Can you remember the last time you cleaned up your closet? If you can’t recall, then it’s probably time to do it. Stored clothing is very attractive to clothing moths – pests that will feed on wool, cashmere, fur, cotton and other natural fibres causing significant damage to them.
It’s not the adult clothing moth, however, that causes the damage, but rather its larva – also referred to as a caterpillar. Similar to the larva of a butterfly – which is also extremely destructive, – the caterpillar of a moth will feed continuously in preparation for the pupal stage or resting stage.
Insects are most active during the warmer months of the year due to the favourable weather conditions, which increases the chance of getting a clothing moth infestation significantly. It is, therefore, important that you stay on the look out to catch any infestations before they take root and cause serious damage.
Signs of a clothing moth infestation
You don’t need to panic every time you see a moth flying around inside your home as not all moths feed on fabrics. It’s only the clothing moth or Tineolabisselliellathat has a taste for natural fibres. You can identify clothing moth infestations by checking for the following signs:
- Small holes on clothing. Check clothes made with feathers, silk, wool, or fur for small holes. If you find holes in multiple items, then you probably have a clothing moth problem.
- Check your closet and other clothing storage areas for clothes that look discoloured or dusty, or have a musty smell. These are most likely being fed on by moth larvae.
- Webbing in the corners of your closet will also point to a possible clothing moth infestation.
If you find any of these signs, use a pheromonemoth trap that will attract and capture male clothing moths for identification. This way you can be sure that it is moths that are damaging your clothes and not other pests.
Controlling a clothing moth infestation
Once you have confirmed that it is indeed moths that are devouring your clothes, you’ll need to take action immediately to prevent any more damage. Pestrol recommends that you can get rid of moths and moth larvae by:
- Using an insecticide to kill adults and larvae. A good pyrethrin insecticide will effectively kill all adult moths as well as the destructive caterpillars.
- Washingall your clothes. Empty your closet and wash everything inside it including containers, bags, and suitcases. Items that can be dried in high heat should be put in the dryer for at least 15 minutes while those that can’tshould be stored in the freezer for a couple of days to destroy the eggs.
- Thoroughly clean your closet. Before putting your items back, make sure you thoroughly clean the closet to remove any eggs and larvae that could be remaining. Use a vinegar and water solution or just soapy water to clean the closet floor and walls. Also, vacuum the closet’s carpet using a high power vacuum cleaner as well as the entire bedroom just in case the moths laid eggs elsewhere.
Even after doing all this, there could still be a few eggs remaining; use an automatic insecticide dispenser to keep the room protected for several more weeks until all traces of the moths are destroyed.