It’s that time of year when we reach for the thick sweaters pushed to the back of the wardrobe and hope that pests haven’t been snacking on them. Clothes moths often enter a home by flying through an open window in the evening. They then sneak undetected into dark, undisturbed places where their eggs have a high chance of survival, such as beneath beds or inside wardrobes.
Females lay around 40 eggs over a three–week period, then die. The eggs, which resemble rice grains, hatch after a few days and can remain as larvae for up to two years, munching through cashmere, wool, silk and other natural fibres. Traditionally the breeding cycle of moths was curbed by the cold but today centrally heated homes allow moths to breed all year round.
Clothes moths are attracted to dirty clothes so good hygiene and thorough cleaning can help deter an infestation. Avoid hanging stained clothing in your wardrobe and don’t put off taking items to the dry cleaners. Vacuum regularly under dark places such as beds and sofa’s to get rid of any moth eggs which previously might go undetected. Move around furniture to ensure daylight reaches parts of carpet normally devoid of light.
Washing clothes at a high temperature or wrapping items in a plastic bag and placing into the freezer will also kill any of the destructive silvery, inch long larvae and eggs. Store clean suits in sealed storage bags.
If you have brought second hand clothing from a vintage store and it smells musty there’s a risk it could be infested with moths. Before you place such articles amongst your clothes and risk infesting the rest of your wardrobe, place it in a sealed bag until you’ve had time to dry clean it or wash it thoroughly, or place in the freezer for at least 12 hours. Place rugs and other soft furnishing outside and brush well. Moth larvae is strongly repelled by light and will fall off clothing when they cannot find protection.
If you are packing away your summer clothing, make sure all items are clean and stored in an airtight bag or container. Use the opportunity to thoroughly clean out wardrobes and drawers and spritz with lavender or cedar spray to deter moths. The smell of moths balls can be almost impossible to eliminate from your clothes so try hanging some odourless Moth Killer Strips in your wardrobe.
While a minor infestation of moths can be dealt with using such DIY products, an established moth problem is very difficult to treat and may require professional advice before your home is eaten alive.