Coming Out (and Staying Out) of the Closet – Clothes Moths

Coming Out (and Staying Out) of the Closet – Clothes Moths

The world seems to be divided on moths … some people love them, considering them valuable pollinators that can be as beautiful as butterflies, whilst some people are so frightened of them that the phobia even has a name; mottephobia. Wherever you are on this scale, we can all agree that moths are by far our least favourite creatures when we find a moth hole in our favourite cashmere jumper.

How do I know if the Moths in My Home will Cause Damage?

Identification: Only around 7 of the UK’s 2,500 moth species are thought to cause fabric damage. The adults can be identified by looking at the way the wings are folded at rest; Common Clothes Moths (Tineola bisselliella) fold their wings tent-wise along their backsThe wings are fringed with small hairs, and are beige in colour. Case-Bearing Clothes Moths are duller in appearance, and have three dark brown spots on each of their wings.

The larvae hatch from the eggs of the adult moths.  They are white with golden brown heads and are responsible for making holes in textiles, as they munch their way through your beloved items.  They feed exclusively on animal fibres such as wool, fur, silk, feathers, felt and leather, which contain keratin; a fibrous protein. They then make silken cocoons.  The Case-Bearing Clothes Moth constructs an open-ended case of silk as it feeds, attaching fibres of the food material by way of camouflaging itself.  Because of this, it can be tricky to spot them before irreparable, substantial damage is done.  This can be costly and upsetting.

- 7685 – Heteropacha rileyana – Riley's Lappet Moth (20310421869)

Where am I likely to Find Moths?

Clothes moths prefer dark, undisturbed environments, such as wardrobes and attics.

FACT FILE: If clothes moths are affecting you, then you can probably blame The Romans!  English Heritage explain Romans likely spread these scuttling, fluttering pests to Europe whilst expanding their empire, as evidence of wool infestations by clothes moths exists in Roman archaeological material.

Prevention is Better than Cure:

  • Ensure your clothes are clean before hanging them up
  • Once a month, take out all of the clothes hanging in your wardrobe and shake them. Clothes moths really hate to be disturbed!
  • Over summertime, store clean winter clothes in vacuum bags or boxes with sealed tight lids
  • Regularly vacuum hard to reach areas with a vacuum pipe
  • After vacuuming, empty the contains into a black plastic bag, tie it up and put it in your outside bin

Treatment: Many over the counter treatments can be effective for the short term, but often do not lead to total eradication of your moth pest problem; the best course of action is to contact a trained, professional pest controller before your treasured items suffer irreparable damage.

If moths and their larvae are eating you out of house and home, call Avon Pest Control today on 01926 632 929 or 01789 293 463 or click here to visitor website for more information and advice or a quote.  Our qualified, responsible technicians will happily discuss your pest problem and provide friendly, expert advice.

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