Tag: moths

This and that

Phew, TLYW is hard work. I seem to be taking it a bit easy lately. Went running again yesterday with the person from my running group who’s about the same level of fitness as me. So that was good. Other than that I’m not doing much of anything. Working. Gaming. Eating crisps. Going to bed early. I need to get the house cleaned up because it is a tip and my son is due home from uni really soon. I’m still engaged in Moth Wars. Every evening I see at least one of the little horrors and sometimes chase it with fly spray. I feel like I’m stuck in a rut, albeit a rut that has quite a lot of running in it. Perhaps I will break out soon.

1 Health point for yesterday’s efforts.

Moth Wars

Bloody moths. They are still here. I killed two in the living room last night and sprayed two in the bedroom tonight, I am not sure if those two are dead or not.

The ones in the bedroom looked quite small and recently hatched. That is a real problem because it is not the moths that eat your clothes, it is the larvae. So if there are recently hatched moths in my bedroom, that means there are recently-eaten clothes and balls of yarn in my bedroom also, because they are not living on fresh air.

The little fuckers. I hate them. I have no carpets left anywhere and no sofa, yet I still have moths. They are eating my yarn and clothes. It makes me want to move somewhere absolutely freezing cold where they can’t survive.

Race training, 32 weeks in.

I have collected a few points here and there.  Went to my Chinese class. Went to see my sister. Went out for another run yesterday, I think I must have been running a bit faster than usual because I was panting and slightly nauseous by the end. Maybe I have developed a third speed of running without realising.

The Big Race is 12 weeks away and I am nervous because I’ve never done anything like that before. I don’t want to come last. I don’t want to look like a big fat lump as I jog sweatily around the track. I don’t want to have to walk any of it. Also, I don’t want to show up and find that I’ve failed to bring something vital along with me out of inexperience. So here is the plan.

  • Do the No-S diet with renewed vigour. I have not been particularly vigilant about staying away from snacks and sweets, also my interest in cocktails is very, very bad for my waistline. That needs to change. No more snacks, sweets or alcoholic treats except on the weekends. Absolutely no eating between meals, no scoffing ginger nuts at the office. I am very keen to drop several pounds of fat by the time this race comes round; I will look better and it will make running a lot easier.
  • Resume doing core strength exercises on days when I don’t run. I stopped because I strained my neck but I have got better running technique now, I don’t run with my shoulders up around my ears, so it is definitely time to resume doing crunches and squats at home.
  • Continue to run, obviously. I am getting near the end of the couch-to-5k programme now (I can hardly believe it!). My plan is: do Level 7 of the programme. Then do Level 8, this is where you run for 30 minutes without stopping. This is allegedly equivalent to 5k, but we’ll see about that, I am slow. Do that for a week or until I can complete 30 minutes without difficulty. Then start the RunningMate 10k programme. I should be able to invest several weeks in that before my 5k race comes around. If I know that I can run further than 5k, I will feel confident on race day.
  • Go to Regents Park several times before race day and see if I can scope out the route. I don’t know the park very well at all but that is easily remedied. When I can run for 30 consecutive minutes I will start going there to practise. I know where the race’s start point is so I will run for 30 minutes in all directions from that point. Then when I come to do the race the paths won’t be totally unfamiliar to me.
  • Finally, swot up on everything I need to know and take with me. There is quite a lot of information on the web about items you need for race days that wouldn’t have occurred to me. Eg, take identification with you! (This is so that someone else doesn’t take  your place.) Take safety pins for pinning on your bib. Take toilet roll as it always runs out straight away (a brilliant tip courtesy of Paula Radcliffe). And probably a bunch of other things that I haven’t thought of yet.

That is my plan for having a successful race. Also, while I am being organised, I am going to start doing Flylady’s housework routine again, doing everything on the right days. My house is not hard to keep clean these days and certain areas have had special attention lately because of Moth Wars but these moths are tricksy little buggers, they hide in any and every corner of the house that you leave undisturbed, so I am going to have to disturb everything on a regular basis. So it is back to the routine of doing my household tasks on the specified day.

Finally, I have nearly collected enough data from my spending diary to do a proper budget, that time has come. Scary. But ultimately not as scary as not having a budget.

Crikey. What a lot of things to do. TLYW certainly involves making a lot of effort.

Well, that was a busy weekend, 30 weeks in.

So that’s the second of the bank holiday weekends over, and I got quite a lot done.

Moth Wars is going okay. I realised that I would need to clean behind the wardrobes as this hadn’t been done ever, also the top of the wardrobes was one area that still needed decluttering. So I emptied all the clothes on to the bed and then I had to take all of the remaining bedroom furniture out to the living room and hall so I would have room to move the wardrobes. It was a pretty large undertaking, there was stuff everywhere.

