Tag Archives: Moths

Are the contents of your wardrobe under attack?

23 Nov

The common clothes moth

Summer 2016 provided the ideal conditions for the breeding of moths. Millions of homes in the UK are, therefore, likely to have moth larvae hiding away somewhere. As the weather gets colder people will be reaching for their winter woollies and may well find that moth larvae have had a field day chomping through their precious clothes. It’s the larvae that will munch through your best woollies – the moths themselves don’t eat fabric.  And it’s not just clothes the larvae eat. They will munch holes in any natural fibres: carpets, clothes, fabric, even leather.  The damage these pests create can be very costly.

It is this time of year that we generally start to receive calls about moth-related problems and after such favourable breeding conditions this summer and a mild autumn we expect this year to be no different.

At Abate Pest Management we have a range of professional treatments we can use to eradicate your moth problem quickly and effectively. We don’t recommend the use of moth balls containing paradichlorobenzene and naphthalene as there is evidence to suggest these may be toxic to young children.

Tips to help reduce moth larvae in your home

At the same time as calling in the professionals there are also some actions you can take to reduce the number of damage causing moth larvae in your home.

1.    Areas that are not regularly reached by the vacuum cleaner are the most likely places for the larvae to be found. Deep cleaning should be carried out in infested rooms, paying particular attention to wall/floor junctions, carpet edges and soft furnishings.  Change the bag in your vacuum often – this will help remove larvae and eggs from your property.

2.    Wash all fabric in the affected area – moth larvae will also munch through soft furnishings, towels, linens, curtains etc. Any infested clothing should be washed on as hot a temperature as possible to kill eggs and larvae.  Alternatively, any small items not suitable for washing or dry cleaning can be placed in an air-tight bag and stored in a freezer for 3 days to kill all life stages.

3.    Clean and wash furniture – wardrobes, cupboards and drawers should be checked and cleaned. As well as the underside of furniture as larvae sometimes pupate on these surfaces. Pay particular attention to cracks and crevices where eggs might be hiding.

4.    Clean any bags or containers – such as suitcases as eggs and larvae might be hiding there.

These pests not only affect homes but can be a major setback for clothing or soft furnishing manufacturing and storage facilities, museums and shops. Having a favourite jumper damaged by moth larvae is one thing, having a warehouse full of expensive designer garments damaged is a large financial problem – especially if contaminated stock has also infected a customer’s premises.

It’s important to take action as soon as you notice signs of a moth infestation. Call Abate Pest Management if you need to get rid of moths from your property.

As the weather gets warmer, look out for moth damage

14 Apr

While most of us welcome the warmer spring days, the rise in temperatures brings unwelcome visitors to our homes and businesses – the moth.

As the days get warmer, we pack away our winter woollies and our wardrobes become the focus of attack by these harmless looking insects. At Abate we regularly see an increase in the number of call outs we receive to deal with moth problems at this time of year.

Moths can get into properties via infested items such as carpets, rugs, second-hand furniture and clothing.  They may also migrate from birds’ nests in the roof space where they can feed on feathers.

Carpet beetle pest control

The Common and Case-Bearing Clothes Moth are the two main species likely to be found infesting domestic dwellings in the UK.  Tapestry Moth are occasionally encountered – usually in cooler, older buildings with a higher humidity level.  But it’s not the moths that are responsible for causing the damage, but the larvae.

It can be very difficult to pinpoint the source of an infestation due to their elusive nature. Moths prefer warm, dark conditions such as in drawers, cupboards and under furniture. Anything made from natural textiles is at risk. Clothes Moth have been found breeding on the hammer felts in pianos!

The female Clothes Moth lays 40-50 eggs over 2-3 weeks. These then hatch in 4-10 days. By the time you see the adult moths flying around it may be too late to stop an infestation.

Moths produce irregular holes in garments while the Case-bearing Clothes Moth produces a more regular hole pattern.

Control methods

Areas that are not regularly accessed by the vacuum cleaner are the most likely places to harbour moth larvae.

Drawers and cupboards should be checked and cleaned. Also check the underside of furniture as larvae sometimes pupate on these surfaces. Furs and stuffed animals are also vulnerable to attack.  Deep cleaning should be carried out in infested rooms, paying particular attention to wall/floor junctions, carpet edges and soft furnishings.  Any infested clothing should be washed on as hot a temperature as possible to kill eggs and larvae.  Alternatively, any small items not suitable for washing / dry cleaning can be placed in an air-tight bag and stored in a freezer for 3 days to kill all life stages.

Any infested areas should be sprayed with insecticide although bear in mind that eggs and pupae are difficult to kill and a repeat treatment may be necessary.  Abate do not recommend the use of moth balls containing paradichlorobenzene and naphthalene as there is evidence to suggest these may be toxic to young children.

If you have a problem with moths and would like further information, please call us for free on 0800 980 9609 or call 01953 603390.  You can find all our moth pest control products available to purchase in our online shop at http://www.abateltd.co.uk/product.asp?page_id=33&prodCat=1

Ghostly Invasion

17 Jun

Invasion of the Ermine Moth Caterpillar

Ghostly images have formed around the ‘Bird Cherry Trees’ in Jesus Green Park, Cambridge. Is this a alien or supernatural occurrence?

NO: this is down to a creature that only measures less than 1” (2.5cm) in length. We are talking about the Ermine Moth Caterpillar. This has stripped the barks of the Bird Cherry Tree, and then leaving a ghostly white silk webbing structure.

