Sunday, May 17, 2009


We have a moth infestation in our house. For several weeks we've seen moths all over. Not a veritable swarm of them, just two or three of them here or there. Sometimes upstairs, sometimes downstairs, sometimes on the stairs.

Moths are incredibly dumb and easy to kill. Maybe that's why they procreate with such fervor. But on second thought, rabbits also procreate with fervor, and they are quick. And upon even further reflection, I realize that rednecks procreate with fervor, and they are slow and dumb. Not always - the NASCAR drivers can be pretty fast, at least when they are behind the wheel. But than again, maybe some moths are fast, too. I guess it goes to show that speed and propensity to procreate don't go hand in hand. Procreation obviously goes something in something, but let's not dwell on that now...

I didn't know what to do about the moths, so I consulted The Oracle (i.e. Google). The Oracle told me that moths usually set up shop in a pantry or a closet. That may be true, but it is not helpful. We have one pantry and many closets. As you may have surmised by evaluating the long stretches of time between posts on this blog, I am either very busy or very lazy (answer: both). Rather than hunt down the source of the moths, I chose to wait until an answer presented itself to me. As I noted before, moths are dumb and I knew they would give themselves away eventually.

Last week I saw three moths above the door of an upstairs closet. I killed them, and then out of curiosity I opened the closet door and found two more inside. This is more than enough circumstantial evidence to convince me that I found their lair.

I went to Home Depot (TM) on my lunch break and bought a box of moths balls. I work from home, so when I got back to the office (home), I gave the box to my wife so she could distribute them accordingly. By "accordingly" I thought she would read the directions, which said something about a number of balls to use per cubic foot. Now I'm no math major, but I do know that we didn't need to use the whole box for that single closet. My wife - God love her - is not a math major either, and she chose to use the whole box. She just opened it up and set it in there on top of a suitcase.

I didn't realize this until last night, when I retrieved my own suitcase from said closet to pack for a trip to Orlando. I noticed the Very Strong Smell coming from the closet. I did not notice how deeply embedded that smell was in my suitcase until I got to Orlando, where I was able to identify my luggage on the baggage claim carousel by scent alone.

It turns out that the mothball odor is highly transferable. In fact, it has fully permeated every stitch of clothing that I brought with me on this trip. I am quite amazed that I have been able to type so many words through the haze emanating from my t-shirt right now. I am very identifiable on the trade show floor, but not in the way I had hoped.

When I get back home, those f*&^%ing moths had better all be dead.


Lady Glamis said...

Oh, wow. Um, can you go buy some new clothes and luggage? That's terrible! Stupid moths. I've heard about moth balls being quite strong, but wow, THAT strong is amazing. In your case, sadly horrific. :(

Hope the rest of your trip goes okay/

Rick Daley said...

The clothes are starting to air out. I pulled everything out of the suitcase last night.

This is my first experience with mothballs, but I've heard about their smell since I was a kid. No I know why!

Laurel said...

The fragrance your referencing is napthalene. I happen to be one of thirteen people in existence who love that smell. My grandfather's house always smelled like mothballs and I didn't know what the smell was until 8th grade physical science class when we talked about it. All my cousins share the same affinity for mothball smell.

My grandad was the most amazing man. You can ask anyone who knew him, not just relatives. If he smelled a little like mothballs then that meant mothballs smell alright.

If I were at the trade show, I'd be drawn to you like a "moth to flame." (Sorry...too easy and one drink in to cocktail hour.)

Rick Daley said...


Most of the time I wear CK Escape aftershave and cologne. When I travel I wear obsession. Once when we were away my older son hugged me and told me I smell like Grandpop. The next time I talked to my Dad I asked him if he wears Obsession, and he said that he does occasionally. A child's nose doesn't lie!

Laurel said...

Both lovely fragrances, if you have no mothballs handy!

Anita said...

This post had me rolling!

You know the whole sudsy water under a light trick, right?

Rick Daley said...


What is this trick of which you speak?

We still have f*&^ing moths here. I killed 4 of them last night.

Vodka Mom said...

omg I am laughing my ass off right now.

AND, I smell moth balls. BOY you're good.

Crimogenic said...

After years of my grandparents using boxes and boxes of moth balls in their pantry, all of their food (stored in that pantry) taste like moth balls and I refused to eat anything that comes out of there. Sadly, they don't seem to notice it. Rick, you can wash away the smell if you cut out some of the m-balls, but imagine going to some one's house and getting say crackers from the pantry and thinking, 'wow, this taste incredibly like moth balls' :)

Anita said...

All you do is put a large bowl of sudsy water on a table with a light over it. Think dining room table with light on, soapy water bowl on top of table. Go to bed. The next morning, you will have tons of drowned moths.

WORD VERIFICATION: diescul (close to die moth) :)

Rick Daley said...

I'm going to try the sudsy water trick tonight. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the soapy-water-and-light-moth-catching trick.
Will try and see if it catches the stray moths tonight.

Anonymous said...

I must be person 14. I just love the smell of mothballs in the morning- or any other time. Brings back memories of winter clothes like sweaters, ski pants, jackets, gloves, scarves or other items that were put away in the spring to be used again in the winter.