Unlike butterflies that fly during the day, moths are nocturnal. Resting when the sun is out and active when it is dark, moths are frequent visitors of streetlamps and porch lights across the U.S. While the life cycle of moths naturally occurs outdoors, sometimes the outdoors comes inside. This can lead to constant moth findings in the house.
Moths fluttering around your home on a regular basis are not an indication that there is a growing moth population within the home. In most instances, moths enter through open doors and windows during their normal evening flight patterns. Since moths are attracted to bright light, dimming evening porch lighting and closing the door quickly after entering and exiting the home can help. Screening open windows on hot summer nights is another way to keep moths outdoors where they belong.
The Food Connection
Continuous moth sightings within the home despite measures to keep them outside may mean that they have made a home indoors, although inadvertently. Indian meal moths enter homes through bird seed, pet food, grains, rice and dried vegetables and fruits. Moth larvae hatch from eggs laid on the dried foods, resulting in repeated infestations. The presence of tiny white worms inside the food bags is a sure sign that Indian meal moths are laying eggs, which are hatching inside the food bags.
Clothing moths usually enter the home via wools and furs imported to the U.S. The eggs and larvae of these moths often go undetected, hatching in closets and drawers. Because clothing moths favor dark, undisturbed locations, clothing moths often remain unseen, nibbling away on sweaters and blankets tucked away in closets and chests. Clothing moths also hide in fabrics and clothes stashed away in attics and basements remaining undiscovered until their damage becomes visible.
The best way to prevent Indian moth infestations is to store food in airtight containers. Vacuuming cabinets and removing crumbs once a month will also help. Freezing moth-contaminated food for three to four days kills larvae and eggs. Reducing and eliminating clothing moths is a bit more difficult than Indian meal moths. For these intruders, insecticides are an option. Placing PDB (paradichlorobenzene) moth balls or DDVP (dichlorvos) insecticide strips in the affected area controls moth problems.
- Colorado State University: Clothes Moths: Identification and Control in the Home; W. Cranshaw; May 2010
- University of Illinois Extension: Little Moths Flying All Over the House?; Bruce Spangenberg; December 2003
- University of Kentucky: Fabric Insect Pests: Clothes Moths and Carpet Beetles...; Bette Jo Dedic, et al
- Photo Credit David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images
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