You’ve probably seen moths flying around your home at one time or another. These winged insects can accidentally make their way inside your house, and once there, they can become real pests.
Properly storing at-risk items in your home is a good line of defense against clothes moths and pantry moths. Sometimes, though, you may need a little extra help. If that’s the case, the pest control specialists at Terminix® can perform an inspection of your home and provide treatment recommendations to help control your moth problem. Get your free pest estimate today.
Learn more about the different species of moths you may find in your home, why they can be pests and how you can help control them.
While generally harmless, clothes moths can be a nuisance. They can digest animal hair and feed on items made of natural fibers, including wool and cashmere clothing. Unfortunately, this means they can damage some of the more expensive items in your closet. These moths are small, about three-eighths of an inch in length, and cream in color.
You can help prevent moth damage to your belongings by properly storing clothing in boxes or plastic bags.
Related: Where Do Clothes Moths Come From?
Other species of moths feed on items commonly found in your kitchen and are known as pantry moths. These include Indian meal moths and Mediterranean flour moths. If you find a moth in your kitchen, chances are good it belongs to one of these two species.
Indian meal moths – These moths are roughly five-eighths of an inch in length and have a wingspan of about three-fourths of an inch. Their wings are reddish brown on the edges and gray in the center.
They get their name from their habit of feeding on grains. They actually live in stored food products, including grains, seeds, dried fruit, pet food and spices, and they can find their way into your home inside these items.
Indian meal moths can contaminate foods stored in your kitchen. Once they find a suitable location to take up residence, the adults lay eggs, which develop into larvae. The larvae feed on stored food items and can spin silk, which contaminates the items as well.
Proper food storage is critical to helping to control Indian meal moths. Keep your foods in tightly sealed containers and inspect new items for small white worms, which may be meal moth larvae.
Mediterranean flour moths – Mediterranean flour moths are about five-eighths of an inch in length and have pale gray wings with black wavy lines on them. As their name implies, these moths are pests of flour and may be found in homes, mills, warehouses, supermarkets and even restaurants.
In addition to flour, these moths may also infest foods like nuts, chocolate, seeds, beans, biscuits and dried fruit. Female Mediterranean flour moths can lay their eggs in virtually any type of food material, contaminating the item.
As with Indian meal moths, proper food storage and sanitation are key in helping to control Mediterranean flour moths. You should properly dispose of any contaminated items in an outdoor trash can.