If you notice a moth in your closet, you might not give it much thought. But if you spot holes in your wool garments it’s time to take action!
Realising you have a moth situation on your hands, you will probably be wondering where they came from, how to get rid of them, and how to save the rest of your clothes from their hungry caterpillar larvae. This handy guide will teach you all about controlling moth infestations in your home.
Before you can win the battle against moths, it helps to know your enemy. There are a few different moth species that like to take up residence in homes and wreak havoc.
Clothes moths, as their name suggests, like to munch on fabrics. The two most common species are:
Common Clothes Moth. These moths have golden brown wings and are about 1/3 inch long. The larvae are the ones that cause damage to wool, furs, carpeting, and other natural fabrics as they munch with their tiny jaws. They leave behind messy webs and dark specks of excrement known as “frass.”
Case Bearing Clothes Moth. The larvae of these moths make themselves snug little sleeping bags out of your clothes fibres. They drag these protective cases around as they feed.
Pantry moths invade your food storage areas and can contaminate dried goods with their larvae and messy webs. Watch out for:
Indian Meal Moth. Identifiable by their reddish brown wings, these moths love to eat grains, cereals, nuts, dried fruits and more. Indian meal moths lay lots of eggs that hatch into tiny wormy larvae.
Flour Moths. Flour moths, as you might have guessed, feed on flour and other baking ingredients. They leave behind webbing and excrement in infested food products.
White-Shouldered House Moths. These moths don’t eat fabric but instead feed
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Since entering horticulture professionally over a decade ago, I’ve noticed a correlation on the Colorado Front Range between wood mulch (also called arborist chips) and water-wise gardens. A beautifully designed garden goes in, with appropriate irrigation and plant palette, and the garden looks great—briefly—before languishing. Plants in these beds never quite take off, or they fail before their natural lifespans are over. I casually refer to this as plant/mulch mismatch, and it’s an issue I see too often, maybe because mulch is anything but exciting to the average homeowner.
A group of tender perennial plants, only one of which is commonly grown. This is Strelitzia Reginae, which has large ornamental leaves on long strong petioles (leafstalks), and bears brilliant orange and purple flowers, several together within a large bract, on stems 3 ft. or more high in spring. It is a native of South Africa and belongs to the Banana family, Musaceae. The name commemorates Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.
You can sense it in the slowly stretching evenings, the higher skies, the shifting quality of light, and the noisy chatter of birds. And you can see it in the flowering hellebores, witch-hazel and sweetly perfumed daphne, as well as the snowdrops, daffodils, cyclamen, aconites, crocuses and dwarf irises that have pushed their snouts through cold, wet soil to burst into determined, brilliant bloom.
The soil must have adequate drainage; otherwise, air may be excluded, and the more beneficial micro-organisms may be destroyed. Soils which have poor drainage are often sour and acid. It will be necessary to improve this acidity by applications of hydrated lime. Wet soils are cold ones, and this means that plant growth is severely retarded. The situation is even more critical in the northern, colder parts of the country. Waterlogged soils cause roots to rot and a combination of all these problems can produce complete failures in some gardens.
Q: Could you please recommend a good peat-free seed compost? I’ve tried a few over the last few years but haven’t had great results. I’d really like to do the right thing environmentally but am now at the point where I’m sorely tempted to go back to using a conventional peat-based compost. CF County Kerry
Although insect pests and plant diseases are generally easy to control in the flower garden, animal pests are not. For one, much of our wildlife is protected by law and can’t be indiscriminately eliminated. You may have variable success with repellents, depending on your location or timing. If the animals are not very hungry or population pressures are not too great, repellents may be enough to discourage invaders. But then again, there’s no guarantee that they’ll work.
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