Follow up on follow up of the fish moth ambush…

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The cleaning out of cupboards and spraying with lavender water continues. All food is in tightly sealed containers. Damp ‘newspaper traps’ are set in the bath @ night. And still the fish moths have not opted for alternative accommodation…

Fynn is teething quite badly at the moment – which means that I frequently wonder the house in the nocturnal hours – where I come across fish moths (night time being their preferred period of the day). In the carpet in our room, on a kitchen counter (!!!???!!!!) and a couple on the kitchen floor.

That’s it people!

I know fish moths are not easily dissuaded from sharing their home with you – and I will continue with the natural means that I have mentioned, but I have also decided to go ahead with the biocide that I referred to in my last post.

Have limited time with work, Fynn, Gray, masters etc to do extensive research on the ingredients, so am relying on the company’s word that the biocide will work (inasmuch as it can with fish moths), and on their interpretation for me of the EU directive and WHO standards I referred to in my last blog – which were just beyond me in terms of my technical understanding and capabilities:).

Essentially how it’s been explained to me (I now tell them its ‘crazy Aimée’ when I call – because I think they think that I am slightly off-balance – maybe because I’m actually asking questions about why these products are eco-smart?:)) is that once sprayed (and the product takes 10 minutes or so to dry), the product creates a thin layer that inhibits the transfer of oxygen – so not good to spray on a body of water, and if fish eat the contaminated fish moths (or other insects in the house subject to the spray) – then they will accumulate the toxins in their body. Contamination of ground water I am told is therefore not a problem – but rather the spraying of the biocide on to the top of a body of water.

We do have a pond on the property (with no fish – but frogs) – but this is situated quite a distance from the house so I think we will be ok here. The biocide will be sprayed a good distance from them.

Apparently the people who apply the spray are not even required to wear a mask while spraying (because the levels of toxicity are so low to humans and other mammals) – and this includes the gentlemen who owns the company who will also be spraying. Though will still keep Fynn far away while they apply the spray as a precaution!!!.

Will let you know how things go…

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Follow up on the curse of the silver scaled fish moth & its unwelcome presence in our home…

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Hello everyone! Hope that you’re all having a great day!

I have been (as you might have been able to tell by my previous post) fixated on (in the most sustainable and healthy way possible) ridding our cottage of fish moths. So much so that this morning when I popped past my pharmacist (who I know well) and starting telling her all the things that I’ve learnt about fish moths (e.g.. they can live for a year without eating – this has REALLY stuck in my mind) – she did give me a strange look, and wondered aloud whether it’s normal for any person (not in the business of pest control) to know so much about fish moths!:)

I think that she may have a point but onwards and upwards as they say:)

Theresa (my housekeeper) and I have been working hard on natural repellents. Given the lacklustre performance of cedar wood over the last few weeks, we have turned to lavender. This involves (as suggested in one of the links that I referred to on my previous post), mixing 100% essential lavender oil with tap water, and spritzing all (nearly) available surface space:). See attached pics of cupboard cleaning taking place on a bi-weekly basis at the moment. First clean the cupboard, then vacuum all the crevices in the cupboard, and follow up with spritzing of lavender spray.

The tools required, cleaning out & vacuuming! Cleaning out! Vacuuming of cupboards

Too soon to tell whether or not this has been effective – but our home does smell lovely:)

John and Susannah, thank you so much for your comments! I had no idea that there was such a thing as ultrasonic pest control devices. I have done some more research on this and have found that they can be bought in SA , but have found that there are some questions as to how effective this method really is in getting rid of all pests – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronic_pest_control.

Still. Something to consider…

As a final option, you guessed it, we may need to consider pesticide/biocide. Am looking for biodegradable, non-harmful to people, animals (other than fish moths) and plants…

A South African company who advertises that they do eco-friendly pest elimination (luckily I’m deciding who is the pest, and not the fish moth colony in our home) has sent me some information as to the products that they use to ‘take care’ of fish moths (see below). The treatment has to be done at least twice because fish moths apparently lay eggs on a daily basis – and so you first have to work on the fish moths, and then the one’s that have hatched since the last intervention…

fendona-2 copy

 

This biocide is apparently harmful to fish though – so care has to be taken not to get it into waterways or ponds etc. when applying it.

Brace yourself – this is the part where it all gets quite technical, and I am a little more than confused.

The EU directive that the biocide is stated to comply with is set out here http://ec.europa.eu/environment/chemicals/biocides/regulation/regulation_en.htm. (I must say that I just read the overview which emphasises the importance of human and environmental health). This apparently requires that it comply with the World Health Organisation classification hazard – see http://www.who.int/ipcs/publications/pesticides_hazard/en/.

