Why Are They a Problem?
Although moths are not a particular health problem for humans or pets, the larvae can cause damage to stored dry foods and clothes in the home. Moths can be a problem in the garden, because the caterpillars can destroy whole trees and sometimes forests. Some nest in trees or other outdoor hiding places such as fences, firewood, outdoor furniture, swing sets, boats, trailers and under the eaves of buildings.
Moths hatch from eggs and spend most of their lives in the immature stage as larvae (caterpillars) before forming cocoons from which they emerge as winged insects (it’s interesting to note that while all moths have wings, not all of them can fly). During the larval stage, moths eat voraciously, and this is the problem stage.
How to Prevent Invasions & Infestations
- Thoroughly clean winter clothes and woolens before storing, as moths will feed on sweat and food-stained fabrics.
- Inside the home, all food (especially dry goods) should be stored in airtight or plastic containers, to prevent moths from finding it to lay their eggs in.
- If moths or larvae are found, dispose of all food that shows evidence of moths or caterpillars. Also clean the inside of the cupboard with a bleach or ammonia cleanser.
- Outdoor hiding places should be investigated, and when an egg mass is found, it should be scraped off with a knife and dropped in a bucket filled with a mixture of hot water and household bleach or ammonia.
- Lawn furniture and outdoor toys should be removed from the base of trees in order to remove the shady hiding places from larva in the tree.
After you track the problem to the source, (moth larvae should be found in either clothes or stored food) throw the food away and vacuum the clothes, then wash them in hot water. If you still see moths, you may wish to use an insect control product.