It’s curtains for those little pests

1:20pm Monday 14th November 2011

By Helen Mead

Help! We’ve been hit by a plague. Not ‘the plague’ — our house may be a tip, but we haven’t got flea-infested rats in it just yet.

It’s a plague of moths — and the little pests are driving us mad.

Not that I’ve actually seen any.

Their presence came to light when my eldest daughter noticed little holes in a top she had only just bought.

While I searched for the receipt and prepared to take it back, she discovered another similarly ravaged item, then another. It wasn’t good — she was fast running out of clothes.

My husband calmly concluded that moths must be the culprits, a thought which, however much I love moths, horrified me.

Insects in the wardrobe just isn’t nice. Give me lions and witches any day.

We quickly found out that we’re not alone — thousands of homes across the country are falling victim to common clothes moths whose tiny larvae are wreaking havoc in wardrobes and drawers, and on curtains and carpets.

Suddenly, the puzzle that had been hanging over our bedroom curtains for months was solved. I wrongly blamed our cat for the ragged state of them on one side.

Since we diagnosed the real cause, we’ve been on the attack. Not involving the use of flame throwers and napalm, because I genuinely do like moths and don’t want to actually harm any, but small cedar wood rings which apparently repel the insects.

We’ve also been leaving the wardrobe doors open to let in light, because they hate that, too.

I’ve been told that our efforts aren’t going to be enough — that we should be clearing out wardrobes and cupboards, dry cleaning all our clothes and dousing all hiding places in insecticide.

We should also vacuum clothing and curtains — but it is a tedious enough chore having to vacuum just the carpets.

Otherwise, we could put the clothing in the freezer — but I don’t fancy having to rummage among frozen-stiff jumpers, jeans and underwear every time I want some oven chips.

I just want to open the door and watch them fly off. But as we haven’t actually spotted them and it’s the larvae that’s the problem...

If the softly-softly approach doesn’t work we may have to resort to extermination by chemical means. Unless, of course, my daughter fancies starting a new fashion trend.

Ripped jeans caught on, there’s no reason why holey sweaters shouldn’t too.

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