17 Jun 2022

On the Necessity of Killing Carpet Moths

Trichophaga tapetzella [1]
I have always liked moths. Indeed, I once wrote a post in praise of them: click here.
And even when they ate holes in my favourite Vivienne Westwood jumper, I didn't complain and figured it was not only in keeping with a punk aesthetic, but ethically the right thing to allow these little winged creatures the right to feast freely; they've got to live, after all.    
However, a £200 piece of knitwear is one thing and a £2000 pure new wool carpet is something else, and I fear that my fondness for moths and wanting to do the right thing by them won't stop me reaching for a spray gun should they start to munch away at my Axminster ... 
Now never in my life have I sprayed a living thing: I never wanted to. I always felt insecticides very repugnant: sinister, mean. Other people could spray if they wanted to. Myself, individually, it was repugnant to even try. 
But something slowly hardens in a man's soul. And I know now, it has hardened in mine. One must be able to spray carpet moths if they threaten one's home. For wherever man establishes himself  upon the earth, he has to fight for his place, against other forms of life. [2]

[1] Once common, this species of moth is now quite rare in the UK. The larvae feed on naturally-occurring fibrous material such as hair, fur, or feathers and are typically found in birds' nests (or carpets). The picture is a modified version of a photo of an adult specimen located at the Mississippi Entomological Museum.
[2] I'm paraphrasing D. H. Lawrence writing in 'Reflections on the Death of a Porcupine', in Reflections on the Death of a Porcupine and Other Essays, ed. Michael Herbert, (Cambridge University Press, 1988), pp. 353-54.

No comments:

Post a Comment