Signs Of A Moth Infestation

An infestation of any pest in your home is an unpleasant and unsettling experience. It’s usually the best policy if you’re looking for a safe and effective way to remove an infestation of moths to use a professional and accredited pest control company. We hope this advice helps you identify any possible signs of moths in your property.

Species Of Moths To Look Out For

Clothes Moths and Carpet Moths are not separate species – the species of moths that attack clothing and carpets are the same – they are commonly called ‘clothes’ or ‘carpet’ moths depending on where they are found and what fabrics they target.

There are also pantry moths. They are attracted to pantry items such as cereal, bread, grains, and flour because they have a strong sense of smell. Most often found in kitchens used for commercial catering but they are attracted to homes if there is a plentiful supply of easy to access dry food. If you have moths in your pantry, they are straightforward to deal with. Simply use airtight containers for all dry foods and bread and your problem should be solved.

The following handy tips will help you if you have an infestation of clothes moths and carpet moths.

How To Spot Signs Of A Moth Infestation

Firstly, you must know what you are looking for and, what these hard to detect pests look like.

  • These moths are tiny. 5mm – 7mm in length, brownish with a golden or silver sheen. They have straw-coloured wings and are more likely to be moving on the floor or walls as opposed to flying.
  • You usually find the larvae crawling. To look at they are opaque white and have brown heads.
  • They rarely fly into lights, preferring complete darkness such as a closet or storage chest. The females move by running or hopping. If you see a moth flying, it’s probably a male.
  • The larvae take around 6 weeks to develop. During this time, they feed on fabric in clothes, other textiles, and carpets destroying each item in the process. The larvae will feed on any material containing the animal protein Keratin; hence they prefer expensive wool, silk, cashmere, feathers, or fur rather than cheaper man-made fabrics. They will also eat cotton and other natural fibres but will only go for synthetics if heavily stained with perspiration or food. You will be made aware of clothes moth damage when you pull out a favourite item of clothing you have not worn in a while.

Clothes moths and their larvae are becoming increasingly resistant to over-the-counter chemical treatments so if your DIY efforts to get rid of moths has not worked or you do not feel that you are up to the challenge of eradicating the infestation, please contact us for advice.

Damage Moths Can Cause

You will often see the damage moths are causing before you see the moths themselves. Here are the most common ‘symptoms’

  • Holes in a favourite jumper. This is caused by the larvae, rather than the moths. They feed on clothes leaving small holes in their wake.
  • Silvery-looking silken webs across the surface of cloth-based furniture and soft furnishings. This is what forms the larvae case and because of this, clothes moths are also known as webbing moths.
  • Patches in your carpets and rugs. You are unlikely to notice the first stages of a moth infestation until you move a piece of furniture only to be confronted with bare patches of rug/carpet which on closer inspection are dotted around the edges. Even then, it can be difficult to detect the damage unless you have a magnifying glass and are meticulous in your search. This is especially so on patterned carpets and rugs where an infestation of moths can happily munch away undetected for months, even years! It is worth bearing in mind that clothes moths are easy enough to see at close range, but their eggs are impossible to see.
  • Clothes moths live (and lay their eggs) in wardrobes, chests of drawers, carpets, rugs, tapestries, soft furnishings, cotton bedding, and clothes.

Holes in clothes from moth infestation

If you can see just 6 clothes moths and some larvae this indicates a potentially serious infestation for which professional treatment using pheromone lures to stop the eggs from being hatched is the only option. Unless professionally treated, the damage will get worse. So, at the very least seek professional guidance if you’re concerned. Whilst it may seem relatively straightforward for you to identify the moths and larvae, trying to get rid of them using over-the-counter products is not an easy task. You must be prepared to repeat the processes required several times if you’re to be confident the clothes moths and their eggs have gone – right down to the last egg. Even then your hard work may not lead to the eradication of the pest moths simply because identifying every infested area is challenging if you are not a technician with the equipment and skills to do this.

What Attracts Moths?

Moths can enter your home tucked away in the second-hand soft furnishings and clothes you buy. The bargain jacket from a car boot sale or the second-hand rug that matched your lounge perfectly could be why you now have an infestation of moths. Moths are also attracted to human sweat, hair, and oils that are left on clothing which is why it pays to wash clothes before putting them away. An item that you have worn once and is now in your wardrobe can be the source of an infestation. Left undisturbed the moths will eat away at it and lay eggs without you noticing until you bring it out of your wardrobe several months later. In most cases, clothes moths are introduced into bedrooms by contaminated items brought into the space.

Please contact us for advice on your infestation of moths.