When is Moth Season and How to Prepare Your Home

Yellow Spring Tulips in a clean kitchen

Nothing is quite as frustrating as getting your favorite clothes out of storage, only to find them ragged and moth-eaten. Moth holes are unsightly, frustrating to repair, and slightly disgusting! So what can you do to prevent them? In this case, the best offense is a good defense!

Keeping your clothes safe from moths and intact will depend on your ability to prevent these insects from making a meal of your natural fabrics. As such, the big question is, are you ready for Moth Season? Below, we’re going to fill you in on everything you need to know so that your wardrobe will be safe and sound all year round!

Let’s Talk About Clothes Moths

Before we dive into moth-hole-prevention, let's talk about these little insects. After all, understanding them can help you keep them out of your clothes! Moths are in the species order Lepidoptera with butterflies. Did you know that there are over 160,000 species of moths in the world? Some moths are big, some are small, and some are actually quite beautiful!

However, only one species of moth eats your clothing. This annoying little troublemaker is called the Common Clothes Moth, or, Tineola Bisselliella. Discovered in 1823, the larvae of these moths are serious pests. Clothing moth caterpillars (larvae) derive their nourishment from eating your clothing.

Wool, in particular, is a favorite snack of theirs. Other natural fibers aren't safe either. Even though Clothes Moth larvae like wool best, they won’t hesitate to eat cashmere, silk, fur, mohair, angora, and even feathers! Basically, they eat the expensive, genuine stuff.

As these icky little larvae eat through your clothes, they leave holes in their wake. The result is a wardrobe full of damaged, and in many cases ruined, sweaters, hats, and clothing items. Obviously, no one wants that!

a woolen sweater which has been eaten by moth larvae

When is Moth Season?

So when exactly is Moth Season, anyway? Moreover, when does Moth Season end? It will depend on where you live. It also depends on the weather. The life cycle of Clothing Moths is dependent on the temperature. Modern indoor heating and warm winters can make the Moth Season differ from year to year. With this in mind, Moth Season occurs at generally the same time each year, in the springtime.

About Moth Season in the US and UK

In the United States and much of Europe, Moth Season is in the springtime. As soon as the weather warms up, these moths start emerging fully grown and looking for a mate. Moth mating season is when you will notice moths most. Moth hatching season is when the eggs hatch and larvae begin to eat through your clothes in dark, quiet places.

However, if moths are emerging in your home, there is a good chance that your natural fiber clothing has already been damaged. Adult moths do not eat. Their sole purpose is to mate and lay eggs. It's the larvae that are responsible for damage to your clothes.

The eggs of Clothes Moths will hatch, eat through clothing, make a cocoon, and then emerge when the next season starts, which could be in two months or in a year. It all will depend on how warm or cool the weather is. Indoor heating can also play a role, meaning moth life cycles could perpetuate indefinitely within a home. This is known as an infestation.

a Clothes Moth Larva

After mating, they will lay their eggs, which will hatch into larvae, and begin tunneling through your expensive clothes.

When is Moth Season in the US Based on Your State?

In the United States, Moth Season usually starts in the spring and ends two to four weeks after you first begin seeing the moths emerge. During this 2-4 week period, the moths will mate and females will lay their eggs to make room for a new generation.

In the Southern United States of Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and even Florida, Moth Season can begin as early as late February. In the Midwest, Moth Season is usually in March and April. For the US Southwest and West Coast, March and April mark the beginning of the month season.

In the arid north and colder western states of Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, and Utah, Moth Season is usually at the end of April or middle of May. If the winter in an area is particularly warm, Moth Season may start earlier.

When is the Moth Season in the UK?

In Europe, and the UK, Moth Season usually begins in the second week of April and can extend through August. Also, in September there may be a second wave. Since the life cycle stages of these moths work in 15-50 day timelines, Moth Season will usually last three weeks but could have a second wave about two months after the first, depending on the weather.

How to Prepare for Clothes Moth Season?

There are a few ways to easily prepare for Moth Season so that no moths enter your home in the first place. First, consider using cedar in your home. Cedar naturally repels moths and other insects and keeps them from moving in and laying eggs. Plus, it smells great! You can also use moth repellents in your closets to keep moths from coming to visit.

Sometimes, a moth infestation comes from another source than just moths. Moth eggs are very small and will stick to the fibers of clothing. As such, before bringing home any new clothes, be sure to inspect them for moth larvae.

eggs laid by Clothes Moths

So, if new clothes can be washed, consider washing them before putting them in your wardrobe or in storage. Washing your clothes in warm or hot water before storing them is a surefire way to remove moth eggs. Clothes can be beaten or shaken off outside to remove eggs before you put them in your closet.

Finally, be sure to keep your home vacuumed and dusted. However, with older homes, no matter how much you clean, moths may still come to pay you a visit.

Effective Moth Prevention Strategies:

  • Use Cedarwood
  • Wash Clothes Before Storing Them
  • Use Moth Repellents
  • Try to Keep Windows Closed at Night

Begin Treatment of a Clothes Moth Infestation at the First Sight

If you think you have a moth infestation, the smartest thing to do is act fast. Putting Moth Traps in place will help by catching the adult males - stopping those moths from breeding. 

For information on eliminating larger infestations in your home, you may like to read our Clothes Moth Kit Guide, which gives you guidance about using chemical products in line with our Traps. 

If you have a severe infestation you could call in professional pest controllers. Although expensive, professional pest control services can get the job done while you get on about your day-to-day duties!

Additionally, if you believe that there may be moth larvae in your clothing, you can put your clothes in a bag and throw them in the freezer. Freezing your clothing for a minimum of 24 hours will kill the larvae. Moth larvae are usually active at night, so you are unlikely to see them in the daytime.

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