The majority of moths in Ireland are harmless, posing no threat to health. However, some are deemed pests due to their potential for causing damage. An example is the clothes moth larvae, notorious for harming clothes stored in wardrobes. Contrary to popular belief, the impact of clothes moths extends beyond creating holes in our clothes.
Their larvae have the capacity to wreak havoc on various materials, textiles, and other items commonly stored. Once infiltrating a property, both common clothes moths (Tineola bisselliella) and case-bearing clothes moths (Tinea pellionella) can inflict significant harm on natural fibres found in carpets, fabrics, fur, leather, rugs, upholstery, tapestries, and even feathers. Moth larvae can also devastate natural materials like wool, cotton, and silk by feeding on the keratin, a type of protein, in these materials, putting delicate items at heightened risk.
Textile moth infestations are not uncommon, especially in the warmth of heated buildings, allowing these insects to breed throughout the year. If you suspect a moth issue, watch out for the following signs:
Damage to Clothing: Most commonly observed in knitwear, silk, or leather garments, with noticeable holes where larvae have feasted on the fibres. Staining, moisture, or larval droppings (frass) may be present on affected clothes.
Visible Moths or Larvae: Identifying these can be challenging as their eggs are tiny and typically found in dark, undisturbed areas like drawers, wardrobes, or skirting boards. Adult moths are adept at fitting into tight spaces, making them challenging to spot unless in flight.
Unexplained Damage or Thinning in Carpets and Rugs: Even if these items contain a small percentage of natural wool fibre, clothes moth larvae can find and damage them.
Fine Webbing Near Damaged Items: Clothes moth larvae spin silk tunnels for camouflage during the day, while case-bearing clothes moth larvae carry spun cases for hiding and protection.
What to Do if You Discover a Clothes Moth Infestation
If you find evidence of a textile moth infestation, don’t panic. It’s a treatable issue, and the following steps can help:
Carefully Vacuum Affected Areas: Ensure to empty the vacuum bag outside of the property.
Dispose of Severely Damaged Items: Get rid of items that have sustained substantial damage.
Washing and Dry Cleaning: Wash clothes items at a temperature of at least 50 degrees celsius, or dry clean the items.
Apply Insecticidal Spray: Spray wardrobes, drawers, carpet edges, skirting boards, and cracks with an insecticidal spray.
Seek Professional Treatment for Serious Infestations: For larger, more serious, or recurring infestations, professional treatment may be necessary. Experts can identify the moth species, assess the extent of the infestation, recommend suitable control treatments, and provide advice on preventing future outbreaks.
Remember, swift action and the right measures can effectively eliminate a clothes moth infestation. Professional assistance is available for more severe cases, ensuring a quick and thorough resolution to the problem, along with guidance on preventing future occurrences.
If you think you may need professional help to deal with a moth infestation, don’t hesitate to contact Rentokil on 0818 882 294.