Tips from the Help Desk…Mothballs Do’s, and Don’ts! May 2022

by David Austin                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Residential Horticulture Agent                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Master Gardener Coordinator                                                                                                                                                                                                                   UF/IFAS Extension, Highlands County, Fl. 

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Mothballs are only for moths

Mothballs spread in an outdoor garden are a definites don't!
Mothballs spread in an outdoor garden are a definites don’t! Photo by Anne Yasalonis

Mothballs are almost a thing of the past. Used in sealed storage containers containing clothing, they are effective in keeping away adult cloth-eating moths as well as killing their eggs and larvae. The larvae are what do the actual damage while the adults do not feed.

People commonly mention mothballs can be used to deter snakes, lizards, armadillos, and other creatures that may visit the garden or home.  Unfortunately, it is a common misunderstanding that mothballs could be used to deter other animals in outdoor areas. They should never be spread around outdoors, under crawl spaces, or in the garden but only used in sealed containers. Mothballs work by releasing gas and are listed by the EPA as a pesticide. Like any pesticide, they should be used only according to the label. While teaching about applying pesticides correctly, we always say, “the label is the law”.  Mothballs are not effective for anything except what the label lists. Don’t risk the health of your family or the environment by experimenting with these types of unlabeled remedies. To learn more specifics about mothballs and their proper use, read this informative article by Brett W. Bultemeier.

Keep in Touch with UF/IFAS Extension, Highlands County

In Highlands County, our office is at 4509 W George Blvd., Sebring. The Master Gardener Help Desk is open Monday – Friday from 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM.

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david austin
Posted: May 31, 2022

Category: Florida-Friendly Landscaping, Home Landscapes, Home Management, Horticulture, Pests & Disease, UF/IFAS Extension
Tags: Florida-Friendly Landscaping, Gardening, Highlands County, Highlands Horticulture Digest, Pesticides, Tips From The Help Desk, UF/IFAS Extension

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