Saturday, 25 June 2005

Clothes moths -- endangered species?

I have written about the decline of insects from time to time -- towns were once full of flies, so much so that everyone had net curtains to help keep them out. Nowadays nearly every city is virtually a fly-free zone. Even Delhi and Madras when I visited recently were not the fly-infested places of yesteryear. To me this is very scary, and I am constantly on the look out for hard data on the quantitative decline of insects. There's a lot on the qualitative declines and extinctions, but very little on numbers. I have put down the disappearance of species such as Red-backed Shrike in England, to the decline in large insects. I have noted how the commons of London were once crawling with grasshoppers in summer, but now thanks to pesticides and rotary mowers, grasshoppers are a rarity. anti parasite insecticides have poisoned cow pats, and so the list goes on. The latest to join my list is the clothes moth. As a child growing up in the 1940s and 50s, I remember clothes moth being a real problem when our woolly jumpers were put away for the summer. But now no one seems to worry. Is this just because so much of our clothing is synthetic, or are there other causes at work? The natural habitat of clothes moths is in birds nests among other places, and there are still plenty of birds nesting in towns. So where have the clothes moths gone?


  1. Have just come back from 3 week holiday to discover 6in bald patch in brand new all wool carpet, four other similar patches elsewhere and wardrobes full of tiny little beasts and holey clothing. After hire of carpet steamer ($45), dry cleaning of all coats ($43), destruction of completely damaged clothing ($230 approx) and potential replacement of new carpet (???) I can safely state that the clothes moth is alive and well and living in Warwickshire! (PS my laptop refuses to type pound signs, so for dollars read sterling above).

  2. clothes are alive and well in London too - have had to deal with several infestions in the last year, and we are not alone in our part of London. Carpets, clothes are not immue to the little beasties which I have seen in their hundreds.

  3. does anyone know of a method of treatment against these clothes moths? preferably one which does not involve use of unpleasant insecticides...

  4. yes I too have had clothes moth just recently and of course they went for the most fine wool cashmere blend and funny enough only garments which are red!

    This is the second time in 18 months and this year has been particularly bad for moths around England.

    I read that dry ice is an effective way of getting rid of them. Of course this is remedial not preventive.

    How one uses it I am not quite sure.

  5. dear all i to have had to suffer the blight of clothes moth and if they are at all endangard then feel free to contact me for some samples.
    i have been trying to deal with these
    critters for a few years now.found a great trap which is helping, its a non-toxic sticky with pheremone.
    the web site is
    most goods are toxic but the moth traps are not