store and seen them flying about? They are frequently in dry dog and cat food.
The source of the moths this time was my husband's old suits. Offices have become so casual that he rarely wears his full suits anymore - usually it's slacks and a jacket or just slacks and a shirt/tie. It seems he had some suits in the back corner of his closet that hadn't been moved in a couple of years and the moths found them and had a feast.
I became aware of the issue when I saw a moth fly by me as I was knitting in my chair a few days ago. I went through all the stash around my chair and found one hank of yarn that had a few breaks. All the stash around my chair (about one of those boxes) was inspected and put in new containers and I stuck it in my car. I had read that if you could heat it to 120 degrees for 30 minutes that would kill the moths. Well, damn if it hasn't been the coolest week we've had in a while. And further reading made me question whether or not that would really work. I really didn't want to do moth balls because they are so toxic (to us, the dogs, cats, and the moths) but I did do that in one daughter's bedroom. She definitely had moths in her room and she doesn't live here so it was the quickest and easiest way to deal with her problem. And I put towels under all the doors to keep the fumes in her room - it can stay that way for months if need be and then I will open it and air it out.
So what to do? I started with an internet search and came up with Erik Nilsson's blog. He goes into great detail on how to kill moths with dry ice. I asked him a couple of questions and decided that this was probably the easiest, safest way to get rid of the moths. It was a huge amount of work, but no more than it would have been to wash everything or dry clean everything. And those things wouldn't have worked for the yarn and fiber. The shelves in my yarn room are sad and empty and I suspect they will stay that way. I think the yarn will just stay in these boxes until I am certain the moth problem is gone. My only worry is that perhaps I didn't use enough dry ice - but I can solve that by adding more and treating the yarn again if I think I need to.
Yep. That's a lot of yarn and fiber (one box is suits and two more are sweaters) - I guess I need to go on a yarn diet or knit like the wind!