I decluttered all the piles of old junk off the tops of the wardrobes. I pulled them out to clean behind them. The wardrobes came with the flat when I bought it, and like everything else that came with the flat, they are a right bodge job. Cheap, flimsy bits of hardboard that have been carelessly stapled and bodged together. They were coming apart in my hands. Drawers collapsed. Doors fell off. Backs hanging off and swaying like sails. It was pathetic. I would say that about 50% of the so-called wardrobes, which are really no better than theatrical props, ended up outside by the bins. We will have new ones in due course. In the meantime, I cleaned the wobbly wardrobe-shaped shell that remained and managed to hang the clothes back on it. 1 Home point.

In other moth news, I continued to bag up my textiles, which occupied much of Friday. I also set a lot of moth traps around my house. These clever devices exist to catch the male moths so they can’t breed. They exude female moth pheromone but are covered in very sticky glue so the moths get stuck and can’t get away. I put them all around my house to gauge the extent of the problem. The good news is that now the rugs are gone the moth infestation doesn’t seem to be too bad. One of the moth traps in the bedroom has got 3 or 4 moths stuck in it already, but the living room traps feature only 1 moth and the traps in the other rooms are empty. So I am feeling less overwhelmed by moths than I was. I’ve heard other people using the same brand of trap say that theirs filled up with 50 or 60 moths in the first few days.

There is still a hell of a lot of cleaning and yarn-bagging to do.

Windows. The bloody window frames need to be replaced. They are about as good as the wardrobes, meaning they are made of crappy flimsy materials that aren’ t up to the task, are bodged together, falling to bits and are basically non functional. Gah!  How much is this going to cost me?!  I need to get quotes. I’ve had  three windows now fall off their hinges and land in the street which is enough, isn’t it. Three times is quite enough. Someone could get killed.

Floor. I am also going to paint my kitchen floor. I don’t yet know what with. I just know it is long overdue.

Running. Thank goodness for running, because my house is pissing me off. I’ve been out for two more Level 4 runs and it is going really well. I’m feeling ambitious. I’m looking forward to the upper levels.  At Level 4 you do intervals where you run for four minutes and then walk for 1 minute, which I can do. At Level 5 there is quite a dramatic increase where the running intervals suddenly become 8 minutes long. Eight minutes! My jaw dropped when I realised that. That sounds hard. But also I like a challenge. Can I do it? I don’t know. We will see. Anyway, I’ve been out twice, so two Health points.

Chinese. I’ve done loads of Chinese homework this weekend because it’s an easy alternative to housework, it’s not something you have to go out for, or use special equipment. I can recognise a lot of characters now.

Oh! I forgot to tell you something cool that happened on Thursday. I was in town, near Leicester Square tube station, so I thought of going to Chinatown which is just nearby to buy some Chinese magazines and newspapers, to help my reading. I walked around quite a bit and then eventually found a tiny Chinese newspaper shop. I went in and looked at the papers and magazines on display while the shopkeeper, a cross-looking Chinese man in his late 50s, talked to his friend. When the friend went away I picked up a couple of titles and took them over to the proprietor.

“Ni hao” I said, bravely.  And he glared at me suspiciously and replied “Ni hao”, and then conducted the rest of the transaction in English.

!! Amazing! I loved it! It was like casting a spell and finding that it works! He was a real, live Chinese person! The only people to whom I’ve ever said ni hao before are my classmates and my teacher, who is Chinese but is paid to listen to our horrible accents. This guy was a bona fide Chinese person who isn’t paid to pretend to understand clumsy Westerners! I said ni hao and he understood me, and replied, and I understood his reply!  Joy!! I got such a huge kick out of that. I even liked it that he was grumpy because it meant he wasn’t just replying to me to be kind. 

That’s all the news for now. I hope to report something more fun and exciting in due course, as soon as I have got on top of my urgent cleaning and window-replacing problems.

I shouldn’t laugh.

You know my moth problem?  It was mainly centred on my two living room rugs and that would explain why they used to shed all the time. They looked all right from normal glancing distance but they were absolutely crawling and infested with moths.

As soon as I realised, I rolled up the rugs and took them outside because I couldn’t stand to have them in the house another second. I was going to call a waste disposal company this week to take them away. But now I don’t need to. Somebody stole them.

Oh my god. Little do they know what horror they have brought into their home. I feel awful for them. But also … LOL.

If something looks too good to be true, it probably is. If a pair of nice looking red wool rugs has been left outside someone’s house by the dustbins … there is a reason.

A quick points round up.

Well, it has not been quite the weekend that I had in mind, thanks to Moth Wars, but I have managed to score a few points.

On Saturday I went running again and did a bit better than the time before, so 1 Health point. Will try to go again later even though I am completely exhausted from a sleepless night.

I am having 1 Home point because the main feature of this four day weekend has been bloody cleaning and putting textiles in two layers of plastic bags. God.  I’m about one-quarter of the way through bagging up the yarn. I just don’t know how long it is going to take to get the house clean, by which I mean completely free from moth eggs and hermetically sealed. It could be a couple of months. We are going for a whole new level of Clean. The kind that involves furniture removal and repainting.

I am also having a Chinese point because, rather miraculously, I have at times managed to stop cleaning long enough to do Chinese homework.

Meh. Happy Easter.

