How to

5 May 2017

Mild Winter and Early Spring Increase Likelihood of Clothes Moth Infestations

Clothes moth infestation can be highly damaging to our favourite garments and carefully selected rugs and upholstery, and by extension our wallets. The pests have a penchant for destruction, and are already making their mark this year as a mild winter and early spring have caused their population to skyrocket.

Img: Olaf Leillinger
According to Rentokil Pest Control, call-outs to pest controllers more than doubled throughout the UK in February and March of this year with an increase of 103% from the same period last year. They attribute the surge in populations of clothes moths to unusually warm temperatures for the time of year, which are known to accelerate the reproductive cycles of the moths and allow them to produce up to three generations of offspring per year, when conditions are favourable.

David Cross, head of Rentokil’s technical training academy, said, “The indoor population of clothes moths has been bolstered by the early onset of spring that we are currently experiencing, and the unusually mild winter that we have just had.

“Outdoor numbers of clothes moths are also doing well, nesting in animal and birds' nests before moving into our homes to settle.

“While we've enjoyed the sun this April, these recent figures suggest it's more likely consumers will experience a moth infestation this month, and throughout the year.”

Mr Cross also gave the following advice for dealing with any infestations:

“Freezing clothes or having them dry cleaned are practical methods of pest control when dealing with contained populations of moths on infested items. However, if you can count five to six moths in a room then it's likely you're experiencing a serious infestation, and I recommend that professional help is sought.”

The moths and their larvae, which feed on protein found within natural materials such as wool, silk, and fur, tend to make their presence known with an of abundance roughly-edged holes, which they leave behind in items of clothing or carpets as they munch their way through your wardrobe, and the rest. The larvae are around a centimetre long, and are creamy white in colour with a brown head. The adult moths grow to around 6-8mm long, and have straw coloured wings devoid of markings. Mr Cross also advises that the moths can be easily distinguished from other species as they tend to run rather than fly away when disturbed.

Sam Bonson

Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. He is currently working as a content writer, journalist & editor in an attempt to expand his horizons.