FLY TYING FEATHER CARE
BUGS, INSECTS AND PESTS

FLY TYING INSTRUCTION
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reference guide. Learn how to tie
flies for fishing and display.

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BUGS, INSECTS AND PESTS
FEATHER CARE AND THE
PREVENTION OF INFESTATIONS

Normally bugs are not a problem with commercially available feathers from a fly tying shop, but with wild birds it is almost guaranteed or should be presumed as being the case. If your feathers ever become infested you could lose your compete inventory without proper precautions.

Peacock Eye Feather
Peacock Eye Feather that was attacked by pests.
There was not much left except a pile of dust.
They will also eat the feathers on your flies.

Varied Carpet Beetle
Varied Carpet Beetle
The carpet beetle is one of many pests that can
damage your feathers. Carpet beetles are between
1/16th and 1/8th of an inch long and with an oval
shape. The larval stage is when they do the damage
and will last about a year or more. The adult carpet
beetles can fly and are attracted to light sources.
An Internet search will provide much more
detailed information.

 

Storage
Keep feathers in sealed plastic bags and store
in containers with secure lids.

STORAGE
Proper storage of feathers is important!!!
Fly tying feathers can be expensive and you need to take precautions against losing them. The first step in preventing your feathers from being infested with insects is proper storage. Proper storage will help prevent or delay an infestation from getting worse. Keeping your fly tying feathers and skins in separate sealed plastic bags could make a difference between losing a couple feathers or losing all your feathers. The bugs and mites can eat their way out of a plastic bag, but are less likely to eat their way in.

FREEZING FLY TYING FEATHERS
Freezing the feathers will kill any bugs, but the eggs could survive. It is usually the larvae that do the damage as they go on an eating rampage. To be effective, you might have to leave the feathers in the freezer couple weeks. Another line of thought and good idea is to place the feathers in the freezer for a week and then take them out and leave in a warm area for 48 hours. Then place the feathers back into the freezer for a couple weeks. The idea here is that when you remove the feathers from the freezer after the first week, any surviving critters will become active and unprepared when for the second freeze process. We have heard of people who repeat the process of freeze and thaw multiple times.

FUMIGATION
This is frowned upon because you are always handling the feathers, and the toxins could be transferred from hand to mouth. A smart fly tyer would never put any materials in their mouth, but that is not always the case. Flea collars or liquid flea and pest killers will work good with less mess. Bug strips are cheap and very effective. If you do have to fumigate and after being sure the pests are all dead, it would be smart to wash the feathers.

NATURAL AND ORGANIC SOLUTIONS
There are several natural and organic solutions, but not all work as claimed. Some are good deterrents. Using cedar wood containers or lining is a popular deterrent for moths. Maybe the local pet store will have natural pest control products. Borax is recommended on many websites as an effective pest control, but it only had limited effect when we tested it. When the dog had fleas a couple years back, we tried several organic solutions with limited effect. Organic would be best and more tests are in order. Citrus oil is supposed to work at controlling several types of pests.

NOTE
If you have an extreme infestation of bugs, it might be best to just throw away any feathers that might be infected instead of trying to save them.

CLEAN THE INFESTED AREA
You should vacuum and thoroughly clean everything in the infested area. Wash any containers that contained feathers, ect...

CLEANING FEATHERS
Generally you don't have to clean commercially sold feathers, but with wild birds, dying purposes or they just
got dirty, here are some recommended procedures.
• Wash by hand with WOOLITE
• Thoroughly rinse all the feathers
• Let dry on a cloth towel for one or two days..

The natural oils in the feather are important and without them the feather would become brittle. Use caution and be gentle when washing the feathers. Don't use hot water or excessive scrubbing.

MISC...
If you ever see moths or beetles around your fly tying feathers, don't ignore them. They may seem harmless, but are a threat!!! It should be noted that your feathers are not the only thing you need to worry about. Most of the critters that attack your fly tying feathers are just as happy to eat any animal fur or hairs that are laying around. They will even eat the feathers on your flies.

Feathers
Goose Shoulder Feather with the down barbs
and the same feather with the fluffy barbs
stripped. away..

FLUFFY DOWN BARBS OF THE FEATHERS
Most insects like the fluffy down barbs on the lower section of the stem. Stripping away the fluff could help detour any critters.


Shirt with holes from moth damage. It is known
that moths will damage your clothes, but they will
happily eat your feathers. It is actually the larva
that do all the damage.

FLY TYING HAIR AND FUR CARE
Just as with fly tying feathers, care and precautions should be taken with any hair or furs.