Moth advice

I’ve just seen a long comment on the reviewmylife blog with such good advice about moths that I’m going to quote it here because I would despair if it disappeared. At the time of writing, in 2010, she’d had moths for nine years. NINE YEARS, people. And that is with good moth control habits, see below.

Goblinf commented:

I’ve never had quite as bad a moth infestation as some posters, but I thought it might help if I explained how we’ve managed to keep the clothes moths ‘under bearable control’ in our Edwardian c.1900 London flat with it’s permanent low (but higher than acceptable) level of infestation.

I have a LOT of fabric (both animal and plant derived – wool, silk, cotton, linen, sheepskins etc) in every room incl. wall hangings, although we do have synthetic carpets. We’ve only got the standard golden coloured moths and woolly bears type prevalent in S. England. The key is to be disciplined with the cleaning and the tidying up.

The moths arrived in around 2001, and over the years we have developed the following routine, and stuff is very rarely eaten now (including woollen tapestries out on the wall all the time) – it only gets eaten if I get lazy…
1. Hoover the synthetic carpets and skirting boards & edges ONCE EVERY week in every room, moving easy to move furniture at the time, and shake out all cushions etc. This disturbs the newly hatched insects of all sorts. We have a cat who likes socialising with the local foxes (well terrorising them) and it keeps ticks/ flea problems away also.
2. ALWAYS have a Mottlock or similar Moth Pheromone Glue Trap in every room, and replace them at the recommended intervals (don’t be tempted to leave them longer). Yes it’s quite expensive, but not as expensive as replacing carpets/ cashmere jumpers etc. This removes the males from the equation as they get stuck on the traps – then any hatching females are less likely to get fertilised – eventually you end up with very few females getting fertilised and then they lay unfertilised eggs, then there isn’t much to actually hatch out. Then the problem becomes controllable by a decent cleaning routine. It’s also a good indicator of the scale of the issue.
3. KEEP all clean folded clothes in plastic boxes – we’ve got an Argos shelving unit with 10 plastic boxes for tshirts/ trousers/ jumpers etc. ALWAYS keep lid on box unless actually using it AND NEVER EVER leave any animal fibre (woollen) clothes out & about in the house for more than a couple of hours. Yes, it’s boring being this tidy, but it works!
4. Have cedar blocks and cedar balls and the Sandalwood powder sachets (sold by John Lewis & Lakeland Plastics) in the Wardrobe (it’s an open fronted wood/cotton one from Argos). Keep rubbing cedar balls with Cedar Oil (get from Health Food shops) as I can’t be doing with all that sanding down – about once very 8 weeks, but don’t put them back with clothes until oil has dried.
5. EVERY MONTH take out all clothes from wardrobe and shake them onto a sheet on the bed, which is then itself shaken outside and put into the wash. Checking if there are any holes or obvious signs of larvae etc. ONCE a year, hang out clothes on washing line outside in strong sunlight. Also do the same for coats hanging on general coat rack.
6. EVERY QUARTER move ALL furniture and hoover underneath & around it. (It was monthly until we got it under control).
7. Every QUARTER (if no obvious infestation) or every MONTH (if there is, or more often if necessary), take down wool tapestry hangings from walls & other furnishings and gently hoover them (tie a duster around the vaccuum hose and put on lowest setting if it’s very delicate textile)and SHAKE THEM OUTSIDE (weather permitting).
8. Keep dirty washing in a similar plastic box, don’t leave the ironing around not done for ages and keep moving and airing clothes. The moths hate light and movement.
9. Use the cleaning routine as an opportunity to assess whether I really want the stuff I’m shifting around, or whether it can be given a good home elsewhere (once I’m sure it’s infestation free – by keeping it in sealed plastic bag for a month, if no sign of moths after that, it’s ok to go.
10. Use the steam cleaner on Wardrobe clothes when there is an upsurge of infestation.
11. Don’t panic and don’t get depressed. Accept minor losses occasionally as part of life.

So, if I’ve got it sorted, why am I looking on the net for advice? Because we’re leaving the flat, the belongings are going into storage and our clothes & us are moving in with the parents. So how do we make sure that we’re not taking the infestation into storage/ parents’ house? This is the plan:
1. Only pack stuff into boxes that has been cleaned OR which has been living in plastic boxes and is infestation free anyway. (It’s easier for me as I’ve got the problem under control and I’ve never had the experience of ‘nests’ of eggs – just one or two larvae every month now on the clothes).
2. To clean – wash at high temperature OR dry clean OR freeze OR steam OR hoover OR iron (or any combination) – depending on the article. And if it’s a textile that has Keratin in it (wool/silk etc)put it into one of those plastic vaccuum bags (I don’t believe moths can live without oxygen!)
3. Don’t mix newly cleaned and non-cleaned items, keep them separate to reduce cross-contamination.
4. Aim to take over the empty chest freezer at parents for all clothes to reside in temporarily on arrival to minimise problem. Then, keep airing & moving clothes & checking them and use Mottlock glue traps to keep tabs.

Sorry it’s so long, but this has worked for us to get it under control, it’s been relatively cheap and we’ve managed to avoid pesticides.