Friday, June 17, 2011

INFESTATION!!!!

The unthinkable happened.  I found a bag a beautiful black angora fibers infested with crawling winged creatures and it looked like they had been there awhile.  There were a lot of them. I didn't see any worms but I saw plenty of wings.  Not knowing what to do I turned to the Eternal Fountain of Wisdom and Knowledge....the Internet.  I read many discussion boards about what to do and what not to do, with plenty of conflicting information.  Some people even said there was no way to get rid of them because their eggs just hatch again.  I didn't like that answer so I decided to do a little of each opinion, hoping that I wouldn't ruin my bag of angora.  Here is what I did:
    
    Different Colors of  Angora
    
  1. Take all fibers out of plastic bags and lay them out where you can see all of it at once.
  2. Carefully pick out all the winged creatures, dead or alive, and pull out any fibers that they were touching.
  3. Place enough angora on an old cookie sheet so that it will won't fall off into the oven (that's right, I baked those suckers).  I used an old cookie sheet from my dye studio that I will never use for cookies. 
  4. Place the cookie sheet into the oven warmed up to 250 degrees.
  5. Bake for 1 hour.  Remove from oven and cool.
  6. Now place the angora fibers into separate mesh bags used for washing lingerie.
  7. 
  8. Fill Washing machine with hot water and 3 capfuls of synthropol detergent.  Synthropol is a special detergent that dyers use to strip their fabrics or fibers of all oils or contaminants so that they can take the dye cleanly.  Swish that around in the machine until well mixed.
  9. Carefully submerge the mesh bags in the water and let soak about 1 hour.  DO NOT AGITATE or you will felt your angora.
  10. Turn your washing machine to the spin cycle and spin out all the water.
  11. Take the mash bags out of the machine and remove the angora from the bags.
  12. Place the wet angora on cookie sheets again and put into the freezer (that's right, I froze those suckers.)  Leave them in the freezer at least 24 hours.  
  13. After the fibers are stiff and frozen, take them out of the freezer and place them on an old screen door to thaw and dry in front of a fan.   I placed some metal grid fencing on top of the angora so the fibers wouldn't blow away. 
  14. 
    Drying Angora Fibers
    
  15. After about 24 hours of drying, the fibers were clean and beautiful and I was able to get rid of all the visible remains of the moths.
However, I freaked out at the thought of all my fiber bins being infested so I decided to be proactive about it.  I had some cedar balls in and around some of my fiber but not all of them.  Anything made out of pure cedar seems to be very expensive, especially if I want some for every single container of fiber I own.  So I got creative. 

I purchased a large bag of cedar chips and some cedar oil from a hardware store.  I opened the bag of chips and poured them out into a large basin.  I soaked  the cedar chips with cedar oil so they would REALLY smell.


 Then I cut 30 navy organza squares 12" x 12" and sewed them together into little organza pillows.  I left an opening and filled the pillows with soaked cedar chips and sewed the opening closed.

Cedar Chip Pillows
Now I have a cedar pillow nestled in each wool bin, all our closets and even some extras for wherever else I don't want moths.
If they come back, I don't know what else to do but so far we have been moth free!!!!