SOME STORIES FROM VICTIMS
WHO HAD THEIR FEATHERS DESTROYED
FROM AN INFESTATION:

We had left about a dozen flies sitting on a shelf in the back room. They had been sitting there a couple months and one day while looking at them, picked one up and started to stroke the feathers on the fly. The feathers and hackle on the fly just came out when stroked between my fingers. At first thought I must of done a lousy job of tying them, but quickly realized they had been infested with some kind of pest.
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This year there were a lot of moths. We have never had a problem before, so kind of ignored them. When we noticed the damage it was too late. Our fly tying feathers were severely damaged. The moths also made a meal of several shirts that were hanging in the closet and left them peppered with holes. This is a heads-up in case you ever see a moth around your fly tying area, do not ignore them.
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It could never happen to me, but it did.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
We had a bug infestation in our feather supply. They were kind of picky and only damaged the dark colored schlappen hackle feathers.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Pets and animals can import pests into your house. Pet food will also attract pests such as carpet beetles. Mice and other rodents will store food, which then can attract other pests. It can be a vicious circle.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
We had a infestation of carpet beetles. They didn't damage any feathers or materials because everything was secured in plastic containers, but none the less, had to take action to get rid of them. Not having any experience in dealing with such problems, did a couple experiments to find out what worked and what didn't work. For the first test we captured about twenty of the carpet beetles and put them in a mason jar with borax. After a couple hours in the borax they were still alive and kicking. The borax didn't seem to have any effect. For the next test we placed about a dozen of the carpet beetles in a clean mason jar and placed a couple drops of "Hartz Citrus Ultra Guard Flea and Tick Shampoo" for dogs on a small piece from a paper towel, then placed inside with the beetles. It was almost instant death for the carpet beetles. We made a soapy solution with water and the shampoo, that was used to wipe down any areas the beetles might be attracted. Used it to clean the floors and wall boards. For tight spots and areas not used by humans, we sprayed with "Ortho Insect Killer" and sealed off those areas for a couple days. We also cleaned the house from top to bottom, vacuumed all carpet and furniture, washed all clothes and secured any food sources for the carpet beetles. It solved the problem and the house is cleaner than it has been in years, but it was a lot of work.
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FEATHER CARE AND STORAGE
Some general advice about cleaning and storage of feathers.

ANATOMY OF A FEATHER
Description and parts of a feather

BUYING AND SELECTING FEATHERS
What to look for when buying feathers. As a beginner we bought a lot of worthless and damaged feathers. This page will help in the selection of good quality feathers.
 

MATCHING FEATHERS
How to match and pair feathers when tying feather wings on a fly.

FLY TYING FEATHERS:
AM-GOLD PHEASANT
ARGUS BODY FEATHERS
ARGUS PRIMARY TAIL FEATHERS
ARGUS SECONDARY WING
BANKSIAN COCKATOO
BARRED WOOD DUCK FEATHERS
BIOTS (GOOSE / TURKEY)
BLUE EARED PHEASANT
BLUE EDGED MANTLE BODY
BRONZE MALLARD FEATHERS
BUSTARD FLORICAN FEATHERS
BUSTARD KORI FEATHERS
CHATTERER
COQ DE LEON
COTINGA
CUL DE CANARD (CDC)
DUCK QUILLS
EMU FEATHERS
GADWALL DUCK FLANK
GOLDEN PHEASANT SKINS
GOLDEN PHEASANT CREST
GOLDEN PHEASANT CENTER
GOLDEN PHEASANT TIPPETS
GOOSE SHOULDER FEATHERS
GRAY PEACOCK SINGLE EYES
GUINEA FOWL FEATHERS
HUNGARIAN PARTRIDGE
INDIAN CROW
JAY
JUNGLE COCK
KINGFISHER
LADY AMHERST CENTER TAIL
LADY AMHERST TIPPETS
LEMON DUCK FEATHERS
MACAW TAIL FEATHERS
MALAY PEACOCK SINGLE EYE
MALLARD SIDE FEATHERS
MALLARD WINGS
OSTRICH HERL
PARROT FEATHERS
PEACOCK FEATHERS
PEACOCK HERL
PEACOCK NECK FEATHERS
PEACOCK QUILL FEATHERS
PEACOCK SWORD FEATHERS
RINGNECK PHEASANT
SCARLET MACAW
SILVER PHEASANT
STARLING SKIN
SWAN FEATHERS
TEAL FEATHERS
TURKEY FEATHERS

WOOD DUCK FEATHERS

HACKLE FEATHERS
Hackle feathers are a complete subject in themselves and these pages will sort through some of the confusion.

MARABOU FEATHERS
Marabou are fluffy feathers that have a breathing action in the water.

FLY TYING INSTRUCTION
http://www.flytyinginstruction.com
Fly tying equipment and materials
reference guide. Learn how to tie
flies for fishing and display.

FLY TYING FEATHERS
FEATHER CARE AND STORAGE