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Holy Crap. I hesitate to announce "I don't have moths," because that would be the exact moment it'd come back to bite me.


Well, now I'm terrified of moths! And I'm freaked out about my stash and my finished items that are living in Rubbermaid containers. I haven't had any moth problems in 15 years of knitting in one apartment and three houses. I think the key has to be that I never had a moth infestation, so as long as I keep the containers closed and open them only when I need to add or remove something, I should be okay. If I'm wrong about that or if there's some other reason why Rubbermaid is very bad for knitted items, please let me know! Thanks for a very informative post. . . it brought me out of lurkdom.


Your timing is impeccable. I just found a moth-damaged sweater last week. I was devastated. I have yet to truly tackle the issue, but I'm gearing up. Sigh. I also live in an old house, so this may be a long-term issue. Guess I'd better learn how to darn, eh?


Very informational, thanks so much. I have had lots of moth damage (house is only 55 years old) and it pisses me off!



I also live in a MOTH HELL - so i feel your pain - i was hoping that there was some magic solution i hadn't heard yet and that YOU had the secret to making them ALL GO AWAY

As for the storage thing - i found the zipper bags seems to work well IF you squeeze all of the air out of them - they might like dark and moist - but NOTHING can survive without AIR. I am actually thinking of investing in those larger bags you seal with a vacum! That "should" work - the little bags seem to work so far as long as they are "vacum sealed".

I'm scared to try the pillowcase thing - does it really work?? I'm afraid they will still find a way in somehow.


That was depressing !


ew...I'm thoroughly grossed out...I'm keeping all my stuff in the freezer from now on!


That's very informative and depressing. I live in a tropical country, guess it is less of a problem for me. I found some of my yarn chewed before, but no insects. Luckily that was cheap wool and damage was minimal. No sign of the culprites though. Lucky me. Now after reading ur post, I'm doubly grateful the problem took care of itself.


Thanks for the comprehensive review/opinions on moths. It's a recurring subject on a few lists, so it's obviously necessary info. Spin-Off has an in-depth article in a winter issue from a couple years ago, I believe. As I remember, it suggests that pretty much the only real way to kill off all stages of the pests is with heat or drowning (have to have the entire fiber object submerged for at least 24 hours). Freezing apparently only buys you time, because it does not kill the eggs. Again, going from memory on that info so could have things not quite like Spin-Off intended - best to find the article and read it.


i so sad <-- toddler voice

that is horrible, i never knewn it could be so bad. i honestly dont think that i have ever seen an item that a moth got ahold of. then agian i did grow up in texas!!! wow... i'm still shocked. now i'm a bit freaked about my stash. GREAT POST...


What if you put wool in a plastic zipper bag with some of those little ascorbic acid packets they put in vitamin bottles and then seal it up as air tight as possible. Would that work? I had heard that plastic bags were bad, but we live where there doesn't seem to be a condensation problem. Thanks for the great tips and info.


I recently discovered some unspun alpaca that had been eaten by moths. I didn't want to throw away the entire thing, so I carefully simmered it (not boiled) at 200 degrees for a couple of hours in a covered stock pot. A couple of people who have experience with museum restoration said that a half an hour would be plenty, but I didn't want to take any chances!

Have you ever tried sewing your pillowcases shut? I know a couple of people who do that. They just take a seam ripper and cut it open when they want to view the contents, and then sew it back up again when they put it away. It could be cheaper, and you could make custom sized packages and label them! And without Martha, we'll just have to make do.... :)


Thanks for the benefit of your experience. It was a wonderfully informative post. I have read repeatedly about the carcinogenicity of mothballs, and have purged them from my life.
There is little data about the problem, and solutions, which seem to be: keep wool and moth separate. Ha!

Ailsa Craig

You are absolutely right to say you won't get rid of a moth problem, but let me add that pheromone traps are effective in controlling moths, not just in identifying your plague.

Part of my non-knitting working life involves technical publishing and I recently published a paper on pheromones for control of pests, including an outbreak of webbing clothes moths at the Museum of the Welsh Woollen Industry. (Can you imagine the panic involved?)

They set thirty pheromone traps at two-week intervals for two months, after which time no further moths were seen. Some limited spraying was done on wool bales as well, and over the next two years, a few traps in the formerly infested areas caught only a small number of moths.

If your stash of wool is a significant investment, the expense of pheromone trap treatment might be worthwhile -- it does work.

Anyway, good luck in Moth Heaven with your freezer technique -- there's some research on that too, and it's a good way to go.

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