Are you the victim of a moth infestation, and are struggling to get rid of those damned insects? We’ve managed to accumulate enough advice to aid the prevention of moths entering your homes, and eating away at your precious fabrics, and furnishings. Here’s how to fight a moth infestation.
Where do Moths Come From?
Moths are very likely to come into your home through open doors and windows than they are to fly in through the gaps of your carpet. This is because moths have a strong sense of smell, which helps them mate and find food. If you have an open window, with light streaming from the hall, the moths will instantly become attracted to the light coming from inside your home, following it, and making it more likely for them to enter, without planning to leave any time soon!
You can also carry moths into your home, through clothes, soft furnishings and other items that you bring back from trips or shopping trips. It’s always a good idea to shake out any clothes that aren’t packaged before entering your home so as not to attract or entertain any unwanted guests.
Lifecycle of a Moth
Moths prefer dark, quiet places where they can eat, mate and reproduce. This means that they’re most likely to be found in your closet or other areas of the house that are typically left unused for long periods, such as attics and basements. The lifecycle of a moth begins as follows: After hatching from their eggs, the larvae seek out an immediate food source.
The larvae then dine on anything from carpets to the garments in your room until they transform into moths. The female moth lays her eggs in a cluster that resembles cotton; this is why clothes moths are sometimes called wool moths. Once these eggs hatch, the cycle begins again.
The entirety of a moth’s life cycle is normally from four to six months, but with the right conditions (food and heat), these insects can remain in their larval stage for more than two years! Due to this longevity, eliminating an infestation won’t be as simple as you’d hope.
Signs of Moth Infestation
The signs of moth infestation are not always apparent. It is important to know what to look out for before you start preparing for the war against clothes moths. You may notice:
- Fuzzy lumps, like tiny balls of cotton wool – this can be the cocoon stage of the insect’s life cycle, which occurs when they have finished feeding on fabric and are preparing to pupate into adults
- Furrows, silky tunnels or trenches found on wool products including clothing blankets and rugs
- Excessive shedding from furs
- Patches of damage to wool rugs, particularly in little-used areas of the rug
How to Prevent Moths Infesting Your Clothes?
Moths are drawn to your clothes because of the remnants of human sweat, hair, and body oil clinging to them. It’s therefore important to wash your clothes before storing them away for a long period. You should also avoid storing unwashed clothing in cardboard boxes as moths can chew through them. Instead, store your clothes in an airtight bag or plastic container.
You should also keep your wardrobe ventilated so that moths aren’t attracted to warm and humid spaces; keeping a door open will help increase airflow around your wardrobe. Finally, hanging some cedar hangers next to each other inside the closet can help repel any moths that may have snuck into it during the warmer months, which is also when they’re more prevalent outside than they are in winter (they avoid flying during the colder months).
Tips for Getting Rid of Moths
Here are some strategies for removing adult moths as well as a larvae infestation from your home:
- Moth Traps
- Cedar Oil
- White Vinegar
- Extreme Cold
- Extreme Heat
- Storing Clothes Effectively
- Pest Control
Vacuuming is one of the easiest and most effective ways to kill adult moths. As you vacuum, pay special attention to cracks and crevices where moths are very likely to hide. It’s also important to empty your vacuum cleaner soon after cleaning so that any eggs or larvae are removed from your home as early as possible.
Moth traps are an effective and easy way to get rid of moths and prevent them from reproducing. Moth traps consist of a piece of sticky flypaper covered with pheromones (moth hormones) that attract adult moths. The paper traps are hung in places where these pests are most likely to be found – inside closets or kitchen storage areas, for example.
Moths tend to land on the paper trap because it mimics the scent of a female moth’s eggs, but the sticky surface prevents them from getting free and eventually kills them. You should replace your moth trap every two weeks or so, as this will ensure that you aren’t wasting any time waiting for a new batch of flying insects.
Cedarwood is another good option for deterring moths. Cedarwood contains a fragrant oil that helps repel moths, and hangers made from this wood can help deter them from clothing. The wood should be lightly sanded or recoated in cedar oil every few months to renew its pesticidal properties.
