Moths can wreak havoc in your wardrobe, on your upholstery and on your carpets as well, often damaging items that are of high value, be it monetary or sentimental. Luckily, there are a number of measures you take to prevent moths feasting on your prized possessions;
Know Your Enemy
As with many other things in life, when it comes to moths, prevention is generally better (not to mention easier) than cure. Being able to prevent moths depends on knowing how they actually cause damage in the first place.
The first thing to note is that is not actually the moths themselves that are the problem. Rather it is their caterpillars, which, when they hatch feed themselves on natural fibres such as wool linen and, more annoyingly, expensive materials such as silk and cashmere. This is why the ‘tineola bisselliella’ is normally known as ‘the clothes moth’.
The adult moths are, as you would expect, instinctively driven to lay their eggs where they’ll have the best chance of survival. The conditions favoured are dark, humid, moist, and dirty with proximity to the food stuffs mentioned above. They are particularly drawn to fabrics that have human sweat in them. This is because they do not drink water and, consequently, need to take in some hydration form their food. Armed with this knowledge you can take steps to avoid having your home infested.
This your main weapon in fighting off moths. Vacuuming frequently around you cupboards, furniture and cupboards should help make your home less attractive as a prospect for breeding moths.
Of course, they may already be present in your home. Given that they love moist, dark and dirty conditions it’s important not to put clothes away if they are at all soiled, especially if they are going to stowed away for an extended period. If you are packing away seasonal items make sure they are clean and use plastic storage bags to protect them. If clothes moths are present in you home, these measures should help prevent them attacking your clothes.
(Note that if you think you are dealing with an infestation, it’s important to get the vacuum bag out of your home once you’ve cleaned, as it may contain caterpillars or even full grown moths.)
Look for and Remove Larvae
Sometimes it is possible to detect the presence of moths by thin silvery threads on garments and furniture. The places you should be sure to check include hiding places such as the crevasse of a trouser leg’s turn up, in the depths of pockets, cuffs and linings.
If you do find signs of their presence, there are a number of ways to eliminate the pests. One simple solution is exposure to sunlight, which the larvae can’t abide. Though if they are hidden in pockets this won’t be effective.
Exposure to extremes of temperature is a more reliable method. Dry cleaning and washing at high temperatures (above 48 degrees Celsius) will kill the insects off. If this isn’t possible you can, conversely, kill them off by wrapping the item in plastic and placing it in the freezer.
The lifecycle of the creatures is less than a month so, even if you don’t actually see evidence of their presence, airing out your cupboard once every couple of weeks or so should help discourage larvae from settling down.
Other Preventative Measures
There are a range of products you can buy that promise to help protect your clothes. Whilst these may be of some use, it’s important to understand that most of these solutions only work to repel adult moths. Whilst this is useful in that it can prevent moths breeding about your home, it will do nothing to protect your clothes if moth’s caterpillars are already present.
Mothballs and cedar wood, for example, can deter adult moths, but will not bother larvae unless the concentration is extremely high. It is also worth nothing that the vapours they emit lose their potency in conditions that aren’t airtight and can end up leaving your garments with an unusual smell. As they are poisonous, you all need to ensure they are not let within reach of children or pets.
Devices such as pheromone traps are targeted exclusively at male adults, so again they will be of little help if moths are already present in your home, though they can help stop further breeding.
Will Kurtz writes on a wide range of topics pertaining to home care and property maintenance.
Whenever he needs the help of tradesmen he uses UK Directory to find top professionals.