House Blog | The Great Deep Clean of Deene Park
Over the past few months our housekeeping team have been very busy conducting a deep clean of the entire house. Weeks of lockdown from Covid-19 coupled with furloughed staff had meant that parts of the house were left unused and unvisited, so in place of our usual summer visitors we were visited by clothes moths instead. Once spotted professional advice was sought to restrict further damage to our collections.
There are two main species of clothes moth, the common or webbing clothes moth ‘Tineola bisselliella’ and the case-bearing clothes moth ‘Tinea pellionella’. Here at Deene we discovered the case-bearing clothes moth.
Infestations can begin after flying adults find their way indoors through open doors and windows from nests, food sources or infested objects being carried in. The adults avoid the light, hiding in dark undisturbed areas such as cupboards, attics, basements and even under tables with floor length tablecloths. Clothes moth adults do not feed so they cause no harm to fabrics. However, the adults lay about 40-50 pinhead-sized eggs, which in turn, hatch into the fabric-eating larvae. The larvae hatching from the eggs spin silk webbing and because they can digest the animal protein found in hair, wool, fur, and feathers, they can cause serious damage to textiles, upholstery, and natural history specimens.
One generation normally takes a year to develop with the adults flying in the summer months. In heated buildings, two generations a year can develop, and sometimes even three.
It is interesting to note the following advice from Country Living:
HOW TO PREVENT MOTHS INFESTING YOUR CLOTHES
Moths are mostly drawn to the human sweat, hair and body oil that are left on clothing, particularly those made from natural fibres (wool, feathers, fur, silk). Therefore, it is important to wash your clothes before you store them, especially if you are putting them away for a long period of time. Store clothes in an air-tight bag or plastic container but not cardboard boxes as moths can chew through these. Vacuum regularly as moths can lay eggs in carpets too and keep your wardrobe ventilated as moths are attracted to warm, humid spaces.
HOW TO GET RID OF A MOTH INFESTATION IN YOUR HOME
- Wash all items of clothing that have been affected on a high temperature. Alternatively, put them in the freezer for a few days to kill any eggs.
- Clean all cupboards and wardrobes with a vinegar and water solution. Be careful here when cleaning antiques.
- Vacuum regularly to remove any eggs or debris that might be on and in the carpet.
- Buy a natural moth spray.
- Research a pest control expert in your area. Do not attempt to treat a moth infestation with normal pesticides or products which you have not checked for toxic qualities. These can be damaging if they are transferred onto your skin through your clothes or bedding. They are also harmful to most household pets.
SAYING GOODBYE TO MOTHS AT DEENE PARK
With the assistance of Bill from Fieldkraft Pest Control, we began a four-week programme to deep clean the whole house and annihilate any moths.
Bill assessed each room to determine the worst affected areas and the level of treatment required and then set to work fumigating the entire house, room by room, to ensure any living pests were eliminated. Bill’s next job was applying a spray treatment to carpet edges, soft furnishings, and fabrics to kill any eggs and newly hatched moths. This sounds like an easy enough job, but additional help was needed to carefully move historic and fragile items of furniture so that the spray treatment could reach those dark undisturbed areas and edges.
Once the spray was applied we avoided hoovering the carpets for two weeks to ensure the treatment had fully soaked into the fabric. After the two weeks had passed we set to work deep cleaning each room from top to bottom and sent regular updates to Bill so he could determine whether a 3rd treatment was required in certain areas. Post treatment monitoring was done by our dedicated housekeeping team and involved weekly moth tracking using sticky moth traps and in-house treatment on small areas using Constrain, a water-based insecticide spray.
Thanks to Billy and our housekeeping team the house, in its lockdown holiday, has now been properly cleaned and spruced up after 50 years being opened to the public. A well-earned rest but a great opportunity for us to ensure that Deene Park is ready to welcome visitors next year.
FIELDKRAFT PEST CONTROL
Bill comes from a rural background and has a lifetime of experience of British wildlife and the environments that support it. Bill has Twelve years’ experience as a local Authority Pest Control Officer and Dog Warden, five years’ experience as a full-time game keeper and several years as a part-time gamekeeper.
Nature is all about balance and Bill aims to achieve the best results by using the skills, knowledge and experience gained over the years to get that balance right. Prevention is, more often than not, better than a cure. It is all about knowing if it is suitable, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely.
Make sure you look out for our October House Blog so you can discover how the historic objects on display in the White Hall are inspected and cleaned.