Monday, September 24, 2007

Animal of the Week -- September 24, 2007

Good Monday Anifreaks!

Honourable mention to Paul Genders (age 27 and five-sixths) who was the only person to tell me that Xestus is the name of the Greek god of sea and ocean currents who helped to guide the Argo on its journey. Well done Paul, and many many thanks.

Onwards and onwards.
This week's animal of the week was brought to my attention by a friend with whom I went to see Feist last night, a grown man wearing a lovely knitted jumper with the shape of a shark emblazoned across it in red, taking up a good fifty percent of the area of the jumper frontage. With its broad head and tapered streamlined body, its stiff projecting pectoral fins and menacing pose, I recognised the animal instantly... but that's enough about my friend.

Unfortunately for my friend, his jumper had been attacked by this week's animal of the week Tineola bisselliella (common clothes moths). These little blighters seem to be plaguing people a bit this year, as this was not the first assault on a wardrobe I had heard of this year, not by a long chalk.

Clothes moths used to be important pests, but increased use of manmade fibres, less-humid housing due to central heating, more dry cleaning, and greater use of insecticides have led to a decline in damage. Nevertheless, when they do get in among your woollens, furs, and natural fibre carpets their effects can be most vexing.

The entirely anecdotal and unfounded plague of moths this year, the presence of which I have inferred from a few accounts of acquaintances and things written on internet forums (that's what a year of postgraduate science education does for you) is likely due to one of three things: global warming leading to a very wet summer, terrorism, or government conspiracy (an umbrella term for the previous two options anyway).

My love for all the animals (except slugs) is well documented, so I'd like to encourage you all to look on the bright side of common clothes moths. If you clean out your cupboards and vacuum thoroughly you should be able to control an infestation. The moths are particularly attracted to clothes with remnants of perspiration, food and drink spillages, or urine on them, so perhaps there are one or two lessons to be learned from an infestation anyway. And failing all that, because they start with the most accessible bits of your clothes, the holes they make in the cuffs of your jumper are ideal to put your thumbs through when the inevitable second grunge revival strikes (the first grunge revival occurred when I had an infestation of clothes moths in East Finchley in 2001 [ie, the heyday of emo]).

Many thanks,

Peter Hayward
Head Keeper
Animal of the Week

ps, having struggled this far through AOTW, you will be shocked to learn that I am both an editor and a writer. Now that my MSc is over and before I have to return to selling what god gave me for £20 a pop above a Soho hairdressers, I am looking for freelance/temporary/permanent work. Do you know anyone who needs any editing and/or writing done? If so, please let me know.

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