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WootBot


quality posts: 17 Private Messages WootBot

Staff

February means Fashion Week in New York, where style trends are born and the newest looks are big business. But what about the rest of us? What about you, a randomly chosen non-supermodel reading a short trivia piece on the Internet? What do you know about fashion? Don't get me wrong, you look great today, but there are a lot of sartorial misconceptions that make the rounds in our culture. We've asked Ken Jennings, who is well-dressed at least by the low standards of Jeopardy! contestants, to go through our closets and throw out all the wrong stuff we thought we knew about our clothes.

Do Moths Eat Clothes?

I've always loved the cartoon trope of articles of clothing turning to tatters before Daffy Duck's very eyes in a flutter of moth wings. (What does Daffy care? He doesn't even wear clothes.) But depending on your definition of "moth," this is a thing that has never happened in real life. Most moths have the perfect alibi: they don't even have mouths!

The Debunker

The semantic issue here boils down to one question: Do you think butterflies and caterpillars are the same thing? If not, then the answer is no, moths won't eat the wool suits in your closet. Only two of the 15,000 species of moths in North America are "clothing moths"—lepidopterans in the family Tineidae—and their adult lives are only a few weeks long. Their atrophied mouths couldn't possible make a dent in your sweaters, so they live off of their fat reserves for less than a month without eating a thing, mate, and then die. Many never even learn to fly

So who eats your clothes? It's their kids, Marty! Something's got to be done about their kids! The common clothes moth will lay hundreds of eggs in its adult life, and the larvae that emerge are ravenously hungry for keratin proteins. They'll use those proteins to grow into tiny caterpillars, and then spin cocoons out of the very same fibers that used to be your cute top! Then they emerge as no-longer-hungry moths, and the cycle begins again

Speaking of misconceptions, the National Pesticide Information Center would like you to think twice before treating your moth problem with mothballs. Mothballs will only work in an airtight container, so just dumping some in a drawer or closet is pointless. And mothballs are nearly 100% composed of toxic stuff that kids and pets should be kept far away from—in some cases paradichlorobenzene, which is believed to cause cancer. Physical measures like brushing, freezing, washing in hot water, or dry-cleaning clothes, followed by vacuuming all nearby surfaces, can be just as effective as chemical warfare. Or just wear polyester! Moths hate pure polyester.

Quick Quiz: The nonprofit known as The Moth is devoted to bringing what ancient art form to a modern audience?

Ken Jennings is the author of eleven books, most recently his Junior Genius Guides, Because I Said So!, and Maphead. He's also the proud owner of an underwhelming Bag o' Crap. Follow him at ken-jennings.com or on Twitter as @KenJennings.

therealjrn


quality posts: 84 Private Messages therealjrn

Is that the show where people tell stories? It's pretty cool, sometimes a little too slick.

And why do you hate the Earth Ken Jennings? Polyester? Isn't that made from dinosaurs? That's a non-renewable resource, Ken Jennings.

mistermick


quality posts: 2 Private Messages mistermick

(Or just wear polyester! Moths hate pure polyester.)


so do most folks.
very unbreathable.

daveinwarshington


quality posts: 100 Private Messages daveinwarshington
therealjrn wrote:Is that the show where people tell stories? It's pretty cool, sometimes a little too slick.

And why do you hate the Earth Ken Jennings? Polyester? Isn't that made from dinosaurs? That's a non-renewable resource, Ken Jennings.

LOL.....

It's OK. Just watch out for the puce moths.

ps... The larva of a moth is still a moth.

therealjrn


quality posts: 84 Private Messages therealjrn
daveinwarshington wrote:LOL.....

It's OK. Just watch out for the puce moths.


Ever since somebody died and left Ken Jennings in charge of puce things have been amok in the puce world.

gabeshuman


quality posts: 0 Private Messages gabeshuman
mistermick wrote:(Or just wear polyester! Moths hate pure polyester.)


so do most folks.
very unbreathable.



Moths are partial to cashmere.

WoosterRooster


quality posts: 2 Private Messages WoosterRooster

One thing for sure, I really love moths!

Especially if I have a little mustard to dip them in.

I'm Wooster, the Woot Rooster

olcubmaster


quality posts: 33 Private Messages olcubmaster
therealjrn wrote:Ever since somebody died and left Ken Jennings in charge of puce things have been amok in the puce world.



All we are saying, is give puce a chance.

Sugar 'em up and send 'em home

ehmkec


quality posts: 0 Private Messages ehmkec

My neighbor used to use moth balls to keep my cats out of her yard. Do moth balls work to deter animal presence?

deanerino1


quality posts: 3 Private Messages deanerino1
ehmkec wrote:My neighbor used to use moth balls to keep my cats out of her yard. Do moth balls work to deter animal presence?



I think more effective for people, they wreak!

whatdoineedthisfor


quality posts: 0 Private Messages whatdoineedthisfor

What about all those cedar lined drawers. Do they help keep away moth larva?

bsmith1


quality posts: 155 Private Messages bsmith1

carpet beetles eat clothes

aphroatlas


quality posts: 2 Private Messages aphroatlas

Moth larvae eat clothing fibers, as do carpet beetle larvae. Not sure what mature beetles eat. Mature moths don't eat, but I may be misremembering my grade 5 biology lessons.