Tiny killer wasps to your rescue!
You just discovered several holes on your favorite sweater, which you had carefully stored in your wardrobe. Panic sets in. You immediately think of moth infestation. Your stress rises another notch when you think about the chemicals you will need to use to get rid of those nasty clothes moths
You can now relax! Today an effective biological solution exists; Trichogrammas. These are tiny wasps that destroy the moth’s eggs.
The use of Trichogrammas against the textile moth (Tineola bisselliella) in Canada is relatively new and often raises many questions! In this article, we present this method of biological control and we answer the most frequently asked questions.
A small portrait of the clothes moths
Larvae (caterpillar) of the cloth moth
The textile moth is a small butterfly of the species Tineola bisselliella. The larva of this species can only complete its life cycle by feeding on animal fibers such as wool, hair and feathers.
The female prefers to lay its eggs in dark and quiet corners, close to animal matter, for example, wardrobes, storage rooms, chests, attics, etc. The whitish eggs measure 0.5 mm and are very difficult to observe on fabric. At birth, the small larva is about 1 mm long.
When temperatures are 25 to 30 Celsius, the larva completes its cycle in 2 months. At the end of its larval stage, it measures about 10 mm. With the animal material from which it feeds, it will create a small tubular form cocoon.
Screening - Manifestation and damages of the clothes moths
- Holes in woolen clothes, carpets, furniture made of animal material.
- Presence of white spots (eggs), larva or small tubular form cocoons on supplies, carpets and furniture.
- Small butterflies that fly in the rooms of the house.
Clothes moths egg on a fur coat
Clothes moths egg on a fur coat
Clothes moths eggs on a coat
Holes on fabric caused by clothing moths
Larvae (caterpillar) of the cloth moth
Author : Guido Gerding — Source : Wikipedia
Cloth mothTineola bisselliella
Author : Olaf Leillinger — Source : Wikipedia
Papillon de la mite du vêtement Tineola bisselliella
Author : Sarefo — Source Wikipédia
Propagation – Rodents are at top of the list!
The presence of rodents may favor the proliferation of clothes mites. The use of poison to reduce populations may cause an additional problem: Mice killed with poisoned bait may decompose in an inaccessible location such as walls, ceilings, etc. and thus become a breeding site for clothes mites. The larva of these will feed on the hairs, one of the last remnants of the mouse.
It is possible to apply diatomaceous earth, a powder consisting of multiple small fossilized skeletons of algae that pierces the larvae and kills them, in the cracks near the walls, base boards and other openings in the walls. This will avoid and intercept the migration of live larvae to your home.
Prevention - How to prevent infestations with these simple tips and tricks
- Wash the woolen clothes. Sweat and animal odors attract clothes mites.
- Keep your wardrobes and cabinets closed.
- Inspect your clothes for special occasions, which are usually less worn.
- Regularly vacuum your wool carpets.
- Watch for butterflies with pheromone traps.
- Check for holes in windows, doors, mosquito nets, etc.
- Insulate the house because the butterflies can enter through very small openings (ventilation, walls, etc.).
Eradicating clothing moths with Trichogrammas
Trichogrammas are widely used in Europe where they are one of the main solutions against food and textile moths. Moreover, the Natural History Museum in London, struggling with infestations of textile moths in their collections, has recently chosen Trichogrammas to overcome this problem. (An interesting article to read : When moths come to stay, there’s only one solution — The Telegraph, 18 June 2015.)
The Trichogramma (Trichogramma sp.) is a small insect measuring about 1 mm. This small parasitic wasp specializes in parasitism of butterfly eggs.
After mating, the female actively searches the eggs of textile moths to lay its own within them. It is able to detect the smell of moth eggs as well as the smell of moth scales.
1. Identification - The source of the problem
An infestation of textile moths can be a difficult problem to solve. In cities, the source of the problem can be outside the dwelling, in an apartment on the outskirts, within the walls of the building (strongly linked to the presence of rodents), in the ridges where bird nests are found, etc.
To resolve the situation, the Trichogramma cards must be applied at the source of the problem. When there is a constant supply of new adults, due to a problem of isolation or infestation in the periphery, Trichogrammas cannot resolve the situation definitively.
2. Installing Tricho-mite cards
For several years, Anatis Bioprotection has been distributing Trichogramma kits to eradicate textile moth populations in apartments, homes, pet shops, stores and warehouses across Canada.
3. Frequently asked questions on Tricho-Mites
- Treatment compatibility
- Treatment effectiveness
- Delivery and reception
- Refund policy
- Are Trichogrammas dangerous to humans or animals?
- Trichogrammas are harmless to humans, animals and the environment.
- Can Trichogrammas sting us?
- No, Trichogrammas do not bite.
- Will Trichogrammas reproduce and become invasive?
