Moths are not the reason you may find holes appearing in your clothes- It is their larvae.
Moth eggs and larvae are incredibly difficult to see on your clothes. When they hatch, young larvae are only about 1mm long. Because of this, they can do damage for weeks without being seen.
Moth larvae particularly love natural fibres such as wool, silk, cashmere and fur. Chewing on the fibres can create direct holes or weaken the fabric, causing your garments to develop holes after being washed or worn. This puts your precious Babu merino at risk of developing moth holes.
How long do moths live?
The total lifecycle of a moth spans between two and three months.
A single female moth can as many as 300 eggs in just 3 weeks. This populates your closest with fibre eating larvae. These hungry larvae munch holes in your clothing for up to 50 days before pupating and becoming an adult moth. Fortunately, adult moths do not do direct damage to your clothing. However, these adult moths actively mate and repopulate your wardrobe with eggs.
Moth larvae eat the most in an environment between 10°C and 24°C. As most homes stay within these temperatures, the risk of moth infestation remains all year long. Adult moth sighting will be most likely in the warmer months.
What are the signs of moth infestation?
- Moth sightings (larvae and adult moths)
- Small holes
- Damaged patches of fabric
- Crusty looking deposits on your garments
Will washing or drying clothes kill moths?
Yes- Hot washing and drying clothes can kill moth eggs and larvae. However, note that hot washing certain natural fibres (Including Babu Merino) can ruin them.
What kills moth larvae?
Vigorous shaking- This will dislodge both eggs and larvae from your precious garments. Follow up with a good vacuum to prevent them from finding new homes.
Freezing- Freezing your infested garments is a good way to deal to clothing that can not be hot washed. Pop your clothing in a zip-lock bag and freeze for at least 12 hours to kill any remaining eggs or larvae. Make sure to double-check if your fabric can withstand being frozen.
What kills adult moths instantly?
- Pheromone traps
- Aerosol Sprays
- Smoke bombs
If you find moth holes, it is a good idea to clean out the entire area. Give the space a good vacuum, wipe down and bug spray to ensure any wondering moth larvae are killed. Do this regularly to limit the infestation of moths.
For future protection, store your at-risk apparel in zip lock bags, containers or garment bags to prevent the moths from laying eggs in your clothing.
Prevention is always better than a remedy. See more about natural moth prevention methods here.