“When Adam and Eve ate the Apple and dressed themselves; they did not realize that they were inviting a host of enemies for them.”
Have you ever noticed mysterious little holes that appear in your clothes and you can’t remember ever snagging or running into something that would have caused them? You could be looking at an example of insect damage! Little tiny pesky insects, so small you hardly see them, may be doing considerable damage to textiles
Clothing is the basic need since time immemorial and has turned into a huge market with the growing generations and introduction of various trends. Exclusive clothing ranges are developed to deal with the extremely hot and extremely cold climates.
The technology made the textile sector bloom with various new qualities to keep the cloth long lasting, with good wash fastness and comfort properties. The one thing that the technology is yet to successfully fulfill is to fight the problem of rodent, termites and other insects destroying the fabric.
Cellulose is one of the major constituent of the textile like cotton, jute and viscose. Termites are known to feed on cellulose and thus attack the textile and destroy it. Some of the textile like wool fibre contains keratin as their major component. There are about 30 species of moth larve, 15 species of beetle larve and hundreds of species of bird infesting biting lice- Mallophaga known to digest keratin and thus destroy wool. Textiles not only cover the clothing sector but are also used in fields like geotextile, home textiles, auto textiles etc.
Insect damage occurs on any fabric containing cellulose or animal fibers, including blends of wool, mohair, silk, cotton, leather, natural bristles, feathers etc. This also includes the specialty fibers made from camel hair, alpaca, llama, guanaco, vicuna, and cashmere. Be especially cautious of articles left undisturbed for a long time, such as old military uniforms, blankets, feathered hats, tuxedos, overcoats, evening gowns, hats, antique dolls and toys, and wall hangings.
Don’t think that by using a synthetic blend that insects will stay away! Synthetic blends with as little as 10% natural fibers are also not immune to insect damage. These synthetic fibers may contain residues of gum and sizing from processing, which is very attractive to insects.
The ability of these tiny creatures to cause heavy damages and loss pose a great trouble to man. Most people are quite aware of cloth moths and the damage they can cause, thus the term “moth-eaten.” However, the moths are just one of the top three causes of all insect damage to fabrics. The other two are carpet beetles and silverfish. References to insect damage date from very early times. There’s a biblical reference in James 5.2 “Your clothes are moth-eaten.” In 400 B.C. it’s reported that Aristophanes said, “Moths were eating the feather plumes of helmets.”
There are two methods of the cloth damage : direct and indirect;
Direct Insect Damage
Direct damage is caused by insects that feed directly on the fabric of your garment. They are especially attracted by leftover smells of food stains and body oils. Common examples are webbing cloth moths, case making clothes moths, carpet beetles, and sometimes termites.
While feeding on the fabric the insect cuts or weakens the surface fibers. Often the damage is not even noticeable until after an article is dry cleaned or washed. During cleaning, the weakened fibers are flushed away, leaving damage visible on the garment. In addition, discoloration to the fabric may be caused by the insect droppings.
A different type of damage, “indirect damage,” occurs when insects feed on spilled food or perspiration on the fabric. The “trails” of indirect damage follow the direction of food or beverage spills. Common examples of insects that do indirect damage are: silverfish, crickets, beetles, and roaches. Most of them feed on natural starches and glues, leaving visible damage (but not holes) on finer fabrics such as silk, cotton, linen and rayon.
Indirect damage generally leaves “trails” on the surface of the fabric. Silverfish, for example, eat at the surface leaving a “shaved” look, but will usually not leave actual holes in the fabric.
Termites, storms and neglect have damaged the famous shoe collection of Imelda Marcos, the former Philippine first lady.
23 September, 2012
Hundreds of pieces of late strongman Ferdinand Marcos’ clothing, including the formal native see-through Barong shirts he wore during his two-decade rule, have also begun to gather mold and fray after being stored for years without protection at the presidential palace and later at Manila’s National Museum, officials told The Associated Press on Sunday.
They left behind staggering amounts of personal belongings, clothes and art objects at the palace, including at least 1,220 pairs of Imelda Marcos’ shoes.
But part of Imelda Marcos’ shoe stash, left behind after she and her dictator husband were driven out of the Philippines, has been badly damaged by termites, floods and general neglect, officials said today.
Insect damage to textiles in the United States is estimated at $200 million annually. According to the National Pest Control Association of US, fabric pests are making a comeback because most of the residual insecticides formerly used in their control (dieldrin and DDT) have been banned. This has caused those who deal with the insect damage to take a multi-faceted approach to spotting early signs of infestation, recognizing its causes, controlling the environment, understanding the life cycles of the pests and their “preferences,” and developing new and creative control measures and eradication techniques, and consumer education programs.
C Tech Corporation provides a creative non-toxic, non-hazardous and environment friendly products Roderepel™, Termirepel™, Combirepel™. These products can be incorporated while making the yarn itself so that the cloth made from the yarn has quality to repel rodents, termites and a host of other insects effectively.