All Creatures Great and Small


There are several types of moths that can become household pests. Clothes moths can damage clothing and pantry moths can infest some stored foods. Other moths that come in the house are occasional invaders and won’t do any damage.

Clothes moths (Tineidae)

There are two distinct types of clothes moths commonly found in homes. They are both small moths. The webbing clothes moth (Tineola bisselliella) is a solid golden brown on the wings, while the casemaking clothes moth (Tinea pellionella) has three black spots on each wing. Casemaking clothes moth larvae construct a small bag from material to protect their body from the environment. They drag the bag or tube wherever they feed.

Clothes moths are occasionally found in closets where they lay their eggs on suitable fabric. The larvae hatch and feed on the fabric doing damage. There are several things you can do to prevent clothes moths. First, keep clothes and other fabrics stored in sealed, plastic bags. Next you can hang some repellents in the closets. Put dried lemon peels, cedar chips, dried rosemary or mint in cheese cloth bags and hang them in the closets. Make sure any carpets in the closet are clean and free of lint or animal hair or any organic debris.

If you already have webbing clothes moths, you should hang one Clothes Moth Pheromone Trap in each closet. It will attract and catch the male moths and stop the breeding process. Don’t hang more than one trap or you will confuse the moths and they will just fly around, not sure where to go. The pheromone traps aren’t effective against casemaking clothes moths. Dry cleaning all the clothes will kill all the stages of the moths as well as washing all infested clothing in hot, soapy water to kill the larvae and eggs.

Indian meal moths (Pyralidae – Plodia interpunctella)

There are several species of pantry moths that can infest your home, but the one most frequently encountered is the Indian meal moth. This moth is small and colorful. The wings are gray toward the body and has dark bands near the tip.

They will feed on a wide variety of dried foods, including cereals, flour, cornmeal, crackers, cake mixes, pasta, dried pet foods, candy, powdered milk, chocolate candy and many other foodstuffs.

The best control is to hang one Flour Moth Pheromone Trap in the area they are infesting. This will attract and catch the male moths and stop the breeding process. Then inspect all open dried foods and toss anything that is infested. Place all non-infested foods in sealed containers or refrigerate them. Completely clean the pantry where the foods are stored to get any larvae that may be crawling around. Then lightly dust the shelves with food-grade diatomaceous earth before putting the foods back.


About askthebugman

I have been in the pest management industry for over 40 years. In that time I have used almost every pesticide available to control so-called “pests”. With this experience, I have learned over the years that the pesticides we use are far more dangerous than the pests we are trying to control. As a result, it has become a passion for me to improve the quality of life for humans and the planet, by assisting people to not only become more educated and aware of their environment – but also by learning to manage their home and business with a sustainable and healthier approach to tending to unwanted infestations of bugs. Please enjoy my blog posts, check out my publications, utilize my services, or simply stay in touch if you have a bug question…


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