Your clothes and the common clothes moth
No doubt you pulled your woollens or cashmeres from cupboard only to find holes caused by moths. But when does it start and how do you prevent it?
The common clothes moth (Tineola bisselliella) can be a household problem causing serious damage to wool, furs, silk, carpets, and upholstery among other fabrics. The moth prefers dark, moist, humid conditions and low humidity will merely slow development.
Moth infestations often go unnoticed until damaged natural fibres stored in dark places such, wool, silk, linen, cotton and furs are found. Close examination of the objects reveals the presence of silken webs that are spun by the young larvae, and the damage will be little holes nibbled away into the fabric.
The first signs are when moths fly around the illuminated electric lights, by which time the damage is often done. The female clothes moth lays on average of 40 to 50 eggs over a 2 to 3 week period. The eggs hatch into larvae and begin feeding on dirty sweaty natural fibres; turning keratin into food. Once they have finished larval development, they pupate and undergo metamorphosis to emerge as adult moths.
The larval period last between 35 days up to 30 months and are shiny white with a dark head capsule. They spin webbing as they feed and may partially enclose themselves in a webbing cover or feeding tube, depending on species.
Moths breed in warm, dark undisturbed places, where the larvae feeds on the moisture in human sweat. To help eliminate the problem, only put clean clothes away, regularly getting them to the dry cleaner. A regular clean of cupboards and drawers, emptying out woollens and other clothes, vacuuming and washing every nook and cranny will help eliminate the problem. A stack of washed jumpers on an open shelf, or coats hanging on hooks, are far less likely to attract moth trouble than those shut away in dusty wardrobes.
Keep an eye open for my next Blog with useful tips on how to store your clothes.