This is a time of year when you may be hauling clothes off to the dry cleaners and doing extra loads of laundry to make the transition from winter wear to warm-weather clothing. To make room for summer outfits, you're probably moving your cold-weather items to storage areas of your home.
Before you store away clothes for the next few months, consider how and where they're being stored, because you could find an unwanted surprise when you pull them out of storage six months from now - damage from clothes moths.
Two types of clothes moths - case-making and webbing moths - can damage your clothing if you've placed them in dark areas of your basement or closets. If you haven't contained them properly in airtight bags or sealed bins, when you remove the items from storage you may find that moths have been at work. The telltale signs are the silk webbing and tiny tubes that are left behind by the pests.
However, your clothing may not be the only textiles at risk for damage. Stored soft furnishings like curtains, rugs and slipcovers that are made of natural fiber rather than synthetics could also attract clothes moths.
If you find evidence that clothes moths have infested your closets and storage areas, stored clothing should be washed with hot water or dry cleaned. Vacuum house goods that may be affected and wash down closets where the infestation took place.
But home pest management can't stop there. Rugs, upholstered furniture and decorative pillows made of natural materials like wool or silk, whether they're in storage or in use in your home, may also be affected.
Practice good housekeeping by frequently vacuuming to rid those items of any eggs and larvae left behind by moths. Remove animal hair from furnishings frequently, because moth larvae feed on it. In addition, vacuum floors and dust shelving and walls regularly to get rid of webs or excess dust where insect eggs and larvae may reside.
If you have needlework displayed on the walls or heirlooms made of natural fabrics, vacuum them carefully. Clothes and home goods must be washed or cleaned before they are stored away in tight-fitting containers.
Adding moth repellents will help, but they'll kill pests only if they're maintained at sufficient concentrations. Over time, their effectiveness will fade. For a long-term solution, you may have to consult with a company like Abell Pest Control that specializes in pest removal.