Consider using cedar oil. The pleasant fragrance of cedar furniture can also help repel moths, but the scent does wear off over time. If you’re looking for a more permanent solution, try adding a few drops of cedar oil to a diffuser or dilute it in water and use the mixture as a room spray.
You can also try using herbs as a natural moth repellent. Several fragrant herbs may help repel moths, including rosemary, thyme, cloves, lavender and bay leaves. Try placing the herbs in a small cloth bag and hanging it in the closet. You can also dilute the essential oils of these herbs by putting about 10 drops into two cups of water and lightly spraying the inside of the closet with this mixture. Be sure to avoid getting any of these oils on clothing, as they could stain!
While you may think of white vinegar as a cooking ingredient, it’s also an excellent natural cleaning agent. The acetic acid content in the vinegar changes the pH levels of the surfaces that it touches. Moth eggs and larvae exposed to this environment will quickly die off. While white vinegar is less toxic than other commercial pesticides, if you happen to have children or pets in your home, take care when using it, since its acidity could damage certain surfaces like metals and stone countertops. Moreover, if you use any hardwood flooring such as oak floors or cedar wood flooring, do not use white vinegar to get rid of moths because it could damage these types of materials over time.
The next time you come across a moth infestation in your clothes, try freezing any items that have been damaged. You can also put them inside ziplock bags and freeze them for 24 hours. This will effectively kill all the eggs and larvae of moths, thereby preventing them from multiplying further. The cold temperatures will also help you get rid of any remaining adult moths that are stubbornly hanging around your house or office.
The good news is that moth eggs and larvae cannot survive in extremely hot temperatures. So if you have the time to wash and dry your clothes at the highest possible temperature settings, you can kill off any moths that may be breeding inside them, preventing excessive moth damage to your clothes. Make sure to check clothing labels to make sure that it is safe to wash and dry the clothes at high temperatures.
If you don’t have time for all of these steps but are desperate for relief from an infestation, there is one more thing you can do: take your clothing to a dry cleaner. Dry cleaning has the same protective effect as machine washing because both methods use extreme heat (around 200 degrees Fahrenheit) in order to sanitise items completely and kill any insects or larvae found inside of them.
Storing Clothes Effectively
You can also try to avoid a moth problem by storing clothes effectively. It’s important that you carefully seal any clothes that will not be regularly worn in airtight bags, such as vacuum-seal storage bags. This will prevent moths from laying their eggs on the clothing and eating through the fabric, inevitably damaging your clothes. In addition, try to keep the closet cool, dry, and well-ventilated because moths prefer dark places with high humidity levels. Regularly inspecting your closet for signs of an infestation is also important; if you find any damage or holes in items of clothing and linens, throw them away immediately.
In some cases, home strategies are not enough to keep a moth infestation at bay. If you have tried everything and the months continue to return, consider hiring a pest control company. These professionals have access to products that can help eliminate moth problems as well as moth nests more effectively than home treatments alone. They also know how to identify where the infestation is coming from so that they can treat it effectively.
When you notice moths in your home, it can be very alarming. You may have heard that they are attracted to clothes and food. However, the good news is that they do not feed on people or animals, nor do they carry bacteria or viruses.
Moths usually lay their eggs in fabrics like wool, fur and silk which hatch into larvae and eventually become adult moths. They may also live on food sources in your pantry such as grains or cereals. The sooner you eliminate these pests and their nesting areas, the better!
How do you get rid of clothes moths fast?
There are some simple methods of getting rid of clothes moths: Cleaning with a disinfectant like white vinegar will kills moths, vacuuming picks up any eggs and larvae.
Can you ever get rid of clothes moths?
Vacuuming and cleaning often, can get rid of clothes moths, as well as getting rid of the insects hiding in your carpets.
How do I get rid of clothes moths in my house?
You can use a formulated clothes Moth Killer spray to kill moths, eggs and larvae.