Spring is here. So are the carpet beetles.

We’ve been having gorgeous weather here lately. Like five days in a row of sunshine and warmth. That was broken yesterday (icky grey skies, but no rain). Today? Back to being gorgeous. So I heeded the Yarn Harlot’s advice and aired out my stash in the sunshine for a few hours. Luckily I have not found anything in my stash, but I do know that our house has a carpet beetle problem (it’s over 100 years old so there are bound to be issues!) so I keep checking it more often than not. Same goes for all of my hand knits and natural fibre sweaters (ie the ones that my dad has bought for me).

I remember how devastated and frustrated I was when I first discovered the infestation. It was horrible.

I’d left some of my swatches out in the attic bedroom. I didn’t see the point in storing them away properly since they were just swatches. So, when I went to tidy up the bedroom/stash room/random storage room a few weeks later, I picked up one of the swatches by a corner. It crumbled to pieces. ‘That’s weird’ I thought and picked up another swatch. Also crumbed. And that’s when I saw them. The woolly bears, aka larva of the varied carpet beetle, were all over the third swatch. It grossed me out to no end, but even before I knew what the squirmy tiny things were, I knew they had to die. So I grabbed some tissues and squished until I’d got them all.
I checked the rest of my stash. Back then it was all stored in the attic. Everything that had been in plastic ziplock bags was fine. The one handspun singles that I’d left unprotected? Ruined. Eaten through in at least ten places. Good thing I wasn’t attached to that singles. I’d only been practising drafting with that one and hadn’t planned on doing much more with it at the time.
Then the studying and exterminations began. I read up on the little terrors. Our landlady was great and got the exterminator to come over six times over the course of two years without any complaints. But to no avail. They just won’t die.

I’ve resigned myself to expect to see them every spring now. So far I haven’t found any woolly bears, but I have found some adults just randomly hanging out on the walls (obviously, they die a swift death immediately). It’s kind of worrying that I haven’t actually found the woolly bears yet. I don’t know what kind of damage they’ve inflicted this time.

I won’t worry about it though. I can’t do anything about them, so I’ll keep up with my constant surveillance of my knitted and knitting goodies. Maybe one day I’ll have managed to squish them all and delivered the threatening message to any other carpet beetles that may be considering setting up shop in my stash: Enter my home and you will die without mercy.

P.S. I’ve updated my Rav projects and stash pages with photos. Go have a peek if you want to see the Jacqueline cardigan.

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