It’s always a tiers nightmare when you discover something living in your tying materials. Mites and little “friends” that move in without notice until they’ve practically taken over. It’s hard to resist those free goose quills, grouse feathers, deer hair patches and bucktails that friends bestow upon me when the season is right. Being that I am a typical Yankee, and enjoy the thriftiness of locally harvested materials, I’ve learned to take a few precautions to protect my valued “collection”.
Years ago a friend gave me a little tip to treat a few houseplants that had the same issue……unwanted guests. It was a no-brainer for me to use this same tip when I acquired by first donation of “spare parts”. I have used this trick successfully MANY times and haven’t had any trouble with it affecting my materials in any way. Please read ALL THE WAY THROUGH BEFORE YOU BEGIN……..
Take a large trash bag….those large, heavy black ones work great…..and toss your tying materials in.
Don’t be shy. Hackle, bucktails, full skins, quills…..any of it.
It’s best to do the next part outside if you can.
Gather up a little of the top so you have about a 12″ or so opening.
Take an aerosol can of bug spray…..I prefer Raid…….spray some into the bag. Don’t spray so much that the materials get wet with it, just enough to make the air inside smelly.
Quickly tie the bag up and let it sit overnight.
By the next day anything in there will be “terminated”. Even though there may be a residual odor at first, believe me, after a few days you won’t even know it was “Raided”.
You can use this same trick for travel bags, boxes, fly wallets…..anything that will fit in the trash bag. Make sure that you treat whatever contained your materials to begin with before you re-introduce them.
Great idea, Sharon. Thanks for passing it along. It seems like a conservative approach would include periodic prophylactic re-treatments – any thoughts as to how frequently that should be?
Honestly, I’ve never had to RE-TREAT. I just habitually treat anything that isn’t coming from a commercial provider. I ESPECIALLY treat any materials that come from OTHER tiers because as you know, you often don’t know a pest is there until it’s pretty bad.
Good method. I’ve been taught to place sealed/bagged materials in the freezer for a few days.
Sure. I’ve never done this because the spray also acts as a deterent for reinfestation. Not to mention, I’m a girl, and I really don’t want bird parts OR hair in the freezer with my ice cubes……call me funny! lol I have heard of that though, just never tried it myself.
Great info! You’re really good at what you do—one of the best. — Fly Tyer magazine
Beautiful flies, but hmm… the poison in Raid is known to be carcinogenic & is transdermal. Caution on the can warns to avoid skin contact, which one would have, repeatedly, handling the materials. I suggest a mothball stored with the materials. A block of incense cedar or redwood also works. .
I think you’ll find this with most insecticides, Steven. Just so you know, mothballs are EXTREMELY carcinogenic. Other options include Deep Woods Off, all natural treatments, or tobacco. Some wood products are ALSO treated with chemical insecticides and perservatives. Chemicals are used in the processing of materials as well and some plastics leech. There are always options, however……..you can choose to only use artificial materials or materials you’ve harvested yourself. If you have EXTREMELY sensitive skin you can wear surgical gloves when you tie.