Caterpillars in a Cambridge Park 3

[Picture from – BBC News Cambridge]

These native caterpillars have taken a liking to the avenue of bird cherry tree in this park.

Guy Belcher, nature conservation officer at the city council, said: “They strip the trees and it does look ghostly and very dramatic.

“However, the trees grow back and are fine. It’s a wonder of nature.”

He said it was likely there were hundreds of thousands of the pale, creamy-yellow caterpillars, each measuring just under 1in (2.5cm) in length.

 ‘Micro-moths’

Mr. Belcher continued by saying: “They are host-specific, and only like the bird cherry tree. The ones on Jesus Green have obviously proved favorable to them”.

“This year is obviously good for them, for whatever reason, and there’s a big infestation.”

The silk webs surrounding the trunks and branches were the “combined effort of many, many caterpillars”, he said.

“They form a protective web over the tree on which they’re feeding to try and protect themselves from birds and parasitic wasps.

“The caterpillars are actually a fantastic food source for other creatures in the park.”

Mr. Belcher said past infestations had been monitored and the trees were not harmed.

“It’s not damaging the tree, so we just let nature take its course,” he added.

He said the creatures were nearing the end of the caterpillar stage and would soon pupate into a “tiny micro-moth” – white with black spots – hence the name ermine moth.

[Sourced from News Cambridge]

Cambridge News:

An infestation of caterpillars has engulfed trees on Cambridge’s Jesus Green, covering them in a silvery web.

Commuters and residents have been taking pictures of the mysterious gossamer covering.

Tree experts have identified bird-cherry ermine moth caterpillars but have never seen such an extreme form of infestation before.

Student Debbie Cross, of Corona Road, West Chesterton,  has taken pictures of the webs which have intrigued her since she first saw them last week.

The 35-year-old said: “I think I was probably one of the first people to see this. They came in quickly overnight.

“From walking home the evening before and walking past next morning at 5am the trees were covered in what looked like cotton wool.

“It was quite alarming when I saw the trees. I thought it was spiders with webs.”

Some residents raised concern about the damage the caterpillars are doing to the trees lining a path near the public toilets.

Researcher Charlotte Tulinius, of Searle Street, Arbury, said: “I think it would be great if there was some biological warfare, like a green way of doing it.

“It would be too difficult to spray a whole park full of trees. It would be great if they could get beetles in to stop them or something.

“It would be sad if the trees were stripped but it is nature.”

Andrew Halstead, principal entomologist for the Royal Horticultural Society,  said the caterpillars may be a small ermine moth.

He said: “The feeding areas where the caterpillars eat are covered in silk webbing where they also live. You are seeing the full extent of the damage now as they feed; the next stage is they pupate into adult moths in July or August.

“The impact on the plant is quite a setback if it has been stripped but it will survive and re-grow.”

He said the moths are not harmful to humans.

Nature conservation officer Guy Belcher, of Cambridge City Council, assessed the infestation after being contacted by the News.

He said: “They are bird-cherry ermine moths which spin a silken web in trees and live in little colonies.  I have never seen anything like this before.”

CITtree

[Picture from – Cambridge News)

6563_Maarten_Jacobs_-_White_Ermine_-_77__decline_over_35_years

The White Ermine Moth [Spilosoma Lubricipede] [Maarten Jacobs]

Moth problems? Need pest control?

3 Apr

Have you ever had that awful moment when you pull a much loved item of clothing out of the wardrobe, only to discover it’s full of holes? We all know moths enjoy eating jumpers, but why? And what can be done to prevent them?

Clothes moth

Clothes moth

The moths that cause a problem in our clothes are not those you see fluttering around a lightbulb – the Common and Case-Bearing Clothes Moths prefer the dark. Your clothes are particularly at risk if they are made from natural fibres (moths love silk and wool), and if you’ve put them away without having cleaned them first.

To avoid an infestation of this pest, you have a few options. Firstly, the most important thing is to store clothes correctly – that is to make sure you have cleaned everything before storing, and ensure you regularly vacuum clean the wardrobe. Even just to shake out garments in a well aerated room once a month can help to keep moth numbers down. In the past people used moth balls, but these are highly toxic, smell overwhelmingly strongly and are no longer recommended as a means of treatment. In terms of natural detterants, cedar balls can be used, although adult moths often become immune to the smell.

If you have a significant moth problem, your best line of action will be to get your house fumigated by a pest control company. Have a look at http://www.abateltd.co.uk/interior/pestdirectorymoth to see how we can help you.

Moths – are they becoming extinct?

6 Feb

Moths – are they becoming extinct?

If  you have been plagued by carpet moths, then you will presume that there are moths in abundance and you would be partly correct.  Carpet moths are one of the few species whose numbers have increased in recent years, but in general, moth numbers are sadly decreasing.

Does it matter that the moth population is in decline?  Well, yes it does really as it is important in our eco-system:-

“The decline could have a knock-on effect for plant pollination and animals reliant on moths for food, such as garden and woodland birds, bats and small mammals”

Part of the reason for their decline over the past four decades may be put down to changes in agriculture and farming.  With more intensive farming and less growing of berries, such as gooseberries and currants, the moth may have less food available to them.

There is a silver-lining.  The EU is encouraging farmers to plant more trees and hedgerows and to move away from the more intensive farming methods – this will also increase the butterfly population too!

Moth

Moths are important indicators of biodiversity health

If you are having issues with carpet moths, please give us a call and we will offer advice and if necessary, come and treat the area for you.