The Great Clothes Moth Menace: Can we have a giant lightbulb over Edinburgh Castle please? – Susan Morrison

The rule has always been very simple. Wildlife, and by this we generally mean spiders, flies, beetles and non-specific wee crawling things, when outdoors, are fine.

Thursday, 6th May 2021, 4:45 pm
Clothes moths can be caught in a pheromone trap but Susan Morrison is considering more drastic measures (Picture: PA)

I figure that’s their environment, live and let live. Regular Ol’ Attenborough, that’s me.

Come into my house, and it’s showtime with a rolled-up Evening News. Not spiders. That calls for the vacuum cleaner, a shower cap and goggles.

Bees, of course, are different. It’s a glass and a bit of junk mail for a snatch-and-release mission there. Thanks to the Conservative Party, I now have a plentiful supply of bee-rescuing post to hand, and for lining the cat tray. Just a quick heads up to Tory HQ, George Galloway’s outfit is using a better quality paper. More absorbent, if you know what I mean.

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The same used to go for moths. They got a bit of a pass as well, probably because I couldn’t tell the difference between them and butterflies, and who wants to splat a butterfly?

When I was a kid, big brown moths used to blunder about the lightbulbs until my dad caught them and let them out. Once, in Yorkshire, dozens of massive soft-bodied moths walloped into our holiday cottage window, like harmless hulking laddies trying to get into one last bar but too drunk to find the door, and, like a well-behaved squiffy stag-do, were placid when we shooed them out.

No more, moths of Leith. The free pass is rescinded and it's Nae Pasaran to my new fluttering enemies. Our house is bung fu’ of them. And now that you are in my territory, pal, it's game on.

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They’re everywhere. Strange, white, sinister moths flutter forth from drawers, cupboards and rise from the carpet. One flew out of the wardrobe. All my clothes reek of moth repellent now. Dunno about the moths being repelled, but I’ve discovered that social distancing has an upside, if you stand downwind.

Where are they coming from? I am not alone. My social media is full of pleas for solutions to rid our homes of the fluttering ghostly presence. Woollens are being consumed. Cotton sheets have moth-munch marks. Cashmere is not safe in this city.

I’ve tried walloping every one I see, but they don’t half leave a mess on a newly painted wall.

Drastic solutions have been sought. The Yorkshire husband sourced wee cards with some sort of chemical on them. They are quite pretty. He didn’t tell me he had stashed them about the place, though, so for a few weeks I thought I was finding tiny playing cards left about by a card school run by the fairies.

We tried a trap thing. They must have read the instructions, too. And stayed well clear.

We have hoovered and cleaned and cleared but still the phantom menace rises.

We have reached for the nuclear option. The Moth Bomb. I found it on the internet. It sounds terrifying. The warnings alone made me click ‘buy now’. I ordered four. I am rather hoping it's delivered by DHL and not the RAF.

Given that the city seems to be overrun, I’ll report back. Our only other mass solution is a giant lightbulb above the Castle to see if we can lure them all out that way.

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