How to prevent and eliminate clothes moths when changing wardrobe, in wardrobes, carpets, drawers: advice dictated by direct experience and grandmother’s remedies.
Let’s see today how to eliminate clothes moths, the small butterflies belonging to the Lepidoptera family (not to be confused with woodworms, which are xylophages beetles ), which, if not promptly and effectively eradicated, can damage clothing and fabrics so often irreparable.
I must say that my fight against moths is now a “30 years war “: since I live in this particularly humid house, I start it as soon as spring arrives when I change my wardrobe and I carry it on all summer to avoid finding very unpleasant holes on clothes, furs, duvets, blankets, rugs and mattresses and pillows.
Being, therefore, a “veteran” in defending clothing and textile furnishings of my house from such voracious insects and lovers of darkness and humidity, I think it may be useful to explain to you which species are most widespread in Italy, as is the case with reproduction and give you some advice dictated by my many years of experience to eliminate tissue moths and prevent their appearance in the most appropriate and safe ways for health.
Most common species of moths and their reproductive cycle
The most common varieties in Italy of clothes moths, Lepidoptera belonging to the Tineidae species and which can also feed on vegetable fibres when they cannot find wool or silk.
The first also called “wool and fur moth”, feeds on mammal hair and bird feathers and attacks mainly fibres of wool, silk and cotton fabrics, but can also infest duvets, pillows, blankets and mattresses containing animal hair and feathers.
The second, more widespread than the first and so-called “clear cloth moth”, is polyphagous and feeds not only on the same organic materials attacked by the Tinea pellionella but also on the droppings of the previous generation larvae, seeds and various types of food flours.
The third, larger (it can also measure 19 mm) compared to the other moths of textile materials and also called “carpet moth”, prefers heavy fabrics, loves humidity in particular, nests and pupates inside carpets, carpets, tapestries, pet kennels and furs and is able to dig real tunnels inside these artifacts if the infestation is not promptly eliminated.
It is mistakenly thought that it is adult moths that devour wool, cotton, silk, feathers and other natural fabrics and hair, while, on the other hand, it is the larvae of moths that transform the keratin present in organic materials into food to be in able to form the silky tubes in which they will develop.
The female moths, which unlike the male Lepidoptera tend to walk and jump (while the males prefer to fly and for this reason, it is easier to identify them and proceed with their disinfestation), reproduce by laying from 100 to 200 eggs in the presence of temperatures mild and lofty.
The eggs hatch after about 10-15 days and the larvae take about ninety to first become pupae and then 5-7 millimetres long and 9-12 millimetres wide butterflies with open wings.
The reproductive cycle is slower if it is cold (in this case only one generation of Lepidoptera develops in mid-summer), while 3-4 generations can develop over 12 months in climatic conditions that are more favourable to them.
Even if these insects now reproduce throughout the year in well-heated homes and not only in spring as in nature, keep in mind that April, May, August and September are the typical months for the flight of moths and that it is good to intensify the fight moths before the arrival of such periods to prevent their larvae from damaging clothing and fabrics.
How to eradicate clothes moths and prevent their infestation in the most effective ways to avoid damage
Although it is usually preferable to use natural remedies, I must point out that, if you are faced with a serious and particularly widespread infestation, the only really decisive remedy is constituted by specific fumigant products (such as Dobol Fumigante and the like) against insects. flying and crawling to be used with the necessary precautions of use.
How do you notice the presence of moths in your home?
It is possible to realize that you have moths in your home only by sighting them or by discovering the holes caused by them on wool, silk and other fabrics of animal origin, but it often happens to notice their unwelcome presence only by seeing them flutter once they become adults afterwards that have already caused damage when they were larvae.
Discovering them and running for cover as soon as possible is essential, but, precisely for this reason, it is equally important to prevent their infestation in the ways that we will see later in the post.
Having said that, now I’ll explain what I do to get rid of moths when I notice their presence.
What to do when you find out you have moths in your home
As soon as I see a moth fluttering, I open the windows (provided it is not raining) and pull up the shutters completely (to ventilate and allow the light to enter the rooms) before vacuuming the whole house to remove any hair and dander of domestic animals fallen to the ground, which, containing keratin, constitute a “greedy meal” for this type of insects.
