I used to think the connection between moths and wool a funny cliche, we even have a children's book at home called Martha Moth Makes Socks. It's cute and funny when she nibbles on all of the wool yarn. I don't think moths are cute anymore. A recent foray into the stash at home discovered I had a very serious moth infestation. The little buggers had been feasting on my stash for quite some time. There was a lot of cursing and then sheer panic. Thankfully I didn't lose too much but even the little loss I had was devastating. I thought I would share some tips I've found while doing my own research on how to deal with the little jerks.
1. Store your stash in air tight containers.
Of course this only works if you know for certain you have no moths already. If they're already in your wool putting them in a bin or bag won't do anything but make them a nice little home. Make sure you're moth free and then store everything in bins with locking lids or those air tight vacuum seal bags. It's not a pretty way to display it but it's just not worth the risk otherwise.
2. Use cedar blocks or lavender sachets to repel moths.
Moths don't like strong smells even if they're ones humans like. Placing cedar blocks or lavender in your stash will help prevent them from infesting.
3. Check your stash often.
The older some of your wool the more likely it is to attract moths. They like dust and keeping wool around for a long time with make it more delicious to them. A lot of my stash is a decade or more older so they probably thought they'd hid the wool jackpot. Look for signs of damage like frayed ends and holes in any garments. Seeing adult moths around your stash is a sure sign as is a strange granular, sand-like "dust" on your fibers. If you notice any of these things here's a few things you can do. Take all of your stash, not just the infected skeins but all of it and put it in black garbage bags. Put the bags outside or in your car on a hot day. This should kill any larvae, eggs or adult moths that have burrowed in your wool. Take everything out and then wash the skeins with a wool wash. You can also freeze your yarn. This does the same thing as extreme heat. Killing any eggs so they can't hatch. This works well if you have one of those chest freezers and can throw a bunch in at a time. (There may be some yarn in the freezer at the shop...)
4. Trap those buggers
I didn't know moth traps were a thing but they are! I'm planning on ordering some of these to hopefully catch the remaining moths I've seen flitting around the house. They're a non-toxic solution for dealing with a serious infestation.
5. Quarantine new / used wool
If you buy used wool or skeins that someone is de-stashing it's always a good idea or quarantine those skeins first to make sure you're not introducing a colony of wool-eating pests into your pristine stash. This is an especially good idea if you don't really know how the skein was stored previously or for wool from a thrift shop. Follow the steps under No. 3.
I'm still in the middle of moth-pocolypse but it's looking better. I've read that it can take weeks to really clear an infestation but I'm positive I'll rid myself of them for once and for all. These are just the methods I'm using right now but there's many other way of dealing with the pests. If you have some more tips feel free to share them!