Our garden grows feverfew like a weed. I rather like the small daisy like flowers. I used to keep just a few plants dotted around the garden but now I cherish them and harvest armfuls of plants in July. The flowers are a good remedy for treating headaches but when I was researching potpourri I discovered they are an extremely good moth repellent.
Clearly moths don’t suffer from headaches as they steer clear.
Moths can be a problem at the cottage. Not the beautiful specimens that fly through the open windows at night. Rather the clothes moths. We discovered this summer that they have been eating our wool carpets too. Even Danny, who hates to kill any living thing, has undertaken special training to recognise a clothes moth and kill it on sight.
Drying feverfew is easy. Just harvest the plants, roots and all and hang them upside down somewhere airy and dry. A shed that doesn’t suffer from condensation would be perfect – a greenhouse or polytunnel would be too damp. You could of course move them into the house and hang them there. But make sure that it’s somewhere where there is plenty of air moving around.
Within a few weeks the flowers will have dried can be harvested and stored in an airtight environment such as a zip lock bag. Test them first to see if they crumble easily into feverfew dust – any moisture left in the flowers will go mouldy if you harvest them too soon.
If you haven’t the time to make bags, fill the centre of a pretty handkerchief with the dried flowers, pull up the four corners and knot them. Add a ribbon and you have a perfect small present for someone or yourself. Just put this handkerchief twist wherever clothes moths are a problem.
If you like you can mix other natural moth repellents with feverfew. In fact there are lots of natural moth repellents that you might grow in your garden or regularly throw away. Dried lemon and orange skins, for example. It would be worth drying and saving these to make into little sweet smelling anti moth bags for Christmas gifts. Herbs such as lavender, rosemary, mint and thyme and cedar wood all send moths into reverse. Make sure that you harvest these herbs on a hot day (when the oils are at their fullest) and dry bunches of the herbs these before the summer is over and you will be able to make moth proof bags for very little cost.
Of course you can just strew a handful or two straight onto the floor of your wardrobe/closet, airing cupboard or under your sofa. Clothes moths love low light so check all areas with these conditions regularly.
Home prepared moth repellents lose their intensity over time. Replace them every year and keep your eyes peeled for any areas that might have been overlooked.
It’s not the adult moths that do the damage. Once you have larvae you are in trouble – they will chomp through silk, wool, linen and similar expensive fabrics for months. Your best defense is to stop the adult moths settling in your house. If you do have larvae, consider deep freezing, dry cleaning or steam cleaning.
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