IF ANYONE were to open my freezer last weekend they would have got a surprise.

Instead of the usual disarray of oven chips, bread and bags of this season’s brambles, it was full of clothes: jumpers, skirts, even a dress.

I’d put them there because we are fighting an infestation of clothes moths. Tineola bisselliella, to use the species’ proper name are taking over in our house.

They are everywhere, and when I opened my wardrobe to find two fluttering about, war was soon declared. I read up on how to get rid of them and bought lavender bags, cedar wood rings, and ugly strips impregnated with chemical. But still they survived and seems in higher spirits than ever.

When, last week, I discovered that a cardigan I’ve owned and loved for decades had been ravaged by them, along with a coat belonging to my daughter, I knew I had to up the ante.

I read how effective putting clothing in a freezer can be, so piled them in. I also bought a napalm-like spray. I hate killing anything - I even help slugs cross if I spot them on pavements - but we really can’t afford to replace all our clothes.

Pest controllers say the number of moth infestations has been on the rise in recent years, and that our modern, cosseted lifestyles are to blame. Not only are our homes heated year-round, we have more clothes than any generation in history and the rigorous spring cleans that kept our grandparents’ homes spotless are all but forgotten.

If you add into the mix mild winters, we couldn’t have created a happier breeding ground.

Moth infestations are worse this year than they have been for a long time. English Heritage reported that the number of clothes moths caught on traps had doubled in the past five years. The organisation launched Operation Clothes Moth giving out free traps to the public to feed results back to scientists to build up a picture across the country.

It could be worse. My eldest daughter happily moved into a student house this month only to find she had beg bugs. She woke up covered in livid, itchy bites and one of her feet looked as though it had been ravaged by a swarm of locusts.

To give credit to her landlord, the bed and mattress were immediately replaced, but she is still uneasy.

One of the student houses I lived in decades ago had an infestation of blue bottles. I think something had died in the attic, although we could not get up to look. Our landlord called in pest controllers, who arrived dressed for spring cleaning at Sellafield. I don’t know what they did in the house, but we weren’t allowed in for several hours afterwards.

My family is plagued by infestations at the moment: my sister’s block of flats in London has a mouse problem. No-one knows how the invaders got in, but my sister spends a lot of time listening at floorboards to track their movements.

And my parents are overwhelmed by ducks. My mum got up the other day to find almost 40 on the lawn. She may be a tad responsible, though, feeding them, and even providing a little pool for the young ones to swim in. She has helped to raise several broods over the years, much to my dad’s annoyance.

So, having deep-frozen and washed our clothing, sprayed and vacuumed every room, I am hoping the moth problem has gone away. I haven’t seen any for a couple of days, but they may just be in early hibernation, ready to resurface in spring…