Moth Wars

Last night I went to Grassroots in the Annex to get more synthetic pheromone lures for the moth traps I bought about six weeks ago.  They were sold out.   They were sold out at the Danforth location, too.  At the Annex, they put my name in the special order book and said they’d set aside three lures for me when they came in.

I took a look at that list of orders.  Nobody was looking for some obscure brand of enviro-cleaning product or organic tampons.  Every single order on the page was for traps or lures for the webbing clothes moth.  At least that confirmed what they told me six weeks ago: For some reason, clothes moths are out of control in Toronto this year.

Still, I feel depressed when I see the occasional moth around my place.  If I didn’t really feel as though I’d put in the solid work to get rid of them, I’d say, “Okay, I could do more.  I haven’t exhausted every means available to me.”  But, I have put in so much effort – physical and mental – to eradicate them that when I spot one of the little bitches, the rage I feel is akin to that of The Incredible Hulk.  I only wish I could turn green and bust out of my clothes.  It would feel a lot more effective somehow.

I’ll never know, I guess, where the first moth came from or why it picked my place to take a peek in.  All I can be sure of is when it arrived, found my fur and leather muk luks (a smorgasbord of the animal protein called keratin which moth larvae subsist on), that moth thought it died and went to Heaven.  Really, it couldn’t have imagined a more hospitable environment in its wildest dreams.  And BLAM!  Infestation.

With the help of my parents, every soft item that could be laundered, was.  Clothes, coats, blankets, stuffed animals, everything.  What couldn’t be laundered at home went to the dry cleaners.  I vacuumed furniture (undersides, too) thoroughly a number of times.  Nooks, crannies, corners, closets, baseboards, radiators have all been repeatedly cleaned and vacuumed.  I treated drawers and closets with both cedar (known to kill young larvae) and lavender (prevents males from finding females to mate).  I took down the curtains and washed them.  I inspected the piano felts, a few times.  My clothes, towels and sheets are contained in plastic bags – have been since the beginning of March.  I even, at a low point, resorted to toxic naphthalene* moth balls.

I took art down off the walls and inspected the canvas, for Heaven’s sake.   I am a walking encyclopedic reference on how to exterminate moths, yet moths I still have.

I mean, what more can I f*cking do???   I’ve never been at such a loss.  Every morning, I pick the day’s clothes out of the plastic bags to get dressed.  It’s no good for my mental health.  To put it all back in drawers and wonder if my stuff is safe isn’t any better.  I keep cleaning, cleaning, cleaning.  I know my place is clean, but I just keep cleaning anyway – maybe I’ll happen on that last little group of eggs that hasn’t hatched yet.

That is not going to happen.  I’m not kidding myself – considering a moth’s life cycle from egg-to-egg can be as long as five or six months (ie. by the time I saw the first moth in January, I’d likely already had a problem since June), it  takes time, a lot of it, for the pheromone traps to work.  You have to just settle down, wait for the various stages of life cycles to become adults and fly straight for the sexy, sexy, sticky, strategically placed “females”.

With the lures out of stock at Grassroots, and the ones I have now coming to the end of their life span, there is nothing left to do but douse my apartment in lavender again.  Lavender works by confusing the males, the traps work by catching the males.  As long as no ladies get pregnant, we’re still progressing.

It doesn’t look good though, guys.  It doesn’t look good.

*naphthalene is a suspected carcinogen.

7 thoughts on “Moth Wars

  1. Well… you just gave me a name to the little moths I’ve found around our place! How bad were yours? I’ve noticed a few over the past few months… but, just a few. Now I’m worrying that they’re going to explode! Ugh. We had a fly infestation in January… I can’t handle another infestation!

    1. Theresa – I only ever saw a few too. I would say, I’ve never seen more than 2 or 3 in a day. I feel like they’re not out of control, but the situation could escalate easily. Argh!!

      Ingrid – I haven’t ask, but that is what my dad keeps saying too. I guess I don’t want anyone to think *I* infested *them*. 😦

      Awesome Joolie – I am so fucking glad you didn’t have bedbugs. I read an article on them recently, and “at least you don’t have bedbugs” has become my mantra.

  2. What is it about being infested that makes us feel so helpless and crazy? I’ve never had moths but have done several rounds with insane fleas, and for one awful, awful week I thought I had bedbugs. I don’t blame you one bit for resorting to the cancer balls.

  3. Wow, sounds like a real war has been taking place at your apartment. Have you asked any of the other tenants if they have moths? The sad thing may be that you are killing all of the ones in your place but that other tenants are letting them thrive and then they relocate to your apartment 😦

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