Vermin Proofing

Most flytyers buy capes, loose feathers and other materials from shops and mail order firms. These goods are likely to have been treated, and should be vermin free. Before storing, however, it is always wise to check for mites and other "life". If all is well, you need only mothproof the materials; just add a small pinch of nap-thalene flakes to the storage bag before putting the materials away.

If there is "life'", wash the materials thoroughly in warm, soapy water, rinse, and dry off most of the moisture in a very low oven at 200°F (100°C). Then leave the slightly damp capes to continue drying naturally in a warm airy place. Store as previously explained.

To treat fresh capes and skins, remove all the fat and loose tissue. Wash the capes or skins thoroughly in warm soapy water. Rinse well, and then press between sheets of newspaper to remove excess moisture. Pin the cape or skin out onto a board (fur or feather side down) and cover the skin with Pyrethrum powder or a 50/50 mixture of saltpeter (potassium nitrate) and alum (double sulfate of aluminium and potassium). Be sure to store these chemicals separately.

Now leave the skins for a few days to dry slowly, in a warm, airy place; the covering mixture will absorb all the natural moisture. When dry, remove the pins, shake off the surplus chemical, and store the materials. Periodically recheck all materials for "life" and, if necessary, re-treat immediately.

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