Then I spray the specific spray at a distance of 25 cm on carpets, on all furnishing fabrics that these insects can damage and inside wardrobes and drawers containing clothing and blankets in fabrics of animal origin.
I then go to the wardrobe check, carefully examining each garment, and if I don’t find any damage, I just spray the clothes with the special insecticide and wash the inside of the emptied piece of furniture with a cloth soaked in white vinegar, a substance detested by moths and which sanitizes and removes the stale smell.
I let it dry well in the air before placing some pheromone traps in it, refilling it with what it contained and closing the doors well.
The presence of one or two months does not necessarily mean that there is an infestation in place and often it is enough to redo the check after 10 days and go over the garments with the spray to avoid it.
If, on the other hand, I notice holes with jagged edges or silky threads containing the larvae on an item of clothing, I first remove it from the wardrobe and throw it away immediately if it is now unusable, while I close it well in an airtight container or in a plastic bag if it is recoverable.
Mending the holes in the garment before washing to prevent them from spreading during the same and then washing it with a suitable detergent and hot water at 50 ° (it must be soaked in the same for 30 minutes to ensure that it kills the moths and their eggs) if the garment allows it or take it to the laundry if it is dry cleanable only or not at high temperatures.
However, it is not enough to wash only the affected garment, which can also be placed in the freezer at -0 ° for a week to suppress the larvae present in its fibres, but it is also necessary to make sure to sanitize those that had been answered together. at the same, first exposing them to air and sun and then spraying them with the insecticide spray.
Once this has been done, it is also necessary to restore the internal parts of the wardrobe, first by sanitizing the walls, corners and interstices with white vinegar, then by wiping them with a rag soaked in petroleum (provided that the material in which they are built allows it) and, a once they are dry, by spraying them with the insecticide spray.
This is the best do-it-yourself system in existence to eradicate clothes moths, but, as I wrote before, sometimes its adoption is not enough if the infestation is very advanced and in this case, it is necessary to resort to fumigant treatments. carried out, if possible, by professionals in the sector to avoid health risks.
if you are in trouble with it with yourself you can book a professional pest control service to remove moths from your house. Professionals have the best and effective moth pest control service and protect you from moth infection.
How to prevent the appearance of tissue moths
Prevention should be undertaken 3-4 times a year at the change of season so that it is really effective and allows you to avoid finding the house invaded by moths.
First of all, you have to start by cleaning the cabinets thoroughly, as I learned to do with experience:
- I sanitize the inside of the cabinet with a cloth soaked in white vinegar.
- I let it dry and then I pass the oil with another rag.
- I let it spend 3 hours, air it and, finally, spray the moth spray on walls, corners and hidden spots.
- It will not look pretty, but it is very useful to put some newspaper on the shelves, as moths hate printed paper.
- I do the same with drawers and boxes.
- The clothes must always be stored in the closets clean, completely dry (the worms quench their thirst with the water released by the condensation ), not piled up and the doors must be kept closed, except when airing.
- During the good season, I spend the month spray on clothes about once a month, while in winter I do it more rarely.
- I cover the garments that I do not plan to use in the current season with the appropriate plastic bags and put some cloves in my pockets (clothes moths do not like to be disturbed and preferably attack clothes that are not usually used).
Since furs have to “breathe”, they must be put away protected by very clean and tightly closed cotton sheets (even the sheets briefly sewn are fine so as not to leave spaces open to moths).
On the other hand, I arrange the golf bags, one by one, in cellophane bags with zip closure after having sprayed them with the moth spray and, if by chance I run out of bags and I don’t have time to go and buy more, I “pack” them in newspaper sheets.
Excellent grandmother’s remedies against fabric butterflies are laurel, cinnamon, chilli, cedar balls (note that over time the cedar loses its moth-killing properties), orange peels and dried mandarin peels, orris roots, the essence of mint and basil, tobacco, black peppercorns and bags of lavender.
Being cheap and easily available pesticides, I always put some of these natural remedies in special bags for drawers and wardrobes and in clothing pockets at every wardrobe change.
In the wardrobes, drawers and boxes I also place natural camphor, not in direct contact with the garments and the special moth-killing leaflets on which I write the date, as their effectiveness lasts about 2 months and then they must be replaced.