Moths are invading UK homes after trend for natural fibres and washing clothes ...

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() Moths are invading homes across Britain, especially in London and the southeast. 

Data shows a significant population boom among the textile-loving insects, which destroy natural fabrics with their larvae, which feeds on protein in natural materials.

Together, lepidopterologists – scientists who study moths and butterflies – and pest-control companies believe more than three million residences have been affected this year alone.

Adding insult to injury, home-owners themselves are partly to blame after embracing the trend for natural fibres and low-temperature washes.      

Invasion: Lepidopterologists and pest-control companies believe more than three million residences across the UK have been affected by moths, this year alone

Invasion: Lepidopterologists and pest-control companies believe more than three million residences across the UK have been affected by moths, this year alone

WHY IS THIS HAPPENING? 

Rentokil say demand for their moth-deterrent service has grown by 60 per cent since 2014.

They blame a combination of warmer weather, a decline in domestic cleanliness and eco-friendly approaches to washing machine cycles, which see items rinsed in 30C waters. 

Although better for the environment, this inadvertently allows moth eggs to grow and hatch, further bolstering the population. 

Moth larvae are only killed when washed in water heated above 55C.

Specifically, Rentokil say demand for their moth-deterrent service has grown by 60 per cent since 2014.

They blame a combination of warmer weather, a decline in domestic cleanliness and eco-friendly approaches to washing machine cycles, which see items rinsed in 30C waters. 

Although better for the environment, this inadvertently allows moth eggs to grow and hatch, further bolstering the population. 

Moth larvae are only killed when washed in water heated above 55C.

'Changing climate is almost certainly a contributing factor,' David Cross of Rentokil told The Times. 

'With milder winters and warmer summers prolonging their favourable breeding conditions, the insects could produce three generations per year.'

The problem first came to light when English Heritage complained of infestations in their myriad historic properties.

They installed moth traps and found a 216 per cent increase in moths caught between 2012 and 2016.

'We knew the numbers were rising in National Trust and English Heritage houses because we’ve got regular monitoring programmes,' David Pinniger, an entomologist, told The Guardian.

Experts advise a number of ways to control the pests, such as vacuum-packing clothes, storing high-risk items in the freezer and purchasing moth balls

Experts advise

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