Saturday 30 June 2012

making traps for clothes moths

The electric tennis racquet is seldom far from my reach these days, as the clothes moths take to the air all around the flat. Lord knows what awful scenes will be revealed if the House Teenager ever gets round to picking up the clothes ("I don't have any clothes") which lie 18 inches deep across her room.

I've been looking into DIY ways of getting rid of the moths, as, fun though it is to swat them with the ETR, the resulting ZAP accompanied by crackling and puff of smoke is a bit distressing. More for the moth than for me, but you know.

Apparently clothes moths are attracted to fish oil. So....

I boiled up some golden syrup with granulated sugar and a few anchovies

...dipped cartridge paper into the gloop...

...and found that I'd apparently created anchovy toffee. Whoops! set quite hard.

So I smeared a bit more golden syrup on the papers and left them to stop dripping.

And we shall see what happens when they get hung up around the place. Mothmageddon? Here's hoping.... Watch this space!

postscript: after two days hanging up, the anchovy toffee strips caught exactly 0 clothes moths. And they dripped gobbets of toffee onto the floor. Meanwhile, two strips of fly paper from the hardware store have caught 18 moths.



  1. Cedar wood, bugs hate cedar so short of making clothes storage out of it which is clearly not an option for THT get some lump of off cut cedar and shave it up. House will smell better than anchovy toffee though that sounds intriguing...

  2. nice idea, though I have a pile of Monterey cedar lying around the flat (a bit of guerilla woodgathering last year )

    I also have a gurt pile of camphor tablets... but the moths just go around them all. I'm hoping that rather than just try to move the problem from one part of the flat to another, I may be able to alleviate it by attracting and killing the little buggers!

  3. It sounds to me ad though Heston Blumenthal will shortly be asking you for the recipe.

    Would kippers present a stronger attraction?

  4. quite possibly! -but anchovies I has, and kippers I has not. Hmm, got some Thai fish sauce somewhere, for the next batch...

  5. It looks as if your cure may be worse than the pest. Anchovy in syrup? I hope it works.

  6. it didn't work, Bella. Meh. Now got mess on the floor too!

  7. Fly paper works for me, though I now only hang it from one central kitchen ceiling lamp -- I used to keep cactus under it until I stumbled into the cactus one night in the dark. The kitchen is the room with the most window light including a large bay window I keep open for cats during the cooler parts of the day and night. I catch mostly flies. I have had a problem in the past with miller moths when I stored bulk grain products so now I only do that in the winter. You could try paneling the bedroom with cedar. I like anchovies so the toffee does sound intriguing -- maybe with some plum schnapps.

  8. I may well make some more anchovy toffee just to try it myself, Larry! -thank goodness, we don't have miller moths. Had an infestation of rice weevils a few years back- a bag of Camargue rice given me as a present from someone who'd holidayed there got put on a high shelf and forgotten.... until next spring when it burst asunder, spilling a million rice weevils in every direction. Had to destroy all the unsealed dry food in the kichen, and hoover up the weevils, and keep on killing them and killing them for ages....