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

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

    Hello all - Here is another thread by Paul R (fellow forum member).

    All the data provided in this thread was put together by Paul and I am assisting him in getting the data posted on the forum.

    Comments and feedback appreciated...
    Somebody, after all, had to make a start. What we wrote and said is also believed by many others. They just don't dare express themselves as we did. Quote - Sophie Scholl - White Rose resistance group

    #2
    Mildew there is no real mystery. The mystery is that we can’t see it, but we can smell it at times. So how can something we can’t see, but sometimes smell help to us to understand it. To get a better understanding of mildew you need a microscope to see it. Mildew is a plant a fungus it’s actually like a mushroom. It’s like the yeast used to make the bread rise, and makes less interesting stuff into beer and wine.

    To understand mildew we need to see it as a threat to our collections. First of all you need to know that mildew needs moisture, or dampness – just like plants and other living things. So the obvious way is to reduce or eliminate that damp environment. In doing so you are protecting your collectables.

    There are a few basic steps in trying to control the moisture, or dampness that’s in our homes, and around our collectables. No matter where we store our collectables weather it’s a bedroom, office, or basement. The first item to consider is purchasing a humidity gauge. This is a tool to measure the moisture levels in a room. When purchasing a humidity gauge. Look at the different models out there just don’t buy the cheapest one on the shelf. We make it a habit to study and research our collections. So why not with the storage of our collections, and the areas we keep them stored in. In my past experiences buy cheap means you get what you pay for. Most of the time cheap is not always accurate. That humidity gauge could be off as much as 10 degrees that 10 degrees is a lot when it comes to controlling humidity in a room. The average humidity in a room should be between 40-45 degrees. Granted that can change several times a day, but you want to keep it right around that level. You may one to consider buying two humidity gauges. Keep one in the area of your collection, and the other humidity gauge for the overall room the collection is in. To help in maintaining that humidity levels invest in a dehumidifier. Again research what is available on the market and the one best suited to your home.

    The next method to help control moisture is an item called DESICCANT - things that also suck moisture out of the air. What is this item? They are a small packet commonly found in medicine bottles, new shoes, and electronics. The package usually say’s DO NOT EAT. You can purchase them made up already or they come in a kit form that you can make yourself. They can be dried out by placing in a low heated oven. So you can use them over and over again. You defiantly get your money’s worth out of these. The packets are usually small enough to place next to the artifact, or in the box with the collection items, or in a display case.

    The next item to control is dirt. It is not so obvious, but dirt will attract mold spores and mildew. You don’t want to put your tunics in a washer, or run to a dry cleaner once a year for the annual clean up. Besides to may drycleaner chemicals is bad for your items. A light powered suction vacuum with hose and a piece of nylon window screening on top of the tunic while vacuuming it will work just fine. An old fashion bristle cloths brush will help move that dirt off. DO NOT use the roller tape kind. Tape leaves residue behind! Also keep starched pieces of clothing clean. Old fashion starch attracts silverfish (insect).

    Please don’t make the mistake in thinking that if your collection is not made out of cloth, you are safe. WRONG! Paper, leather, fur, wood, wicker, photographs, painted surfaces, and a million other items will support MILDEW.
    Somebody, after all, had to make a start. What we wrote and said is also believed by many others. They just don't dare express themselves as we did. Quote - Sophie Scholl - White Rose resistance group

    Comment


      #3
      Silverfish and Firebrats Centipedes:

      These two little insects have been around of about 300 million years. In comparison the cockroach has been here only 50 million. Humans than a million years (in our current style)

      Everything about these insects including shape of there bodies says primitive look. There are around 370 species from four different families in the order Thysanura. Their distribution is worldwide. Some species are found in buildings associated with humans. Silverfish can exist under extreme environments. Some tolerate wet, cool regions, and others tolerate the low humidity and high temperatures of arid regions. How do they grow? Molting occurs throughout the life of the insect. It takes up to two years for a silverfish to complete its development from juvenile to adult. How long do they live? Silverfish can live up to four years. How do they behave? Despite being wingless, silverfish are rapid runners.
      Firebrats like it hotter than silverfish, and are darker in color, but you deal with the both of them in the same manner. They are like mildew in that they both need water – but unlike mildew- they go over to where they get water and then wonder back over here to eat your stuff, so the problem is a little bit complicated. They have a selective diet than mildew- they like starch and starch is what things are glued together with things like books, wallpaper, and starch in cloths. The list goes on and on. Older items or things were much more likely to be put together with glue/starch, or paste than modern things that are glued together with unappetizing glues.

      As to how to deal with these insects/bugs you need to take a more holistic approach because of their ability to wonder around to get a drink of water. Of course the friendly post control guy with there magic formula will wipe out just about anything. And leave behind a weird vapor chemical cloud not to mention a smell. We don’t want that around us, or our pets, food, and not to mention our collectables. There are a couple of “holistic remedies” That some people swear by it, and it is not harmful or toxic. Mix a 1/2 oz. of borax and ½ oz regular flour. Leave out on a paper plate on the floor. The bugs over dose on the mix and the borax bubbles in their stomachs and the little critters bloat up and die. It should also work on cockroaches too. (It’s on the principle of beer in the garden to drown slugs and garden snails).

      Infested books or other media printed materials that are infested can be sealed up in a large plastic bag along with a couple of desiccants. Place the bag in the freezer for 3-4 days. To kill any resident silverfish, and firebrats. Another method is to place some diatomaceous earth behind or near the book in storage. To keep away any paper-eating insects that might be hiding out. Here again this goes back to a moisture issue. Several desiccants placed in an acid free book, or collectable boxes, and a dehumidifier will solve the problem.

      Photo firebrat, cloth moth: curiosity of Clemson
      Somebody, after all, had to make a start. What we wrote and said is also believed by many others. They just don't dare express themselves as we did. Quote - Sophie Scholl - White Rose resistance group

      Comment


        #4
        Silverfish and Firebrats Centipedes:
        Attached Files
        Somebody, after all, had to make a start. What we wrote and said is also believed by many others. They just don't dare express themselves as we did. Quote - Sophie Scholl - White Rose resistance group

        Comment


          #5
          Moths and Hair Eating Beetles:

          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
          Somebody, after all, had to make a start. What we wrote and said is also believed by many others. They just don't dare express themselves as we did. Quote - Sophie Scholl - White Rose resistance group

          Comment


            #6
            Moths and Hair Eating Beetles:
            Attached Files
            Somebody, after all, had to make a start. What we wrote and said is also believed by many others. They just don't dare express themselves as we did. Quote - Sophie Scholl - White Rose resistance group

            Comment


              #7
              A fine article, with really valuable information. Credit should probably be given to the group of compilers of the original information set, at:

              http://www.discoverlife.org/mp/20o?search=Thysanura

              and it's associated links.
              I'd give my right arm to be ambidextrous.....

              Comment


                #8
                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

                Comment


                  #9
                  Raalph .
                  Thanks for the info .

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

                  Comment


                    #10
                    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.
                    Somebody, after all, had to make a start. What we wrote and said is also believed by many others. They just don't dare express themselves as we did. Quote - Sophie Scholl - White Rose resistance group

                    Comment


                      #11
                      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

                      Comment


                        #12
                        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

                        Comment


                          #13
                          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

                          Comment


                            #14
                            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.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              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.

                              Comment

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