Getting Rid Of Those Pesky Moths

December 11, 2019

Moths are very important creatures because of their contribution to the ecosystem. Many types of wildlife really benefit from them. They are food to many different insects and animals, who in turn, also are beneficial creatures. Lizards, frogs, toads, spiders, bats, and birds all survive because the presence of moths allows them to, with all of the abovementioned creatures feeding on moths. Aside from that, moths are aesthetically pleasing, adding to the beauty of nature.

If there are too many moths, however, they become troublesome pests. Moths are among the most common household pests in the United States.  Depending on the type of moths, they damage dried stored foods, clothes, fabrics, and carpets. Some can cause damage to walls. Repainting is futile because as long as you have moths inside the house, they will keep causing damage.

Moths pose no health risks to humans but they can be such a nuisance, unlike their fellow pests mosquitoes, roaches, flies, and mice. Still, this does not make getting rid of the less important. Aside from the nuisance factor, they can also cause economic damage to homeowners. 

If your home is plagued by these pesky moths, you may want to enlist the services of pest controllers in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Before that, let us learn more about moths in the United States. 


Moths belong to the order of  Lepidoptera, and the butterflies are their cousins since they belong to the same order. There are around 160,000 species of moths, making up most of this order. In the United States, there are 11,000 species of moths. Most of them are active only at night. They have mouthparts that are called a proboscis, which they can curl up. They use their proboscis to suck nectar.  

Moths have wings and antennae. They have scales on their wings, being the only insects to have such. Their antennae are usually feathery and threadlike, a trait that differentiates them from the butterflies. Butterflies have club-tipped antennae. Moths are known to be attracted to light, something that scientists are still puzzled about. 

Moths have been around for 190 million years now. This data was from the moth fossils that were found by scientists.

Life Cycle Of Moths

Moths undergo different stages in their lives. They undergo a complete metamorphosis.  First is the egg stage. After the eggs hatch, they enter the larva stage, also known as the caterpillar stage. At this stage of their lives, they begin to feed. The larvae are the ones that cause damage in the pantry, feeding on your stored dry foods. That is if what you have is a pantry moth. If you have clothes moths, your cabinets will be raided, and the damage will be on clothes. The next stage is the pupa, and then finally the adult stage. These adult moths would then be capable of reproducing, and the cycle begins all over again. 

Some moths do not have mouths that they can use to feed. Because of this, they only get to live just a few days as adults. They immediately die after mating. For these types of moths, mating is the only reason they exist, after all.  They live off the stored energy they got as caterpillars. The luna moth is one example of this.

Types Of Moths

Their cousins, the butterflies, are known and appreciated for their exquisite beauty.  Moths do not share the same appreciation coming from humans. Find out more about the types of moths by reading on. 

1. Meal Moth - Also known as Indian moths, or Indian meal moths, or pantry moths.  They are known to be the most troublesome among all the pests that can be found in the pantry.   They are from 8 to 10 mm in length and have a ⅝ inch wingspan. They come in gray colors while the outer linings of their wings are highlighted by a reddish-brown color. Pantry moths are considered as nuisance pests because they infest any kind of dry foodstuffs like sugar, rice, cereals, grains, nuts, flour, sugar, pasta, dog food, dried fruits, and nuts. They can chew their way inside plastic and cardboard containers. They can cause economic damage because once they attack your stored foods, these dry foods will have to be thrown away.  

Meal moths are able to get into our homes through the food packages that came from the store.  It is advisable therefore to check these packages for the presence of moths. Check for the presence of webbings, which is a sure sign that there are meal moths inside the package. If you have already bought the food and noticed moths inside only after you get home, take it back to the store. Make sure it would then be properly disposed of and not be returned to the shelf.  

Here are a few tips to get rid of pantry moths: if the dried stored foods in your pantry are infested by these pantry moths, dispose of these immediately prevent the moths from spreading.  Keep your dry foods in sealed metal containers, since meal moths can chew their way into boxes and even plastic. Clean your cupboard every week to remove any eggs that may have been there.  Remove everything on the cupboards and cabinets then wipe with a cloth. Vacuum as much as possible to remove even the eggs.  

2. Clothes Moth -  They are the type of moths that damage clothing and furniture. What attracts them to these items is the proteins found in the clothes.  They destroy clothes, sweaters, carpets, and even insulation. They typically choose clothes that are a bit dirty and wet. Clothes moths do not fly very far, so if you have clothes moths at home, they were most probably introduced by bringing in old carpets, rugs, or clothes. Clothes moths may have been living with you for years without you noticing it, then their population would suddenly boom when the time is right, such as in warmer climate.  Their numbers are said to have tripled in the last 5 years.

Signs of the presence of clothes moths include spotting little holes in your clothes. Another one is the presence of fecal matter from the clothes moths. Their feces would appear as having similar color as the fabric, which usually contains the dye of the fabric that is fed on.

Clothes moths like to hide in areas where they are out of reach and can remain undisturbed, like in dark and damp areas.  Wipe the cabinet’s surfaces using a cloth that is soaked in soapy water in order to kill the larvae. Make sure to remove your clothes from the cabinet while doing so.  Freezing your clothes can also help kill the larvae. Put your clothes in a plastic bag before freezing them. Wash or dry clean all your clothes every once in a while when it has been left unused for quite some time.   Another way to repel clothes moths is by using mothballs.   You may use pheromone-laced cardboard traps.  These can be effective in controlling the moths.  It is advisable to use this in combination with other methods.

3. The Browntail Moth - Thee are the most invasive among the moths because they can cause breathing difficulties as well as irritation on the skin upon contact. They have white, hairy bodies with a wingspan of about 40 mm. Their tails are covered with reddish-brown hairs. They have antennae that they use to detect pheromones. The males have larger antennae than those of the females. Males use their antennae to detect unmated females.  Females have larger bodies and can lay 200 to 400 eggs, usually under leaves. The adult moths can spin nests of silk which contain hairs that can cause irritation. Caterpillars and nests should be removed if found within your vicinity.  o avoid direct contact with these moths, wear rubber gloves.

4. Ermine Moth - Ermine moths are from the order Yponomeuta padella. They are small to medium-sized moths that are light in color with white wings and black markings.  Their size is about 8 to 31 mm in length with a wingspan of about 20 mm. They have smooth scales on their heads. While pantry moths and clothes moths do their damage indoors, ermine moths are more of a nuisance in the garden because they can cause extensive defoliation in garden shrubs.  They eat leaves and are leaf webbers. They can be found in different kinds of plants. They also produce silk webbing that is extensive and adds to the damage. They cause damage to crops and trees as well.  To get rid of them, you may simply handpick them or just remove the shoots that are infested.   

Effective Moth Controlling Techniques

If you long for getting rid of moths in your house or lawn, be sure to contact the trusted exterminators, the Go-Forth Pest Control. 

Go-Forth Pest Control has been in the pest control business for 60 years, earning the trust of local residents and businesses. 

To inquire, or get a free estimate, call us now! Just dial 336-841-6111. Our friendly operators are standing by.

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