Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Prudent Prepping: Winter Tune-up, pt 2

The dust has settled and the First 72 Hours have passed. Now we concentrate  on what to do in, and how to plan for, the long term via Prudent Prepping.

Winter Tune-up, pt.2
Or: you never know what's in your closet
until you look

I am regularly moving goods out of storage to my kitchen shelves, as that makes it easy to see if there are any crushed, smashed or dented packages or cans. I can also look to see if there any more items close to going past their 'Best By' date since the purchase date is written on the package. What is not so easy to check is the condition of some of my stored items that don't get regular use, like sleeping bags, blankets, sweaters and heavier coats and jackets.

Which brings me to:

Bugs in the Closet
As I was moving my four jugs of stored water out of the closet in preparation of draining, rinsing and refilling them (you do have stored water, right?) I noticed a bug flying. And then another. Not A Good Thing.

As I looked, there were 5 moths on the ceiling and two flying around. This end of my closet contained my irregularly worn sweaters, wool blankets, jackets and my down sleeping bag. Checking out the bugs with a friend, this is what I had:
Larger image from the Wiki page below
The Common Clothes Moth.

As I did not have any moths in the house I moved from, I have to assume there were moths here from the previous residents. From the Wiki page:
  • This species is notorious for feeding on clothing and natural fibers; they have the ability to digest keratin protein in wool and silk. 
  • The range of recorded foodstuffs includes cotton, linen, silk and wool fabrics as well as furs. 
  • Both adults and larvae prefer low light conditions. Whereas many other Tineidae are drawn to light, common clothes moths seem to prefer dim or dark areas.

    Pest Control
    This is where things got tricky. Again from the Wiki page:
    • Physical Measures - Airtight containers prevent re-infestation once eggs, larvae, and moths are killed by other methods. 
    • Vacuuming – Since the moths like to hide in carpeting and baseboards (skirting), this is an important step towards full eradication. After a thorough vacuuming, the bag should immediately be disposed of outside. 
    • Dry Cleaning – This step kills moths on existing clothing and helps remove moisture from clothes.
    • Heat (120 °F or 49 °C for 30 minutes or more) – these conditions may possibly be achieved by placing infested materials in an attic or sun-baked automobile in hot weather, or by washing clothes at or above this temperature. Specialist pest controllers can also provide various methods of heat treatment. 
    • Various chemical treatments only available to licensed pest control personnel and way outside my budget. 
    • Natural oils and biological means from cedar oils to parasitic wasps (!!!).
    After vacuuming the closet floor and shelves, I then washed my clothes, blankets and sleeping bag. Everything but the sleeping bag went into my clothes dryer for 45 minutes on high heat. I checked the exhaust temperature with an infrared thermometer and got a reading of 120 deg F. My sleeping bag was too fluffy to go into the dryer, so it was dry cleaned.

    I am using the Safer brand Adult Moth Trap. These traps attract the male moth to prevent future breeding. I will also need to monitor the closet for more hatched moths, so my clothing is not going back there until this summer.

    The Takeaway
    All of your stores need to be looked at, checked and rotated on a regular timetable, not just your food.

    Expenses this week
    • 3 pak vacuum bags from Target: $10
    • Moth Traps from Home Depot: $8.48,  free shipping to store.
    • Dry cleaning of sleeping bag: $10 with an introductory coupon, and done in a safer, low-odor process, too!

     If you have comments, suggestions or corrections, please post them so we all can learn. And remember, Some Is Always Better Than None!

    NOTE: All items tested were purchased be me. No products have been loaned in exchange for a favorable review. Any items sent to me for T&E will be listed as such. Suck it Feds.

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