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Mildew, Humidity, Moths, Silverfish, Hair Eating Beatles: Crash Course 101...By PaulR

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  • Joseph Reavis
    replied
    Originally posted by Ralph P View Post
    It turns out that it’s not the moth that actually eats wool. It’s 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 don’t 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 don’t do well in humidity less than 35%. They also need certain minerals to survive. Human sweat is a wonderful source of these minerals. That’s 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 don’t 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 – 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 – 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 doesn’t 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.

    Photo silverfish University of Minnesota
    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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  • N.C. Wyeth
    replied
    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!
    Attached Files

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  • Rkerrins204
    replied
    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!

    Ryan

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  • Jon Fish
    replied
    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.
    Attached Files

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  • juoneen
    replied
    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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  • OScaton
    replied
    Useful information. Like!!!!!!

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  • Dieter3
    replied
    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!

    Leave a comment:


  • donkihotis7
    replied
    Originally posted by Steve Ruppert View Post
    I have found that whole cloves (which can be bought in any grocery store with none of the dangerous side effects of moth balls) works well. I had a fellow collector who used moth balls to the extreme develop liver problems
    I am not sure what in the cloves keeps the moths/larvae away, but was told of this remedy by an old seamstress. (plus the cloves smell good)
    Have been using them for 30yrs for my uniforms with excellent results
    Take care
    Steve Ruppert
    Steve that is a great idea. I have never thought of that.
    What surprises me is that no one has mentioned the use of lavender. All companies like Aroxol, Raid, make moth repellent products which are lavender based. We can use lavender in it's natural form as well. If someone has in his garden this plant, he can cut the blossom and let it dry, then put it next to wool or other possible moth targets and results are guaranteed.
    Another thing that i do to protect my cashmere suits in the closet, is putting in my closets various kinds of little soaps. When i go to a hotel i always take as souvenir the soap bars they provide in the room. And those bars have a scent that keep moth away.
    Basically use anything with scented smell.

    Leave a comment:


  • Nick E
    replied
    Damp-rid

    I use a dehumidifier and also a great product called DAMPRID,its teh same idea as Paul pointed out about those moisture sucking packets,its a samll plastic tub with white moisture sucking pebbles that sit on top of a plastic screen the pebbles suck teh moisture out of the air and deposit the water in bottom of the small tub,I advise 2 or 3 for a medium to large size war room.YOU WILL NOT believe how much water and fluid is sucked into those buckets,it pours out cups of water after a week in the summertime!You want want to live without them,especially if you dont own a dehumidifier.each bucket is 4$ and a refill large carton is about 10$ that will fill 6 or so tubs,I also make makeshift tubs out of plastic bowls with styro bowls poked with holes on top to lay teh pebbles on.Cheaper than buying alot of tubs,then you can just by teh economical Damprid carton.

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  • kammo man
    replied
    One other thought on the problems that surround the hobby .

    One needs to keep your room really clean .

    dust forming over a space of months can lead to mold forming .

    I just did a major overhall of my war room and boy was it dirty .
    It seemed clean but with the cleaning I found plenty of bad things .


    Just a thought .


    owen

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  • Gordon Craig
    replied
    Steve,

    Thanks for your suggestion. I have never used mothballs because of the confined space in the rooms I keep my collection in. Cloves sounds like a great idea. Easy to procure and, as you say, a pleasant smell. Especially when compared to moth balls!

    Regards,

    Gordon

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  • Steve Ruppert
    replied
    Whole Cloves

    I have found that whole cloves (which can be bought in any grocery store with none of the dangerous side effects of moth balls) works well. I had a fellow collector who used moth balls to the extreme develop liver problems
    I am not sure what in the cloves keeps the moths/larvae away, but was told of this remedy by an old seamstress. (plus the cloves smell good)
    Have been using them for 30yrs for my uniforms with excellent results
    Take care
    Steve Ruppert

    Leave a comment:


  • Ralph Pickard
    replied
    Originally posted by kammo man View Post
    Raalph .
    Thanks for the info .

    I just had a bit of a mold problem .
    your info helped .
    owen
    Owen - Thank you very much for commenting on the thread very much appreicated. Paul R (fellow forum member) wrote this very useful article for all of us.

    Leave a comment:


  • kammo man
    replied
    Raalph .
    Thanks for the info .

    I just had a bit of a mold problem .
    your info helped .
    owen

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  • Gordon Craig
    replied
    Paul,

    Great article with very useful info.

    Ralph,

    Thanks for putting it where we can access it.

    A question for Paul. I have seen some uniform collectors put a form of moth repelent, like a sheet of paper, under the collars of tunics. I read an article on this product once but have lost that info. Would you please explain what it is and if it is safe to use on wool, garberdine etc.

    Regards,

    Gordon

    Leave a comment:

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