Moths are a close relative of butterflies and are flying insects. Unlike their colorful siblings, these insects are brown, grey, white, or black in color. Moths vary from butterflies in that they are known to rest by maintaining a flat wing position.
Although moths may appear to be small, they have the power to seriously harm a lot of the textiles and clothing in your home. There are many different types of moths, but only a few of these are typical in most homes.
In this article, we will present the various types of house moths you are likely to come across in your home and what they feed on to help you with your household moth identification.
Types of House Moths
Although the species of moths in each category have similar appetites, they vary slightly in terms of behavior, appearance, and lifespan (between 30 and 45 days). Interested in some moth facts, figures, and statistics? Click here!
The two categories we’re talking about with household moth identification are:
- Pantry moths
- Clothes moths
A Pantry Moth is discovered in the pantry, as you might have guessed. Anywhere that unprotected grains are present, such as in rice, cereal, dry pet food, crackers, and similar products, they flourish. They might even go after chocolate, dried fruit, spices, and nuts.
Typically, you may observe pantry moth larvae moving around within flour bags or other containers, leaving behind silken webbing and waste. This method is proven for killing moth larvae.
There are four prevalent pantry moth species to watch out for:
- Brown house moth
- Indian meal moth
- Mediterranean pantry moth
- White-shouldered house moth
Brown House Moth
It is believed that Asia is where the Brown House Moth (Hofmannophila pseudopretella) first appeared. Brown House moths can be found all over the house and are classified as pantry moths. An adult Brown House Moth is 8–14 mm in length and 15–26 mm in width.
Typically, the body and wings are a variety of brown hues with darker markings. The clothing, rugs, and pantry may all contain larvae. A 6mm long larva has a light brown head and an off-white body. They eat flour, rice, oats, potatoes, bread, dried food, and even natural fibers used to make garments and other fabrics.
Indian Meal Moth
The Indian Meal Moth (Plodia interpunctella), often known as Flour Moths or Pantry Moths, is a popular house moth that has to be identified. These moths stand out from the crowd thanks to their small head, bronze shoulders, light brown patch on the top body, and the darker, slightly fringed ends of the two-toned wings.
Indian meal moth adults are between 8 and 10 mm in length and 16 to 20 mm in width. The larva’s body is cream in color and its head is brownish.
Meal moths will deposit their eggs wherever they can find unguarded cereal, dried fruits, vegetables, bread, flour, pasta, rice, nuts, and even chocolate! Adult meal moths like dark, chilly environments.
The presence of larvae crawling inside food or the discovery of food tethered by webbing are indicators of an Indian Meal Moth infestation.
Mediterranean Pantry Moth
A moth that causes enormous damage is the Mediterranean Flour Moth, so protect your flour. Despite the fact that these moths prefer to feed on flour, they will also deposit their eggs next to cereal, dried grains, bran, and oatmeal.
The larval’s silken webbing, which allows the food source and the moth larvae to clump together, makes it easy to spot an infestation. The gray Mediterranean Pantry Moths have black zigzags on their wings and off-white hind legs. These moths are around 23mm long when completely mature.
Additionally, they have a resting position in which their forelegs are raised above their heads, sloping their bodies. Not another pantry moth can do this. Larvae have a black head and can be white or somewhat pink in color. On the body of some are black spots.
White-Shouldered House Moth
The White Shouldered House Moth (Endrosis sarcitrella), which is drawn to light, can be seen fluttering around light fixtures in homes, factories, and other structures.
Since the larvae are omnivorous, warmer climates and central heating will keep adult moths active all year long. On a food supply that will be suitable for their larvae, these moths will lay their eggs.
Consider fibers made of proteins like wool, fur, feathers, leather, and suede. They also consume everything that contains grains, including oatmeal, dry beans, dried peas, bran cereal, flour, and seeds.
The white head and white patch on the upper shoulders serve as the identifying characteristics of White Shouldered House Moths. Long brown antennae, light brown wings with some fringe, and darker mottling are also all features of this species.
The wings’ tips likewise have a tapered shape. The wingspan of adults ranges from 10 to 25 mm, with females being longer than males at 6.3 to 10.5 mm. Their larvae have cream bodies and redheads.
Clothes moths prey on protein-based textiles including furs, silk, wool, and linen, as opposed to pantry moths. These moths can be found in dark, quiet places like your attic, closets, or basement.
Common signs of a clothes moth infestation are:
- Clothing holes
- The excrement looks like little sand grains.
- Long, cylindrical silk casings that occasionally contain larvae
- Silken strands/webbing
Case-Bearing Clothes Moth
The Case-Bearing Clothes Moth (Tinea Pellionella), which is more uncommon than the Webbing Clothes Moth, has a larva that builds a tube out of food scraps and silk fibers around itself that sticks to its body as they consume.
If you look closely, the tube may resemble a grain of rice, but one end will have the brownish-red head of a larva sticking out. Adult Case-Bearing Clothes Moths are 6-7mm long, darker than normal clothes moths, and have three dots on each wing.
Webbing Clothes Moth
The Webbing Clothes Moth (Tineola bisselliella), often known as a common clothes moth, is one of the most frequent and harmful in this list. These are tiny moths, maturing to a length of approximately 6–7 mm.
They frequently crawl rather than fly and are distinguished by white antennae, a fuzzy brown head, and fringed white wings. The lengthier, 10mm-long larvae infest a variety of natural fiber-based products, including your knitwear, carpets, rugs, and other textiles.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
What type of moths are in my house?
Pantry moths and clothes moths are the most likely suspects when your home has a moth infestation. These moths come in a variety of species, such as the most commonly found brown house moth and the Indian meal moth.
How do I know what kind of moth I have?
The location of the moth is the best indicator of the kind of moth you have. It’s probably a clothing moth if it’s flying about in your closets. The moth you discover is probably an Indian meal moth if it is clinging to a pantry wall.
What causes moths in the house?
Pantry moths can infiltrate houses through eggs left in foods like flour, cereal, beans, and dried fruit. Clothes moths can enter homes by hiding out in clothing, furniture, or household items acquired from thrift stores, yard sales, or consignment shops.
How do you get rid of house moths?
Fill your home with cedar, use a sticky trap, keep your floors, carpets, and moldings vacuumed and dusted, freeze any clothes or belongings that show signs of moths, and wash clothes that contain larvae or eggs are all but a few techniques to get rid of house moths.