Monday, December 15, 2008

protecting the stash against moth invaders

I know in my head that only certain types of moths will harm my yarn and wool clothing. But around here, no moth is shown any form of mercy--just in case.

Given my paranoia about moths, I was very interested in a recent article by Oregon State University Extension on alternatives to mothballs. If you're not familiar with Extension, each state was granted land by the federal government to fund a designated university to conduct research-based outreach to that state's citizens. Extension was originally focused on agricultural issues--pest management being a significant element, of course--but has since expanded to include home gardening (the Master Gardener program is a prime example), water quality, 4-H, nutrition, and parenting, among other issues. There is also a new program to train citizens in climate change issues--but I digress. (I used to work for Extension on water issues, and I think it's a fantastic program.)

Anyway, one of the two major problem moths in this country is a specimen by the name of Tineola bisselliella. When they are at rest, they don't spread their wings like the winter moth, which is the species active in these parts at this time of year, but fold them up into a rectangular shape.

One of the article's recommendations is to sun your clothing once or twice a month. It doesn't mention the most common recommendation that I've heard for safeguarding yarn, which is to freeze it, let it warm up, and then freeze again to kill any larvae that might have emerged during the thaw. We recently bought a chest freezer to store some local grass-fed beef that we just purchased in bulk, as well as the gallons and gallons of berries that we picked this summer, but to tell the truth, I have been toying with the idea of using it for mothproofing my stash. It's big and it's airtight, and it sits oh so temptingly next to my dyeing table. My husband asked if I could move all my undyed yarn in the garage, now that I have dedicated work space there, and I said only if I could put it in the freezer.
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