On evolution, or Breeding the super-moth


Moths - furry little fuckers

As I’ve mentioned before, we have a major moth problem in our house. The winged bastards are everywhere, and have already made a feast of the bedroom carpet, some of our coats, and Ricky’s suit.

We’re waging war against them with a programme of vigorous hoovering, chemical assault, and constant vigilance combined with brutal assassination, leaving trailing brown streaks on the walls.  So far, this seems to be keeping the moth population under control, and I’m trying not to freak out at the sight of every single speck on the walls. But I’ve recently been struck with a slight concern.

Being a good biologist, I’m familiar with the principles of evolution and natural selection.  Species adapt to their environment according to selective pressures to ensure their survival. So what if my anti-moth measures are actually helping to breed a super-moth?

My hypothesis is thus:  I splat the moths I can see on our white walls and paintwork.  But presumably there are moths I can’t see, who have sensibly remained burrowed in the nasty grey-beige rental carpet or hidden behind the wardrobe/under the bed/inside Ricky’s other suit.  Am I inadvertently removing only the stupid moths – who think that white emulsion makes a good camouflage – and letting the clever ones prosper? And is my spraying and hoovering only encouraging the pesticide resistant or particularly grippy ones?

It didn’t take that long for that icon of evolution the peppered moth, Biston betularia, to go from white to black under the environmental pressure of the industrial revolution. Next year, am I going to see rampant damage from a crack swarm of carefully disguised, chemically-impervious moths?  How long does this evolution malarky take anyway?

5 responses to “On evolution, or Breeding the super-moth

  1. Can’t answer your evolution question but I recommend mothballs. They’ll make you smell like a granny but the little buggers will go. Just be careful if you have pets in the house as I’m pretty sure they’re no good for them.

  2. I’ve got mothballs stashed everywhere (which reminds me, I need to change them). They seem to be keeping the moths out of my clothes drawers, but the carpet is beyond redemption 😦

  3. Your wool! Your stash! The moths must die! Don’t let them eat your knitting!

    • The only knitting victim so far was a pair of socks made out of obscenely expensive yarn (I was furious!), though gloves/socks/sweaters/mittens etc get periodic trips into the freezer if they look like moths have been on them. The rest of my stash is sealed in plastic bags with mothballs in a moth-proof chest, but I worry terribly about it.

  4. Pingback: Moths *are* wankers | You do too much

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