As adults, moths are harmless flying insects. They can be fun to watch as they fly around light bulbs around your home.
However, before they reach this stage, the eggs and larvae are a considerable threat. As the weather warms, you can find the larvae hidden away in closets nestled among your clothes.
The problem here is they can ruin your clothes in no time; moths love to munch their way through anything they crawl.
When you take out clothes or other items from your closet and see a gaping hole, this is the work of the moth larvae.
Here, we will look at the different kinds of moths and how to prevent a moth infestation in your closet. Getting rid of moths naturally isn’t as hard as you think.
What Kind of Moths Do I Have?
You can find several types of moths in your home, although some are more common than others are. You may also be wondering what do moths eat. This can also vary by type, as you can see here. Here are a few you may encounter.
Brown House Moths: One of the most common. Wings are a golden, bronzy color with black spots.
Adults measure between 8 and 18mm in length. The active larvae feed on rice, flour, potatoes, oatmeal. However, they are fond of eating their way through clothing, carpets, or anything that contains wool.
Pantry Moths: Being another common moth, pantry moths like foods that have been stored. Foods high on their menu are dry goods like spices, pasta, and cereals. The pantry moth will lay their eggs wherever it can get into these foods. Once they hatch, the larvae carry on consuming the foods.
Clothes and Carpet Moths: When you try to find the worst kind of moth. This group contains two varieties: the Webbing clothes moth (Tineola Bisselliella) and the casemaking clothes moth.
Both of these are less than an inch in length. If you ever wonder, “do moths eat clothes,” then these will quickly answer your question. You will never know you have these moths in your home until you find damage to your clothes, carpets or bedding.
Spotting a webbing clothes moth can be hard as they hide under baseboards, in furniture or under carpets and rugs.
Case-making clothes moths spin protective cases, which are the same as the fibers they consume. Because of this, it can make these closet moths almost impossible to spot when they are on your clothes.
How Long Do Moths Live?
The life cycle of a moth will vary on the type and other influences. Clothing moths in perfect conditions can live as long as a year. However, they rarely reach this stage and do only spend a couple of months as adults.
It is the earlier stages where the eggs or larvae are already in clothes and fabrics that are the concern.
Females can die soon after they have laid their moth eggs, and from then it is just over a week before the eggs hatch, and the hungry larvae begin eating everything, especially animal-based fabrics.
Preventing Moths Infesting Your Clothing
- Moths are attracted to sweat, body odors, oils, and hair of humans on clothing. If you wear anything made from natural fibers, a clothes moth will target these first. Materials, which fall into this, are silks, wools, furs, and feathers.
- It is vital to wash your clothes before you put them in storage, or into your closet. If you are storing them for long periods, then wash or dry clean, and then place them in a vacuum bag.
- Plastic storage of any kind is preferable to cardboard. Airtight containers will prevent moths from getting to your clothes in your storage areas.
- If you have carpets or rugs, vacuum regularly as moth eggs can be laid in carpet fibers.
- Make sure your closets have plenty of ventilation. This can help prevent a moth problem because moths naturally head toward warm and humid spaces.
- If you have natural fiber clothing, dry clean these, and then hang these on cedar hangers and add cedar chips wrapped in cloth into the pockets. You can hang in garment bags for further protection, and repel moths from your valuable clothes.
How to Get Rid of Clothes Moths from Your Closets
If you find you have an infestation in your closets, you will want to learn how to get rid of moths. Here are some ways to get rid of moths.
- Wash clothes that show signs of moth holes, or you can see their eggs or possibly larvae. Hot water will kill these. You can place clothes in the freezer, yet they will still require washing after.
- Wipe down all your closets with a water and vinegar solution. It will smell, but this will vanish once it dries. Be careful if wiping down wooden surfaces on old furniture.
- Make a homemade repellent. This can be an effective way, yet it won’t kill moths. Take a small cloth bag and add some dried lavender, cloves, thyme, and rosemary. You can hang these in your closet, or add them into drawers.
- Purchase natural moth sprays
- You can call a local pest control company to get rid of clothes moths quickly.
- If you have clothes or fabrics that are full of moth holes, then throw these out. They may be beyond use and can still contain unhatched eggs.
As the last step, to getting rid of clothing moths. You can purchase moth traps, or you can make your own using fish oil. You will find these are often the last resort.
The traps resemble flypaper and will have thick adhesive on them. They can be useful, but you do need to place these in prime positions.
Some come with pheromones, which attract the males, but by the time you catch them, it may be too late, and the females are ready to lay their eggs.
Use all the above, and you will find prevention is better than the cure.
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