Welcome to OPERATION CLOTHES MOTH
From tapestries to period dresses, our furnishings and fabrics are hundreds of years old. But clothes moths can eat through them in several months and their numbers are rising. Our conservation scientists need data to tackle the problem - and that is where you come in.
We're giving away free clothes moth traps at our manned sites this spring for you to take home, and see what's lurking in your house. Discover more about the problems clothes moths pose, and find out how you can get involved below.
It can be an uphill battle protecting our historic artefacts from clothes moths. Our properties are crammed with edible contents, and are full of nooks and crannies for moths to hide in. Brodsworth Hall, which we've conserved 'as found', came to us in a state of disrepair. It's an example of what happens when clothes moths and other pests get out of control.
Over the past ten years, we've been monitoring clothes moths in 42 properties using over 3,000 sticky traps. Their numbers are rising - both at our sites and (we suspect) in domestic homes. At English Heritage, we are on top of the situation, but we can't afford to get complacent. Now we are launching a long-term research project, and we need your help to better understand how clothes moths spread.
the MISSION: trap and map
To help support our research, we're asking you to collect a free clothes moth trap and put it up at home. The traps are non-toxic, but work by attracting male webbing cothes moths to a glue impregnated with the female sex pheremone.
Write the date on the trap, then pop them in your living room or bedroom, on a fireplace surround, shelf or on top of a wardrobe (be sure not to use these traps in areas with bats, like attics). After at least one month, but ideally three, take a look at the trap and see what you've caught. Then use our record page to tell us about your findings.What to do next
Places where you can pick up a moth trap
Place(s) To Visit
MISSION TIMELINE: April - August
What to do once you've laid your trap
Step 1: Leave your trap for 1-3 months, then check and see what you've caught. This might be a Webbing clothes moth (Tineola bissellella) or the Pale backed clothes moth (Monopis crocicapitella).
Step 2: Fill in the form. We need to know a bit about where you live, what the conditions in your house are like, and what you've found.
Step 3: Take a look at the map and see where the hotspots for pests are.
Step 4: Plan a visit to another historic place and see what we're fighting to protect.Send us your findings
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How your support helps
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Support our conservation in action appeal
Looking after our collections for the future is the cornerstone of everything we do. It is one of our biggest responsibilities and an ongoing challenge - and we need your help.
Find out more about the science behind our conservation
Conservation science research underpins the decisions we make to protect our collections. The research projects that we're involved with help to safeguard historic places for the future.