Help! I Think I Have Moths!

Bugs. In the wise words of Twistedista Dawn's Mother-in-law, we love all god's creatures... just not in our house. That totally includes moths.

SIGNS

If you have a skein of yarn that seems to be breaking into pieces, you might have moths. Got suspicious holes in your sweaters, scarves, and other woolen projects? You might have moths. Take a deep breath, it happens! We are here to help.

Everyone and anyone can get moths. Have you ever seen a spider or ant in your house? It's no different. It's not a sign of an unkempt home or anything you're doing wrong. Critters just happen. One of the cleanest people we know got moths in a closet newly-lined with cedar panels. It's just the way of the world.

AT THE SHOP

As you can imagine, here at the shop we are serious about making sure the yarn is safe. Which is hard when dozens or hundreds of people pass through our doors every day, often bringing outside yarn in with them. One outbreak could bankrupt a small local yarn shop like us!

Prevention is our best weapon. We store all of our backstock in thick plastic ziplock bags. We have regular, environmentally-sound spray treatments for pests. We clean like the dickens, wash fabric items (like the sofa cover) on a regular schedule, and have a robot vacuum that cleans every inch of the floor every night.

Returned yarn is a big x-factor for us. Once something has been out of our safe little bubble and set lose in the big bad world, it's at increased risk. When a skein is returned, we always follow the freezer procedure below that our wonderful pest control guru, Jeff from Ohana Pest Control, laid out for us. It's time intensive, but necessary. The moth risk is one reason why we do have a time limit of 2 months on returns.

AT HOME

First, please, do NOT bring your yarn into a yarn shop to have us inspect it... We want to help, but photos are a great and safe way for us to take a look. If you must bring it in, please secure it in two layers of plastic zip bags.

If you think you might have moths:

  • Don't panic.
  • Immediately put that yarn in a ziplock bag to protect it. We recommend following all the below not only for that yarn but for all your other potentially-exposed yarn and wool garments, as well, if possible.
  • Place the yarn (in the bag) in the freezer for 72 hours. This should kill larvae.
  • Take the yarn out of the freezer (still in the bag) for 24 hours. This allows eggs to hatch...
  • Place the yarn (still in that trusty bag) back in the freezer for 72 hours. This, as you can imagine, should kill the rest!
  • You can also steam or boil yarn to kill moths, though it is more dangerous (ouch) and labor-intensive.
  • We don't recommend spraying yarn itself with insecticide, for a variety of obvious reasons. If it's that bad, contact a professional.

Meanwhile:

  • Consider contacting a professional! Companies are out there that use a variety of less-harmful substances like specialized wax that kill bugs but are safe for pets and kids.
  • Clean your house thoroughly, paying special attention to carpets, closets, and under beds.
  • Again: don't panic.

Prevention:

  • Wash your handknits and other woolens regularly using a good quality woolwash. This removes the dirt, sweat, and dead skin that makes them especially tasty to moths.
  • Keep your yarn and woolens surrounded by cedar sachets or blocks and regularly refresh the cedar with essential oil.
  • Consider keeping your yarn and woolens in zip lock bags. It's easy, cheap, and effective!
  • Clean closets, carpets, and under beds regularly.
  • Consider having regular treatment from an environmentally, pet, and kid-friendly pest control company. At Twisted, we use and recommend Ohana Pest Control. It's a one-man local small business and the owner, Jeff, has gone out of his way to help us out many times. :)

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