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Our popular Mottlock Moth boxes are very efficient at catching the common clothes moth (Tineola bisselliella) and the case-bearing clothes moth (Tinea pellionella) , the commonest species in the UK. However Operation Clothes Moth run by English Heritage recently found increasing numbers of the pale-backed cloths moth (Monopis crocicapitella), particularly in the south of the UK. There aren’t many pheromone clothes moth traps on the market that catch all three species, but we’ve tracked one down to add to our range of natural pest control products.
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There are two aspects to moth control: DETER or KILL. This pheromone clothes moth trap is an essential part of the KILL phase. It sends out pheromones to attract male moths. This trap attracts the common clothes moth, the case-bearing clothes moth AND the increasingly common pale-backed clothes moth. The male moth thinks he’s caught the scent of a gorgeous female when wham! he’s stuck on a sticky trap. He won’t suffer long. Think of your cashmere and carry on.
Pheromone clothes moth traps work by luring male moths to a sticky trap. The pheromone trap only attracts specific species so there’s no risk of catching a harmless moth. There are three clothes moth species that target our woollens in the UK. Most pheromone traps only catch one or two of these: our trap catches all three in one go. These are the common clothes moth, the case bearing clothes moth and the pale-backed clothes moth. If you want the Latin names these are Tineola bisselliella, Tinea pellionella and Monopis crocicapitella.
Most moth species are attracted to lights and can be killed using light traps. However the clothes moths like dark places and avoid the light, so a conventional insect killer won’t work against them. The pheromone trap only kills the male adult moths, so you need some other tactics against the egg-laying females, the larvae that do the actual damage, and the eggs. But setting a pheromone trap is the easiest way of controlling them. By preventing the males from mating you are preventing the life cycle of larvae hatching and munching through your beloved cashmere. And once you’ve got the moths under control, keeping a trap in situ means you can monitor them over time. Just remember to replace the trap every 6 – 8 weeks to make sure it keeps smelling lovely to the poor little males.
Each pheromone clothes moth trap will lure male moths within a few metres. One is suitable in a moderate sized room. It’s recommended that you have one per room, or if there’s a serious infestation, in more than one location within the room, such as in a wardrobe and one on a shelf at the other side of the room. Remember to keep lures away from deterrents so as not to confuse poor old Mr Moth. It’s advised not to place the trap near an open window so as not to lure in moths from outdoors.
This trap comes flat-packed. Peel off the paper at the back to reveal the sticky trap stuff impregnated with slow release moth attracting pheromones. Fold it into a triangle and stick the tab over to hold it all in place. It’s pretty simple and quite easy to do without getting yourself covered in the sticky stuff (some other traps can be a bit more fiddly, especially when it comes to putting in the refills). It’s got a lovely picture of Herdwick sheep in the Lake District on it. This makes the trap nice and discreet so that people visiting your home won’t notice moth traps all over the place. English Heritage advise putting the traps at around 5 or 6 feet up so as to catch the male moths when they’re flying around.
Clothes moths are tiny, and can get in through the smallest of gaps. They will flutter in through open windows, through vents and holes in the building, and down chimneys. They seek out dark places so the chimney is an ideal route in. If there are birds’ nests at the top, lined with wool and feathers, then it’s easy for them to them to get in that way. A Chimney Sheep will offer a line of defence against them but it’s a good idea to keep good chimney hygiene and get it swept annually even if you don’t use it.
However clothes moths are not long-distance fliers, and the classic “way-in” for them is to hitch a ride on a piece of vintage clothing, second hand rug, or other item that has been brought into the home.
It’s tempting to throw the full armoury of moth products at the pests in one go and hope that one or the other will do a combined effort in destroying and preventing them. However if the male moth scents the pheromones of a gorgeous female moth, and at the same time gets wind of the revolting stench of lavender then he will be extremely confused, poor fellow. Use the pheromone trap as part of the catching phase, then use the deterrents once you’ve blitzed the place for moths. As an on-going defence, use deterrents on your wool garments and have the pheromone traps strategically placed to monitor for moth returns, but keep the two products in separate rooms so as not to send out conflicting messages.