Not just for grammas! Or are they? What do they … do? How do they work? DO they work? Do they work on other pests? Or should you call the whole thing off?
You never expect it.
One day, you reach into the back of your closet for something to wear, pull out a sweater you haven’t seen in a while, and BAM there are holes chewed into the neck and sleeves. This feels like a 20th-century problem.
But, sadly, moths eat clothes no matter how old you are or where you live. Your gramma knew that, which is why the scent of mothballs might make you think of her. Did mothballs even help? And can they keep other pests away? We answer all of your most pressing mothball questions.
FIRST, WHY DO MOTHS EAT CLOTHES?
It turns out moths don’t actually eat clothes … but their larvae do. The mother moth deposits her (50 to 1,000!) eggs onto an article of cloth or clothing — they like keratin-heavy animal fibers like silk, wool, cashmere, angora or fur — and when the larvae hatch, they start munching on your threads.
OH, YUCK. SHOULD I WORRY ABOUT THIS?
If you’re noticing excessive damage to your clothes, you might want to call in a pest-control company to take care of things. But before you do that, there are other methods of deterring these bugs from bugging you and chewing up your sweaters.
When packing away your seasonal clothes, make sure to seal them in plastic. Or, if you don’t want to do that, then go through your closet once a month and shake your clothing out in the light. Moths and their larvae thrive in the dark. Even occasional sunlight should do the trick.
AND WHAT ABOUT THOSE MOTHBALLS?
Mothballs are effective but can be toxic — especially to your pets or children, who may try to eat or play with them. That’s why if you are going to use them, make sure you take precautions. Seal them inside containers so the toxins don’t get into the air or into your pets’ or kids’ mouths.
I HEARD I CAN USE MOTHBALLS TO KEEP AWAY RATS OR MICE. DOES THAT WORK?
No! Don’t do this. Not only is it ineffective, it’s actually illegal and dangerous. Why? For that same reason we mentioned above: the toxins can get into the air, and the mothballs themselves can get into the mouths of little ones (of all species).
SO WHAT SHOULD I DO?
For moths? Shake out your clothes occasionally and get some sunshine on them. If you’re noticing a big problem, call your friendly local pest-control company. As for the mice? That’s a more serious problem. Give us a call and we’ll give you a free estimate for pest prevention and control.