- Trichogrammas need butterfly eggs to reproduce. When there are no more eggs in the environment, the Trichogrammas disappear naturally.
- What happens to the Trichogrammas once the treatment is completed?
- When there are no more eggs to parasitize, the Trichogrammas die. They will be found in the dust of your home.
- How do I know if the Trichogrammas have emerged from their pupae?
- After 3 weeks, open the card and observe the surface of the dark eggs inside the card with a 10X magnifying glass. You will find small exit holes that indicate that a Trichogramma has emerged from the egg.
- Why are there beige eggs and black eggs inside the card?
- Black eggs are parasitized by a Trichogramma while beige or pale brown eggs are non-parasitized and therefore, sterile. These are not counted in the total number of pupae on the card.
- How long does it take before the Trichogrammas emerge?
- The emergence of Trichogrammas occur 3 to 10 days after they are removed from the refrigerator.
- How do I calculate the number of cards I require for a treatment?
- The cards must be placed in areas susceptible to clothes moth reproduction. Since it only reproduces in natural fibers such as fur, wool, animal hair and feathers, the cards do not have to be in rooms that do not contain this type of fiber.
Our 32card basic kit will generally treat a house about the size of a 51/2 for 8 weeks. It is possible to add additional cards to your basic kit.
- How long does a treatment last?
- The duration of a treatment may vary depending on the source and level of infestation. For a local infestation and without new contamination, the treatment is generally 8 weeks.
In cases where the infestation is severe and the source of contamination is unknown, treatment may be prolonged.
- Where do I place the Tricho-Mite cards in my house?
- Place the cards in the infested areas (with the presence of larvae) or in susceptible breeding areas (for example; where there is animal fiber clothing such as wool, furs and feathers). You do not have to put cards in all the rooms. You must only target the places susceptible to reproduction.
- In what position should I place the Tricho-Mite cards in order for them be effective?
- The position of the Tricho-Mite cards does not matter. It may be placed upright or flat, as long as it is not exposed to direct sunlight, near a heat source or where it may be crushed or damaged.
- Should I open the cards before installing them?
- No, the cards are stapled to protect the Trichogrammas. Being very small, they can get out of the card with ease.
- Do I have to keep the windows closed during treatment?
- Yes, it is best to keep the windows closed during treatment. This will prevent outside butterflies to enter and contaminate your environment again and will keep the Trichogrammas indoors.
- How do I keep my unused Tricho-Mite cards?
- Unused cards must be placed in the refrigerator (4 to 10 Celsius). You can keep the cards in a dish or plastic bag.
- How long should the cards be left in place?
- Each card must be left in place for a period of 3 weeks.
- Are Trichogrammas compatible with cedar oil?
- It is preferable not to apply cedar oil once Trichogrammas have been introduced in the environment as this may affect them.
- Are Trichogrammas compatible with mothballs?
- Trichogrammas and mothballs are not compatible. In addition, these products consist of paradichlorobenzene, a substance considered to be carcinogenic.
- Can I vacuum after Trichogrammas are in place?
- Yes, you can resume your normal activities (vacuum cleaner, brooms, cleaning, etc.).
- How to evaluate the work of Trichogrammas?
- In closed environments, we notice a decrease of captures in the pheromone traps. In addition, the presence of larvae and the damage they cause should be considerably reduced or even absent after treatment.
- What are the delivery delays?
- Upon reception of your order, your shipment will be sent within 10 working days. We use an Express Delivery service which allows you to receive your product within approximately 48 hours after shipment.
- How do I know my order is on the way?
- An e-mail will be sent to you with a tracking number as soon as your order is shipped. This tracking number will allow you to estimate the time of arrival.
- Why is a signature required upon reception of my delivery?
- Due to the perishability of the product, Anatis Bioprotection requests a signature upon receipt of the order. This allows us to certify the date and time of delivery. In case of mortality due to excessive heat or cold and potential replacement, this information helps us determine to whom is the responsibility.
- At the front desk, the icepacks in the box were no longer frozen. Could this affect the quality of the cards?
- Usually, delivery takes place within 48 hours. Even if icepacks are no longer frozen, this will not affect the viability and effectiveness of the Trichogrammas. The important thing is to quickly place unused cards in the refrigerator as soon as they are received.
- Is complete eradication of the pests guaranteed?
- Since the treatment conditions are beyond our control, Anatis Bioprotection cannot guarantee the complete eradication of the pests. Some sources of infestations come from outside the treated environment and are very difficult to control effectively with Trichogrammas.
- Can I return the product?
- Due to the perishability of its products, Anatis Bioprotection does not accept returns.
- Upon delivery, I notice that Trichogrammas are wandering inside the box, what can I do?
- In case of early emergence, take a picture of the emergence and contact Anatis Bioprotection’s Customer Service at 1-800-305-7714 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org