Clothes moth (Tineola bisselliella)
Moths are one of the very few domestic pests that pose no risk to the human health. Moths usually enter a property through opened windows and doors, second hand furniture and clothes, infested luggage or contaminated food. Moths are considered pests because their larvae eat different kinds of natural fabrics attracted by keratin, which is a protein, present in some organic materials. An infestation started by the caterpillars can seriously damage clothes, carpets, fur and leather made of natural fibres.
There are species, however, that feed on grains, seeds, flour, nuts and dried fruit such as the Indian meal moth, the Warehouse moth and the Mill moth. These species are capable of chewing through packaging to get to a food source where, after feeding, the moth would usually leave traces of silky webbing and excrement. The regular clothes moth, as well as the stored product moth species, can reproduce quite rapidly in ideal conditions. In cases of developed infestations with lots of larvae in the property it may be very hard to get rid of them.
Moths can cause damage to a lot of fabrics in your home, but when it comes to commercial infestations of textiles and stored products, a fabric moth infestation could have a significant impact on your business. If you notice unusual holes in fabrics and organic materials or packaging that may be a sign of a moth infestation. You may also be able to spot larvae, eggs, silken tubular-shaped cases and silk cocoons.
When professional moth pest control is required, there are a few steps that we follow prior to any treatment. Firstly and most importantly, the pest technician carries out a detailed inspection, trying to find the source, type and level of the infestation. During this stage some of the most probable hiding spots are being located and a targeted treatment is carried out, using methods following the best practice codes for moth control. Usually, the clothes moth larva is hiding in wardrobes and drawers, as well as in the carpets, where clothes and organic fibers are available, as a main food source of the larvae of the clothes moth. The other species that cause nuisance in residential and commercial premises – the meal moth, is often associated with invading and contaminating food supplies, especially seeds and grains. In domestic cases, this moth’s larva chews its way through nearly any kind of plastic packaging. As a result, it leaves tiny holes on the surface, making it possible to reach its preferable food source.
After the inspection and the risk assessment of the situation our moth expert provides you with advice on the most appropriate treatment to be undertaken. The moth control and prevention methods include chemical and non-chemical solutions such as insecticide surface spray or fumigation, targeted heat treatments with dry steam for instant moth larva extermination, as well as proofing with affordable and very effective window mesh installation. We combine all of the above-mentioned methods with the placement of pheromone traps that are non-toxic and ensure long-lasting moth control by reducing the ability of the adult moths to reproduce. The traps work by attracting the male moths and preventing them from further mating with the female moths that contributes greatly to decreasing the level of infestation.
Clothes moth larva
Moths are flying insects, cousins of the butterflies. There are more than 150 thousand species known in the world, most of which are nocturnal. Flying in the dark, these insects are very often attracted to lights, which has not been explained yet. In London and the UK’s urban areas there are primarily two types of moths that are considered pests and these are the clothes moth and the meal moth. The clothes moth nests in storage places, where clothes, carpets or other textiles and fabrics are kept, unlike the meal moth, which prefers to settle within organic food sources.
Unlike the adult moths, which can fly and feed on nectar from plants’ blossoms, their larvae feed on natural fibres and fabrics, seeds, grains and others. The larvae or the caterpillars of some species are invasive pests, posing risk to forests and agricultural crops. Moths in urban areas usually try to settle near their preferable food source, depending on the species.
Moths reproduce with high rates and eradicating developed infestations is a challenge. Usually, the fertile female releases pheromones to attract the male and mate. The development of a newly-hatched moth to a fully-grown adult happens in several stages. Firstly, the moth will lay eggs, which will usually hatch within 15 days. The following larvae stage may take from 2 months to 2 years for some species to develop into a cocoon. The last stage is the pupae (cocoon) and it lasts between 15 and 60 days before they become adult moths. Fully-grown adults can live up to 30 days.