During the summer, moths are infamous for flying aimlessly near your front entrance light. They are contemplating whether to be close to or far from the lighting as their dusty wings flutter. Have you ever wondered what do moths eat while observing their erratic behavior?
While there are few exceptions, moths mostly consume liquids from rotting food, sap, and floral nectar. Some adult moths spend time obtaining their fluids from mud and moist sand because they do not even have much of an appetite.
It’s a widespread myth that moths gorge themselves on clothing. In actuality, when they are in the larval stage, they do the majority of their harm. Larvae of clothes moths consume virtually all types of plant and animal fibers. In this article, we’ll present all the relevant information on what moths eat.
- Adult moths lack the necessary mouthparts to consume the lint from your clothing
- It’s larvae that do the damage and eats away at most things in your household
- Clothes moth larvae get their sustenance from eating keratin, the protein in animal-based fibers
- Keratin is found in garments made from animals (cashmere, wool, silk, feathers, and fur)
- Natural fibers found in clothing, carpet, draperies, upholstery, and bedding are consumed by both varieties of house moths
- Pantry moths target cereal, grains, beans, nuts, flour, dried fruit, birdseed, dry animal food, spices, chocolate, and candy
What Do Moths Eat?
What spiders, ants, and other insects consume is pretty obvious, but it might be challenging to determine what foods moths like to consume. All you really see of them is them fluttering here and there.
Moths come in various species, and the majority of them ingest nectar from flowers that are in bloom at night. These nocturnal insects grow into adulthood with a proboscis, a tube-like device that allows them to siphon liquids from plant nectar, tree sap, animal excrement, keratin, and droppings as a food source.
You might come across a few different species nibbling on the soft cashmere and woolen clothing’s natural fibers. Two such species are the Tineola bisselliella (clothing moths) and the Tinea pellionella (case-making clothes moths).
Adult moths lack the necessary mouthparts to consume the lint from your clothing. Instead, the feeding is being done by the moth larvae’s insatiable appetite.
To grow and pupate into adult clothing moths, the larvae must have food. As a result of evolution, clothing moths have adapted to rely on the protein keratin found in garments made from animals (cashmere, wool, silk, feathers, and fur mainly).
This is why the existence of clothes moths poses a threat to your investment wardrobe pieces, priceless home textiles, and priceless rugs and carpets. Keratin is also in human hair and shed skin cells. Household dust contains human and pet hair/skin cells so cleanliness is important.
What Do Moths Eat in Your Home?
In your home, you will typically find moths and their larvae eating away in the 3 following locations:
- Under the sofa
- In the wardrobe
- In the attic
Moths Under the Sofa
Vacuuming is frequently a short work, heavy furniture is challenging to shift, and moths like dark, quiet spaces to lay their eggs – furniture frequently rests on wool rugs or carpets making it ideal for moths.
Moths in the Wardrobe
Heavy winter gear, especially jackets and sweaters, is frequently kept folded in dresser drawers or hung in wardrobes during the summer. They frequently sit unused for several months making them attractive for moths to lay eggs since they are not always kept in airy, moth-proof garment storage bags.
Moths in the Attic
We’ve heard countless tales about grandma’s fur coat or the infamous silk Persian rug. These objects frequently sit in the dark motionless for years, which creates the ideal conditions for a significant clothing moth infestation. It might only be a matter of time before moths move into your wardrobe in pursuit of the delicious, silky cashmere!
What Do House Moths Eat?
Natural fibers found in clothing, carpet, draperies, upholstery, and bedding are consumed by both varieties of house moths. Any natural fiber—wool, silk, cotton, etc.—that they are able to locate will be consumed.
Moths will even consume pet fur or chew through synthetic fabrics to get to the natural fibers underlying if they run out of clothing fibers.
What Do Pantry Moths Eat?
The things pantry moths target include cereal, grains, beans, nuts, flour, dried fruit, birdseed, dry animal food, spices, chocolate, and candy. The most prevalent pantry moth is the Indian meal moth, but correctly recognizing your moth will help you focus your efforts.
What Materials Do Clothes Moths Eat?
Clothes moths only consume animal fibers, particularly wool, leather, silk, fur, and felt. These substances contain keratin, a fibrous protein that can be consumed by the clothing moth larvae, which resemble worms. In nature, the larvae consume bird and animal corpses and nesting materials.
What Types of Carpets and Rugs Do Moths Eat?
Carpet moths can attack any type of carpet, including those made of man-made fibers, despite the fact that they prefer natural carpets, like those made of wool.
Although nylon and polypropylene carpets may provide moths with a less appetizing diet, synthetic fibers are still the best choice for nesting and concealing their eggs.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
What do moths eat?
Moths exist in many different species, and the bulk of them consume nectar from blooming flowers at night. In order to siphon liquids from plant nectar, tree sap, animal dung, keratin, and droppings as a food source, these nocturnal insects develop a proboscis as they mature into adults.
Do moths eat cotton?
Yes, any natural fiber—wool, silk, cotton, etc.—that they can locate will be consumed. Moths will even consume pet fur or chew through synthetic fabrics to get to the natural fibers underlying if they run out of clothing fibers.