While moths are harmless to humans, a few species can stir much trouble and damage your property, especially when infestations can spread fast when undetected.
That’s why it’s important to understand what attracts these flying bugs to avoid the 6 most common kinds of harm they can cause to your home.
Read on to learn more about it below!
What are clothes moths?
Moths are members of the Lepidoptera insect family, just like their colourful cousins.
Clothes moths are flying bugs that infest garments, carpeting, and other textile products, using them as their main food source.
Unlike most of their species, they avoid light and prefer dark, undisturbed areas, such as closets and attics, crevices of upholstered furniture, and areas of carpeting covered by furniture.
The common (webbing) clothes moth (Tineola bisselliella) is one of the most aggressive species and can be found worldwide. However, one of the most important things to note about clothes moths is that mature moths do not feed on clothing, but their larvae do.
Clothes moths lay their tiny, pinhead-sized eggs on garments and other cloth materials. They are most likely to infest stored, undisturbed materials, so much damage can occur before they are discovered. The larvae emerge after a week or two, and it’s those that actually do the most harm.
Signs of having moths at home
Clothes moths and pantry moths each leave telltale signs of their habitation. Here are the signs you need to watch for.
One of the earliest things people notice they have a moth problem is when they see the damage caused to their clothes, fabrics or carpets.
However, there are also other signs of a moth infestation:
● Strange and irregularly-shaped tunnels in stored clothing.
● Do you see moths flying out of open wardrobes or cupboards? This could be a sign of serious moth invasion.
● Increased shedding of things made from animal fur.
● Silver, spider-like webs on your garments.
● Moth eggs are white in colour and often covered in a kind of webbing that keeps them stuck to the materials mentioned above. There will be many of them together in a cluster—you’ll never find just one on its own.
● The moths themselves will be crawling rather than flying.
● Tiny tubes stuck to the fabric, which is larvae casings.
What kinds of damage do moths cause?
Although thousands of moth species exist worldwide, only a handful invade homes – the most common ones being the clothes moth and the pantry moth.
If you spot even just one moth flying around your home, there’s a good chance it has already caused some damage. Even if you can’t see it yet, look carefully around your property, especially the room where adult moths tend to be. There is a good chance a nest full of eggs is hidden somewhere.
Unfortunately, moth infestations tend to happen quickly and spread just as fast. Damage ranges from irregular surface damage to large holes eaten through materials and fabrics.
It may also appear as thinner areas or holes where the larvae have grazed on the fibres. For fur items, it often exposes areas of the hide where the insects have clipped the hairs at the base.
Overall waste creation
As females can lay up to 200 eggs yearly, moth infestations tend to happen fast. This means these pests pose a real danger to your furnishings.
Whenever you notice a problem, don’t let it get out of hand, or it might cause you to throw away lots of clothes (as they can’t be repaired) and contaminated food.
The pests hide inside packaged products, which they use as a breeding site and food source for their larvae. Moth infestations may spread to contaminate entire cupboards full of food and then onto your closet and clothes.
Holes in clothes
Moths are a prime suspect when it comes to holes in your clothes, especially if they are made of natural materials like wool, silk, cashmere, etc. This makes prevention and using natural means, such as lavender oil, a must in the fight against them.
When considering the current economic situation, letting an infestation spread can quickly result in lots of waste. Most often, you will notice there’s a problem after you open the pantry.
And when you see moths have been laying eggs inside your flour, rice, and other unprotected packaged foods, it can be quite unpleasant.
Repairing or replacing damaged clothing and items can be expensive, especially if you own vintage clothes.
When the sun goes down, these flying insects flock to light sources, darting around in a messy mosh-pit of moths. They can disrupt your enjoyment outdoors, invade your homes at night, and frustratingly fly into you in a confused flurry.
How to prevent moths from infesting?
Clothes moths prevention can be a difficult job, but not impossible.
Read on to find some of the most efficient tips on moth prevention to help you deal with them swiftly.
Wash before you put it away
Moths are primarily drawn to human sweat, hair and body oil that are left on clothing, particularly those made of natural fibres. It’s important to wash clothes before you store them – especially when putting them away for a long period of time.
Brush clothing made from wool or fur after wearing the articles outside
To prevent moth eggs from infiltrating your closet and causing a full-blown infestation, you can scrape them off often. This will ensure no larvae get inside and cause real damage.
Fill your home with cedar
Cedar is a popular and efficient natural moth repellent. Get some cedarwood essential oil from your local store, create your own spray, and spread the scent to prevent moths from entering your closet.
Store clothes and belongings in airtight containers
Oh, and ensure you do not use cardboard boxes, for moths can chew through those easily and use them as a nesting area.
Keep your property as clean as possible
One other major attractants for moths are dust and dirt. So, one of the best ways to easily prevent them from your property is to clean and vacuum regularly. This includes your floors and carpets and dusting all your furniture at least monthly.
Moth eggs and larvae cannot survive in extremely cold temperatures. As such, a person can try freezing any clothes that show signs of moth damage. Seal the clothes inside a ziplock bag, and freeze them for 24 hours.
How to deal with an existing moth infestation?
On confirming that you have a moth infestation, you must act quickly to prevent the problem from worsening, which can cost a lot in the long run.
Follow these tips to quickly and efficiently get rid of moths:
● Empty the affected area and check all items.
● Determine where the heart of the problem originates from. Often it can be fairly obvious, but a thorough check is nonetheless important. Check your wardrobe, pantry, drawers or cupboard.
● Give your wardrobe a deep cleaning. Since moths love dark areas, you must be extra vigilant when storing your clothes. You must thoroughly clean the area if you see any signs of an infestation. Vacuum everywhere, and then wash with a damp cloth soaked in detergent.
● Heat treatment for moths is one of the most effective solutions, giving instant results on the same day. The heat kills moths at all lifecycle stages, including eggs, meaning all traces are eradicated.
● Get moth traps and use them to catch the adults. You can then vacuum the affected areas to ensure you get rid of their larvae.
● Clean and wash down affected areas. This includes wardrobes, cupboards and drawers, and other places you noticed the problem. Pay particular attention to cracks and crevices, for eggs might be hiding.
● Empty out your vacuum regularly: If you’ve collected the larvae in your vacuum, empty it into a bin bag outside and pop it straight into the bin.
● Use an insecticide. A wide range of insecticides on the market will target moths. Apply this to all surfaces and carpets with signs of moths and leave it to do its magic.
If the problem persists or the bugs keep reappearing after you’ve tried the above tips, it’s time to hire professional moth control specialists.
They have vast experience dealing with tough cases and will thoroughly assess your individual situation before choosing the best course of action. That will ensure the problem is solved quickly and efficiently.
Moths can be far more problematic than many people actually appreciate. Damage can be costly to repair if it’s possible to mend, and if left untreated, the infestation can spread around your home.
However, if you apply the tips mentioned above, you can easily prevent the 6 kinds of damage moth cause to your property and attain peace of mind.