Parasitic Wasps

Friend Kristin has read my moth diary and she’s keen to tell me about a “natural” solution involving parasitic wasps.

Apparently you release the wasps at home and then seek out any unhatched moth eggs, feasting on them as the world’s grossest caviar.

Unleashing some wasps is immensely appealing, but I can’t help wonder if the situation wouldn’t get out of control. What, prey tell, will eat the wasps? Before you know it, you’ve entered an “old woman who swallowed a fly” situation and you now have a rather impractical horse infestation and you’re spending your evenings filling out the import forms on various apex predators. Your little West End flat becomes known as the spot where passersby are routinely plucked off the street by tentacles. We’d never get post again.

As it happens, the pheromone trap is doing rather well, our ten-moths-a-day murder count now reduced to one or even fewer. The trap now resembles a luscious moth-wing carpet, which I now plan to use to repair the various holes they’ve made in an act of mortal irony.

First Rule

All of the low-use fabric items in our home (bed linens, winter clothes) are neatly stacked and stored in vacuum-sealed bags, which always amuses any friends who happen to notice. They think I’m an anal-retentive madman.

While I’d be lying if I said the zip-locked order doesn’t appeal to that side of me, it’s really only a measure to thwart our pesky, gourmand house moths. The first rule of pest control, before you get onto exotic poisons and psychic warfare, is to remove their food supplies.

Or maybe the “first rule of pest control” is that we don’t talk about pest control. In which case my frequent blogging of the experience will probably see me barred from the clubhouse. I’ll have to hand in my insecticide-laden badge and moth-hunting gun, a teeny-tiny blunderbuss.

But maybe the first rule of pest control is actually more like a Hippocratic oath: “first do no harm by actively breeding pests, especially radioactive super-pests that will swallow the world.”

That one. I believe in that one.

Snob Moths

My trousers, dear diary, have fallen.

To moths I mean.

And not just any trousers. These were the long-loved, Italian wool Cad & The Dandy trousers. They were something of a souvenir of the days when I could afford such things. I’d had them for over ten years and I’d been planning to pass them down to my children or, failing that, to someone else’s. Or maybe to the Robert Wringham Memorial Library and Museum.

But now, all is lost. They’re in the outside bin now, riddled with minibeasts, and waiting for Stinky (our local tramp and victim of nominative determinism) to dig out.

Clearly, our moths are snob moths, for they have not touched any of our other clothes. Only the finest dining will satisfy this winged Hun.

Well, I hope you are satisfied, moths, because this means War. Capital “W” and everything.

I claimed upwards of thirty of their number today, just stopping short at mounting their heads on teeny-tiny pikes.

I vacuumed the floorboards–thoroughly–to rattle their cage a bit. Then I squashed any that happened to flutter up into the room. Then I set the pheromone trap, which has so far claimed five. Then, after thoroughly checking for other damage, I zip-locked anything that might constitute a food supply. Then I raided the DMZ (by which I mean the hall closet, which I thought the moths mutually understood to be neutral territory). Raiding that closet, where so many of them hang like bats during daylight hours, was like that bit in John Carpenter’s Vampires where they tear the walls off the undead’s dosshouse to bring them screaming into the sunlight.

As night falls, I find myself bare-chested and bellowing into the stars, face smeared red with the blood of my enemies. Or, as the case may be, slightly dusty with their wing powder.

Hi, Moths!

Coming in from a walk, I say “Hi Darling!” and then, “Hi Moths!

Apparently, a large moth once flew into Judy Garland’s mouth while she was singing “Over the Rainbow,” on stage in Los Angeles. She couldn’t just gob it out like a midfielder in the middle of a show, so she popped it into her cheek for later, like how a hamster stores nuts and berries.

Moth Florida

I like to think we’ve become dab hands at murdering the moths that encroach upon our expensively-rented-but-decidedly-modest flat.

We have all manner of trap and deterrent about the place. We’re also swift at smiting them the old-fashioned way when they’re not wearing their invisibility cloaks.

This morning, however, I spotted a moth in the base of our wardrobe. I pressed him with my index finger, which is usually enough to obliterate their fragile insect bodies but something about the action didn’t feel right.

I’m not talking about morality here. What I mean is that it didn’t feel right, physically, on the pad of my finger. I’ve become so accustomed to moth murder that I could tell by touch that his soul had already left his body and fluttered away to Moth Afterlife.

(I very much hope Moth Afterlife is a different place to people afterlife. I do not want any kind of reunion, thanks.)

I tend to assume, optimistically it seems, that we kill the moths shortly after hatching, but today’s moth had clearly died of old age. I hope he was happy living out his golden years in the Moth Florida of my silken suit linings. Moths tend to shit silk though, don’t they? It’s equals-pequals really.


AJ from New York is staying over. Kicked back on the chaise this evening, he suddenly sits bolt upright. A moth has landed on his eye.

I don’t say this at the time, but I actually saw the moth en-route. It came up from a gap in the the floorboards and went straight for his eye. Direct flight, no connections.

I still think our rent is too high.


Cooking together in the kitchen, we’re surprised when a clothes moth appears seemingly out of nowhere. We do not dwell on what the little bleeder is doing in the kitchen.

The moth scourge is known to all who live in old Glasgow houses and, while they’re easy to smite when you catch them in repose, they’re surprisingly difficult to twat in mid-air.

They have a crazy tendency to turn invisible (perhaps the light hits their wings a certain way or they fly too close to your eye or something) so once they’ve got your attention, they hold it for a while as you try to spot them again before they escape. It’s mildly annoying and it happens at least once day.

Tonight’s moth had apparently become invisible to Samara but not yet to me, so when I lunge and squash it against the tiles of the splash guard, I look like a genius. “Your power!” she says, “It’s real!”