Moths are typically seen as destructive pests, causing a lot of damage to property, including clothes and stored foodstuffs. However, adult moths are almost harmless. It is their larvae that chew into fabric and stored goods.
So how do moths get into apartments? Usually, they’ll fly in by themselves. However, it is also possible for you to bring them inside unintentionally.
This article will take a closer look at this topic with an aim of giving you some insight into the behavior of moths. This will help you deal with them more easily. It will also shed light on everything you need to know about these insects, including their different types and their dietary and habitat behaviors.
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Moths are insects belonging to the same order as butterflies. Typically, butterflies are larger and have patterned wings, while moths are smaller in size with drab-colored wings. Also, while butterflies are active during the day, moths are nocturnal.
Moths exist in thousands of species but only a few common ones infest homes, like the clothes moth or the pantry moth. The clothes moths destroy fabric when they lay eggs in them. Pantry moths feed on the dry food you keep stored in the pantry, usually if they are not sealed in airtight containers.
Either way, failure to control moth infestations by any of the two species could cause a lot of damage to your property. Dealing with these pests will need some understanding of their behavior, for it to be effective.
How do moths get into your house?
Commonly, moths are known to be drawn to sources of bright light. Leaving lights on, especially at night, will make moths fly into your house through openings like windows, doors, or any other open gaps. Then. They find their way to sources of food and set up camp. Getting rid of these might not be a walk in the park, since moths lay eggs in these areas and thus continue to multiply. However, this does not occur with clothes moths, who dislike light, unlike their counterparts. They are, therefore, likely to get in during the night when it’s dark.
You should know that when you see moths flying around in your house, they either flew in on their own or you brought them in. Clothes moths will get in the form of eggs or larvae in clothes, while pantry moths will find entry via infested foodstuffs, especially the dry ones like cereals and grains.
Another way of moths gaining access to your home could be the items you allow to get into the house, such as clothes and groceries. Clothes moths will get in using infested clothes, which could be having larvae or eggs on it. Pantry moth hitch rides from infested food, especially dry goods like cereals and grains. They also eat foodstuffs like chocolate, bread, pasta, and flour.
How to get rid of moths
If you already have a moth problem, you might want to look at the following ways of getting rid of them:
- Fill the house with cedar – The pheromones in cedar are repulsive to moths, as well as other pests. Make a solution of cedar and water, then spray it around infested areas of your house, to keep the insects away. You can also replace the regular hangers in your house with those made of cedar.
- Herbs – Get dried, crushed, and ground herbs, and mix these in a bag. Some herbs you can use include lavender, cloves, rosemary, bay leaves, and thyme: moths hate the smell of these. Hang the bag anywhere you normally store your food or clothes. You can also get essential oils of these herbs, make a solution, then spray them onto your belongings and clothes.
- Sticky trap – Make a trap and cover it with pheromones to attract the moths, and they will get stuck. They will not be able to escape, and will eventually die from lack of food and moisture.
- Dust and vacuum – Always keep your carpets, floors and moldings properly dusted and vacuumed. Use eco-friendly cleaners that will keep your home dust and dirt-free. Dust and dirt commonly draw moths into the house. always empty vacuum contents regularly to prevent the eggs and larvae from developing. This is also recommended to create space in your vacuum for your next clean-up.
- Iron clothes – Ironing your clothes will make them less desirable to moths. Plus, the heat will kill any eggs or larvae that may be hiding in the folds, preventing future infestations in the process.
- Freeze infested items – Gather all infested clothes and belongings and keep them in very low temperatures for not less than 24 hours. This ensures larvae are killed off, since they cannot survive in such temperatures.
- Wash infested clothes – All clothes containing eggs and larvae need to be washed in hot water and, if possible, dried in high heat, since they are killed off in very high temperatures. Clothes that cannot be washed or dried in hot temperatures should be frozen for a day to eliminate eggs and larvae.
- Vinegar – Areas in which you have found eggs or larvae need to be washed and scrubbed thoroughly with a solution of vinegar.
- Insecticides – You can get these at your local hardware store at affordable prices.
If your moth problem proves difficult to control, consider calling pest control services. They will usually have more effective methods of moth-removal than any of the ones you might attempt on your own.
How to prevent moths
Take a look at the following tips that can come in handy if you want to prevent moths from accessing your belongings:
- Brush wool or fur clothes after wearing them outside – It is very easy for moth eggs to get into your closet by attaching themselves to these types of clothes material. Therefore, regularly scraping or brushing them off is a good way of ensuring moth larvae do not gain access to your home.
- Wash clothes and belongings before storing them – Do not keep dirty clothes in wardrobes and closets, as this will only increase the risk of infestation. If possible, air-dry them in the sun, to ensure eggs or larvae are rinsed out or killed off, preventing them from maturing in storage.
- Store clothes and belongings in airtight containers – Get enough containers that are easily sealed, and use these to keep your stuff, so that moths don’t get in and lay eggs. Materials like wools and suits need to be stored in zipped bags that are airtight, not exposes to the air. Do this especially about clothes you don’t plan on wearing for a while. Also, when getting groceries, do not accept to buy packages that are tampered with, as they may have been infested by moths.
- Cover openings – Moths can gain entry to your home via cracks and crevices, and this is why you need to cover them up. You can also spray solutions from essential oils or vinegar into these cracks, just in case there were hidden breeding grounds for moth larvae, to drive them away.
- Keep storage areas dry – Moths flourish in damp and humid environments, so you need to avoid storing your clothes and belongings in areas like garages, basements, and sheds. Avoid areas that are prone to be exposed to weather change, too. Keep your belongings and clothes in closets, rooms, or the attic.
When moths are in their larval stage, they can be insatiable eaters. They have powerful chewing organs that they use to eat into anything they find, including fabric, fur, hair, furniture, and dust.
Mothballs can be quite effective as moth deterrents. These small balls of deodorant and pesticides eliminate them and prevent re-infestation. You can place them inside your closets for them to work. However, mothballs can be toxic to human beings and pets when inhaled, and leave a strong scent on clothes and in the closet. Some chemicals in mothballs have some health effects like nausea, headaches, coughing, and irritation of the nose and the eyes. To avoid this, you can use healthier alternatives such as essential oils and herbs such as rosemary and thyme.
When you have a serious moth problem in your house, they will spoil stored food with their waste and leftover cocoons. This then gives other pests like fungi and mites a source of food and, consequently, a source of germs. If humans come into contact with infested food and fabric, they will get an allergic reaction. This is also the same for pets like dogs and cats. Furthermore, when you consume infested food, you are at a risk of contracting intestinal diseases.
Moth larvae are also dangerous and contact with them can even cause itchy skin, scaly skin, blisters, irritations like those of eczema, rashes, and swelling.