The information provided to me by the company also states that the relevant biocide is a ‘class 3 hazard’.
In the following link which deals with ‘health hazards’ – http://www.unece.org/fileadmin/DAM/trans/danger/publi/ghs/ghs_rev03/English/03e_part3.pdf – ‘classifications’ as opposed to ‘classes’ are referred to in so far as health is concerned. The link – http://www.unece.org/fileadmin/DAM/trans/danger/publi/ghs/ghs_rev03/English/04e_part4.pdf which then deals with ‘environmental hazards’ refers to a whole other bunch of categories! So confusing to a layman (ie. me:))! Not actually sure where this product fits in with these regulations….

Will get more information and update you!

A

The curse of the scaled silverfish (moth)!…

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So I think I’m learning to talk the talk, but can I walk it in so far as sustainability is concerned?

Particularly when it comes to the wellbeing of my family and my clothes?! Listed in order of importance though anyone who knows me and is reading this will know that I do have a passion for clothes and that they are my vice:).

We recently moved to a lovely cottage which we are renting while we are renovating our new home (much more on that to come at a later stage. We are currently working on the design of the renovations with our focus being on creating an outcome that will allow the house as renovated, and as lived in by us – to be as sustainable, and energy and water efficient as possible).

What has come to my attention is that this lovely cottage is also much loved by a colony (read ‘VERY large settlement’) of fish moths (otherwise known as silverfish – because of their colour and the scales on their bodies). In addition, despite rigorous (I promise) daily cleaning and vacuuming, I come across them on a daily basis! Aargh…!

Fish moths are described as “slender, wingless insects … [with] bodies covered in scales…They have three tail-like appendages at the hind end. Each appendage is almost as long as the body” (www.pestcontrol.co.za). Also see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silverfish for more information and a graphically horrifying picture of a specimen.

While I actively try to introduce Fynn to nature and he loves spending time outside and in the garden, I would rather he not experience nature of the fish moth variety. Given the frequency with which I’ve come across these creatures over the last couple of weeks, I can attest to three things – (i) they do make me feel slightly nauseous when I speak or think about them (particularly if I think about them possibly moving through our clothing and food cupboards, or crawling up Fynn’s legs while he’s sleeping), (ii) they are making me slightly crazy in the sense that I keep checking cupboards and food storage containers for any sign of fish moth life, and (iii) those appendages at their tail end do exist, and they are indeed that long.

My head is trying to tell me that these creatures are a wonderful example of natural capital, that life on earth is interconnected and interdependent, and that as opposed to stalking them with whatever heavy object I may have to hand; I should be studying them – their processes and ecosystems, and learning from them about nature’s genius. Also, slamming down a shoe on a fish moth does not necessarily set a good example for Fynn as to how he treats animals in the future, and trying to rid our home of these moths one-by-one is not in line with a systems approach.

So, as a starting point. What interesting facts are available on fish moths that might make me want to try and coexist with them in our home? Wikipedia (same link as above) tells me:
– that “the predecessors of silverfish are considered the earliest, most primitive insects and one of the first animals to colonise dry land.” Wow, ok – interesting;
– that fish moths can apparently live for a year or more without eating (oh good gracious!!!); and
– while they are considered household pests, due to their consumption and destruction of property and contamination of food (yes – I do know that, though thankfully have not yet witnessed any destruction or contamination in our house (yet)!), they do NOT transmit disease. Huge relief!!
– also, they do serve as food for “earwigs, house centipedes, and spiders.” Sorry guys, you’re going to have to find another insect to feed on…

Ok. So my detailed (google) research (:)) confirms my original proposition that we cannot live in harmony and these fish moths must go! In truth, this was decided as soon as I saw the first fish moth make its appearance. Over the last few weeks we have been leaving bits of cedar wood and lavender (the smell of which they apparently don’t like) in cupboards. No luck yet. They still seem to be very happy to coexist with us.

Have picked up some additional pointers on this website and going to give them a go – http://pestkill.org/insect/bugs/silverfish/. Adopting two-pronged approach (1) setting up traps as suggested in above link tonight and have called a pest control company that say they use biodegradable pesticides to ask them if they can send me more information on the product that they use – re its efficacy and safety for humans, animals (other than fish moths) and the environment. They have said that they will send this to me later on today.

Will let you know what happens!

Hope you have a great weekend and are able to sleep with both eyes closed (not watching out for a fish moth):)

A