Tag Archives: caterpillars

What time of year do Moths attack clothes?

Every year, thousands of people across the country are disappointed, and sometimes shocked, to discover that moths have eaten holes in their precious garments and textiles.

Almost all natural fibres used in the production of clothes, bedding and furnishings are at risk of becoming a meal for the almost invisible caterpillars of the Common Clothes Moth (tineola bisselliella).

It’s easy to assume that summer is the time of year when moths attack clothes. However, this is a mistaken impression, formed because moth damage is often discovered as the cooler days of autumn lead us to open wardrobes that have been closed up for months.

While moth larvae, or caterpillars, are more active when the weather is warm and moist, they can feed all year round.

Protecting your clothes from attacks by moths

Clothes moths prefer to lay their eggs in dark, quiet places. That’s why you find them in wardrobes, drawers and lofts which remain undisturbed for days, even weeks. Unfortunately, these are also the places where you are most likely to store your unused clothing and special occasion wear.

They also lay their eggs on the underside of carpets and rugs because, again, these are dark and undisturbed locations.

Regularly lifting and beating rugs, airing wardrobes and vacuuming around the edge of carpets will help deter moths from settling in to breed.

It’s their young, the tiny caterpillars, who do the damage. The eggs will hatch in any temperature above 10 degrees Celsius and the minute larvae will start to eat their way into the nearest natural fibres including silk, fur, wool, cotton and linen.

They prefer dirty fibres, such as carpets or clothing with stains or dirt. Washing clothes and bedding before putting them into storage will reduce the risk of them becoming a meal.

The moth larvae can feast for months before turning into the next generation of adult insects and laying new batches of eggs.

Pest control products to protect clothes from moth attacks

Lavender is a traditional remedy for clothes moths and it works by giving off a strong odour which prevents adult male moths from finding females. Modern pheromone traps use the same principle, but go a step further by killing the moth.

Other Moth Control solutions include sprays, sticky rollers for removing caterpillars and devices which create a fine mist in an area infected by moths.

The effectiveness of any product will be determined partly by the way in which it is applied, and by the level of moth infestation. If you discover a large population which is doing significant damage to furnishings and clothes, spot solutions are unlikely to be effective. In these cases, fumigation, by a pest control specialist, is likely to be the most cost-effective answer to your problem.

The time of year when moths attack clothes depends, at least in part, on when and how you choose to store your unused or out-of-season wear, and the extent to which your preparations include moth pest controls.

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Protect Winter Woollies From Munching Moths

The days are getting longer, the sunshine’s warmer and we’re beginning to dress more lightly. But as you put those thick sweaters away, take care not to create a summer of packed lunches for moths.

Many of us associate pests with the dark, dirty worlds beneath the floorboards or in the kitchens of seedy cafes and restaurants. So it may come as a surprise to discover that Moths are often the subject of pest control measures.

They can be a problem in both domestic and commercial premises. And once they’re arrived, these tiny nibblers are often tricky to get rid of.

The adult Common Clothes Moth likes nothing more than to lay tiny, almost invisible, eggs on clothing or carpets. Being ‘butterflies of the night’, the moths prefer to do their business in dark, quiet spots, where they’re less likely to be disturbed.

The eggs soon hatch into minute, hungry caterpillars who start gobbling up any natural fibres they can get their little mouths into. Cotton, wool, linen, silk and furs are popular dishes and they’ll also make a meal of foodstuffs such as flour and biscuits.

Well-fed, the wriggling white worms are ready to pupate, or to become adults, within five to six weeks of hatching. But when food’s scarce they can take up to two and a half years to reach this stage. When that time comes, they crawl off to a quiet spot, form a cocoon around themselves, and emerge as adults three or four weeks later.

It is the caterpillars that do the damage to your clothes and fabric. If you spot the small adult moths with their golden wings, it’s too late. All they do is mate, leaving the females to lay their eggs to start the whole cycle again.

Probably the most effective way to protect your winter woollies from moths is to keep them in a light, airy place. Alternatively, they can be wrapped in plastic or stored alongside strongly scented moth repellents. There was a reason why Granny’s clothes always smelled of lavender.

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