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Conservation/Safe Keeping Forum Want that item to last for ever? Well, we can try. Find out how here.

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Old 05-07-2011, 11:45 AM   #16
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And remember too - regular surveillance of your collections, especially for items tucked away - inspect carefully for any changes to items or signs of insect presence! Have a mitigation plan in place just in case you make any unfortunate discoveries!
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Old 12-05-2012, 10:07 PM   #17
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Useful information. Like!!!!!!
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Old 12-05-2012, 11:44 PM   #18
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Or seal the items bugs enjoy eating , especially wool items, in name brand ZIP lOCK plastic sealed bags. Then never store anything in damp basements or attics with leaky roofs. The bags that seal with a vacuume work great for uniforms(with cloves inside the pockets ), but don't suck the air out where it compresses the items inside. (space bags) (and use a vaccume cleaner to suck out the air, and not your lips)
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Old 08-02-2014, 10:01 AM   #19
Jon Fish
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I use the silica beads that turn pink when the suck up the air moisture. You simply then regenerate them in the microwave every week. Cheap to buy from Ebay. I sometimes over heat them and melt the plastic, so watch out for that. Here you can see the moisture on the paper towel and in the container, this is from a week in a closed cupboard.
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Old 02-13-2015, 04:52 AM   #20
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So whats the general concensus on vacuum bags for tunics, or other textiles? I am new to this and was advised to use a shop vac with a screen to vaccum my luft flight suit before putting in the the vacuum bag. I was going to use a hand pump for the vaccum bags. Just looking for some experience. Thanks!

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Old 02-13-2015, 10:27 AM   #21
N.C. Wyeth
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Originally Posted by Jon Fish View Post
I use the silica beads that turn pink when the suck up the air moisture. You simply then regenerate them in the microwave every week. Cheap to buy from Ebay. I sometimes over heat them and melt the plastic, so watch out for that. Here you can see the moisture on the paper towel and in the container, this is from a week in a closed cupboard.
If you go this route, there is a "plug-in" device available as well - when the silica crystals turn pink, plug it in an outlet for a few hours, and they turn back to deep blue - all ready to go, once again!

Been testing these out for a year now . . . and so far, my "calibrated" hygrometer seems to tell me they're still working - keeping most all my closed spaces around the house, somewhere between 43% and 51% RH . . . even those in the basement!
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Old 08-21-2017, 06:59 AM   #22
Joseph Reavis
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Originally Posted by Ralph P View Post
It turns out that itís not the moth that actually eats wool. Itís the larval stage- ugly little bugs. Of course moths lay egg so you need to be familiar with both stages. So as this larval stage matures they have a huge appetite for wool, wool blends, fur, hair, feathers. They donít care for cotton, silk, or any other synthetic fibers.

So how do you keep them out of your collection? By now you may have guessed that keeping things dry is a good first step. I have no idea what the little bugs find to drink while eating your woolen stuff, but they donít do well in humidity less than 35%. They also need certain minerals to survive. Human sweat is a wonderful source of these minerals. Thatís one reason to wear cotton or latex gloves when handling our collections. Just a very small (bead) amount of sweat is enough to support 10-15 little bugs. Some people laugh that they donít have sweaty hands. You would be surprised if we could put there hands under a microscope, and see the sweat hands. (And remember that dirt and salt are also hydro-scopic). This simply means that they absorb water from the air so you will not only be giving the bugs a vitamin boost, but a drink of water if you put your collectables away dirty.

What about moth balls? These chemicals- and there are two main ones- in moth balls, and flakes-each a different chemical Ė are ordinarily repellents but do act as a poison if the concentrations are high enough. These have also been known to cause lung and respitory problems and cancers in humans. Once they have evaporated, the bug game starts a-new all over. Unless you have your collection tightly sealed up very well indeed, you may find you have a moth problem all over again-despite the fact that you used moth stuff and kept thing closed up. Once species of wool eater can crawl through a hole less than 1 mm wide. If you use this stuff read the product label on the box this stuff comes in. The moth ball/flakes can dissolve some plastics, or bakelite material, or turn a bluish white in color. In humidity conditions the math balls/flakes can cause straining on near by fabrics or boxes. Once the moth balls/flakes start to evaporate the gas/fumes from the will pass through just about anything.

The insects listed above may also be frozen in a regular freezer. Simply place the items in a large plastic bag. Then place the bag in the freeze. Turn the freezer to the coldest setting. Keep the items in the freezer up to 3 Ė 4days. This will kill the moths. It is advised that the items that were frozen be vacuumed off with a nylon window screen placed between the cloth and the vacuum hose. This will rid any left over insect materials.

Another very good product to use in the fight against these insects is diatomaceous earth. It is made of diatoms microscopic fossils from ancient sea life. It is also a good source in reducing moisture, and it doesnít biodegrade any further than its present state. It irritates and damages the chitinous exoskeletons of all manner of insects, rendering them unable to maintain the necessary internal moisture to survive. The diatomaceous earth process works so well that various orchards both organic and non organic.

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Oh god yes! Not going to go into details but I call these little critters "bud worms" and most certainly they dont only eat just wool! Ive fought some hard battles against these spawns of satan before, they actually are moth caterpillars. At night the moths fly down and lay their eggs in your stuff, whether that be your garden or your 70 year old wool flag. THE BEST AND ONLY SUREFIRE WAY TO STOP THEM IS TO BE SPOT ON WITH YOUR PROVENTATIVE MESSURES AND KEEP YOUR DISPLAY ROOM AS CLEAN AS YOU POSSIBLY CAN!!! Its bad enough combating them inside, but they rule the night outside! If you see a moth flying around your display room, send it on a 1 way trip to meet hitler, kill it!
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