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BBC Radio Surrey, 29th July 2012


BBC Three Counties RadioAnd lets talk about moths now we're in the midst of a moth invasion apparently, at least one listener has agreed with that Stella in Brighton. Experts say the cold weather is partly to blame for the epidemic which is hitting the Guildford and Godalming areas particularly bad. How do they this, because computer experts have developed a high tech map showing the location and frequency of attacks within our area. Graham Warren is a moth expert and joins me on the line now to talk a little bit more about it, hello Graham.

Good morning, how are you?

Yes I'm alright, thank you, I'm alright.


Now I did hear, we'll talk a little bit about the technology in a moment, I did hear that bunging a woolly jumper that may have been given or bought in a second hand shop, into the freezer and leaving it in the drawer there, is quite a good way of making sure you don't infest the rest of your wardrobe. Have you ever come across that before?

Yes that's a commonly held theory, it's one way of doing it, it's not the easiest thing to do when you've got a whole lot of garments that are obviously infected.

No and there's nowhere to put your fish fingers as well.

There's always a downside to life and that's one of them.

Yes, absolutely. So what's caused, lets talk a little bit more about what's caused such a surge in moths, and we have a text in fact from Stella in Brighton, I mentioned, let me read it to you again, and it says, I've got them in my carpet they're eating the edges under the furniture, I've hoovered the affected areas and sprayed everything including the vac dust holder, after emptying every day, but I can't keep on doing this, Stella says she has a disability as well. She just can't shake 'em off. So quite a bad problem for her and she's not alone.

She is definitely not alone. For the last two years now, we've had what is considered to be a pandemic of moths. We've got three types of moth, clothes moth, carpet moth and food moth, and clothes moth is the most prevalent. There's something like 26 different moths in the UK, but two do all the damage. Its not, people have to understand, it not the fully grown moth that does the damage is the larvae. As the larvae hatch, and those little creatures want to grown to fully grown moths, it's them that eat the garments.


Hence you get very small holes in your garments, because they themselves are small.


And they thrive, they very much thrive on dark and undisturbed places. Which the clothes moth gets when you close the doors of the wardrobe, and the carpet moth gets because if you have carpeted floors, and most people do, you've got another dark and undisturbed place under the sofa and the chairs because you don't move them very often when you hoover. And the last year or so, eighteen months, we've seen a big increase in the amount of business we're doing on carpet moths, so obviously that's becoming more of a problem, but its the clothes moth that's the main one.

And it is very irritating isn't it, to get something out and find that it's been munched.

Well their favourite fodder, are generally our favourite garments, i.e. anything that is made out of natural fibres, particularly cottons and wool and cashmere.


They don't eat man-made fibres, and most, not all, but most garments these days are made primarily using natural fibres. So anything is on the menu basically.

I thought you were going to say they keep up to terms with what colours are in, and then target those.

I don't know whether we can credit them with that intelligence.

Tell us a bit more about the technology, I mentioned this map showing the location and frequency of attacks in your area.

Well we have a website called, and we're in our thirtieth year and we're clothes care experts, and last year, October 2011, we won an award at the British inventions show for our moth map. We created some software, you can put your postcode into our database, and it will show you, it just take a few seconds for all the information to download, whether you are in an area of high infestation, and it grades the levels of infestation, and then we suggest which moth repellent products that we stock are suitable to deal with that situation.

Okay, and anything, before we get to the epidemic or pandemic stage, that we can do to deter moths other than putting your woollies in the freezer. I mean sometimes having lavender, was something that was, I know is an old wives tale, that they're not particularly meant to like. Maybe a lavender bag in your wardrobe, something like that.

Well wives tales actually I think have generally been based on fact and truth, and the old pongy, smelly moth balls, which we may remember from grandmas days, they are long gone. They contain something called naphthalene, technology has moved on, but basically a lot of the moth repellents are cedar wood based from north America, or they are lavender based. The advice is continue looking, but know what you're looking for, and what you're looking for are the larvae, very simple to spot, the problem is they can stay in the larvae stage for up to two years, so you may have the problem and you don't know it. So the larvae look like in terms of size and colour and shape, a small grain of white rice, if you find those take everything out of the wardrobe, thoroughly hoover it and then use moth repellents, and we as a business can help advise on all of that. Store hanging garments in man made suit and dress covers, as a further barrier against the moths, and store knitwear in sweater bags, and we make all of those and its another barrier against the creatures.

Alright, okay, and more information online?

Most definitely, two websites, and, plus a very helpful friendly crew on the phone, will talk to anybody and help everybody.

Alright Graham lovely to have you on our show, thank you so much.

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