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There has been much written about moths in recent months in the national press; it seems that there is an increase in the number of moth infestations across the UK and scientists are baffled as to why.
Broadly speaking, there are two different type of moth infestations that we are called to deal with – those in clothes and those that find their way into carpets. In many cases, the type of moth will be the same, as the conditions in carpets and stored clothes can be just the same – and just as they like it!
Varying dramatically in size and colour, some moths can be brightly coloured, whilst others can be drab shades of brown or grey. Most indoor moths that can cause problems tend to have a wing span of less than 2cm, and be brown, reddish brown or grey.
Matching the variance in size and colour, is their habits which is why if you think you have a moth infestation or problem, seeking the help of a professional, expert pest controller is essential!
Some moths are a huge nuisance for farmers, destroying crops but, the majority of moths go through their life cycle with little impact on humans, with most moths being a welcome food source for birds, mammals, insects, spiders and in some cases, plants.
Indoors however, moths can be a real nuisance and are often found by the homeowner making a meal of stored items, from food to clothing.
Most people associated moths with eating wool, although it has to be said that moths like all natural materials including silk, hair, fur and feathers. These are usually buff coloured moths, slightly larger too with a wingspan of up to 5cm.
These moths avoid the light, hence find the dark corners of wardrobes, attics and basements as the perfect place to make their home and here in lies a major issue – by the time a homeowner has realised they have a moth infestation, they numbers can be quite considerable.
And neither is it the adult moths that are responsible for the holes in your favourite jumper!
It is the merging larvae and pupae that cause the damage, feeding on the natural material to grow into adults and will happily makes holes in anything from a woolly cardigan to coats, blankets, pillows and more. Although they will not consume synthetic fabrics, they will eat blended materials.
Signs of a problems
Clearly, as soon as you discover the damage, you will know you have had an issue with moths; holes in fabrics as well as droppings can be a sign. Some moths will leave the food source on maturity, others will not.
Treatment and prevention
There is nothing better that the effective and efficient treatment that an expert pest controller can use in dealing with a moth infestation but as with most things, prevention is better than cure:
- Moths like dark, dusty corners where they will be undisturbed so it is time to get in the loft and the basement and deal with those dusty corners! Wash all items that can be washed, and dry clean those that cannot. Everything needs vacuuming and washing, paying particular attention to the nooks and crannies. Steam is a great way of killing moths and any larvae.
- Keeping it clean can take patience, perseverance and time but remember that moths loves the bits left in clothes that we cannot see, which is why if you are placing items away for storage – such as woolly jumpers over the summer months – put them away clean!
- There are various storage bags on the market that help keep stored clothes moths and mould free! Infest in some and keep your winter woollies and sumptuous silk garments safe.
- Moth repellent products can also help and gain, there are a variety on the market; some work by repelling the female and others catch the male moth. Always seek advice from an expert to get the best!
- And finally, be aware of the seasons and if you have suffered from moth infestations in the past, have a clear out and deep clean each season change and stay moth free for a long, long time.
Acting in a similar way to clothes moths, carpet moths enjoy the darkness and undisturbed corners in rooms, and the delights of a natural fibre carpet.
Adults do not live long but the mated female can lay hundreds of eggs in her lifetime; these eggs lay dormant for 4 to 10 days before hatching with pupae hatching and maturing at different speeds, dependant on the time of year and warmth.
Those hatching in spring and summer will do so quickly but those eggs laid in colder winter moths could stay dormant for a lot longer but the damage is done. Like the pupae of clothes moths, these little critters in your carpet will start to eat away at the fibres, creating bald patches, usually found in the corner of the room.
Notice bald patches on carpets on in clothes?
It needs immediate attention as the pupae can live for a long time, undisturbed! Get the right treatment, the first time.