Although moths in Ireland can be active all year round, there tends to be a surge in moth activity around April and May when mating season is prevalent during the warmer weather. It is this time period that you need to remain extra vigilant as this is when you are most likely to find holes or damage to your clothes caused by moths.
Common clothes moths are the type of moths most associated with damage to fabric. Adult common clothes moths do not eat clothes but look to lay their eggs in dark and undisturbed areas, making clothes and wardrobes the perfect breeding ground. The eggs of clothes moths hatch into larvae and it is the larvae that eats clothes. The larvae depend on sustenance in order to survive and they find this in keratin; the protein in animal based fabrics such as cashmere, wool and silk. Keratin can also be found in human hair and skin cells which could also attract the larvae to a recently worn piece of clothing.
What damage do moths cause?
There are different types of moths in Ireland and the damage caused by them will vary depending on the moths species:
- Common clothes moth larvae cause irregularly shaped holes in fabrics.
- Case bearing clothes moth larvae tend to leave smaller, more regular shaped holes in garments.
- Brown house moth larvae are attracted to animal based materials like feathers and leather.
- White shouldered house moth larvae are less likely to cause damage to textiles as they will scavenge on a wide range of food.
How to prevent moths
It is important to take the necessary steps now to prevent moths before they can cause any damage in your home or business.
- Use fly screens – Fly screens will prevent insects such as moths from entering your property when windows or doors are open. Alternatively, draw curtains at night to prevent moths from entering your home through doors and windows.
- Vacuum regularly – Vacuum regularly to try and remove moth eggs before they hatch. As moths are attracted to quiet, undisturbed areas, it is also important to ensure hidden areas such as under large furniture or sofas are regularly vacuumed
- Keep stored textiles in sealed bags – Moths tend to lay eggs in textiles so if you plan to store textiles for a long period of time, keep them in sealed plastic bags or suitcases.
- Clean clothes – Cleaning clothes regularly will deter moths who are attracted to dirty or soiled garments.