Moths can be a nuisance in your home as their larvae eat fabric such as clothes and blankets made from natural fibers like wool or silk or they infest your food products depending upon the type. By the time you see moths in your home, it usually means that they have already found something they like to eat. Fortunately, their feeding choices are rather limited and you can usually find where they are feeding rather quickly.
Moths that are found in a home are generally one of two basic kinds; either a food eating moth or a fabric eating moth. A food eating moth, which is the most common, will most likely be found in your pantry. A fabric eating moth will most likely be found in your closet.
Food eating moths can generally be found in a pantry, kitchen cabinets, near pet food, or near a garbage can. They especially like to eat various grains, cereals, flour, pastas, powdered milk, bird seed, and other similar foods. These foods are much more likely to attract moths if they are not stored in air-tight containers.
Moth eggs are laid in or near these foods. The eggs will develop into larvae which will start eating the food. In their immature stages, they will likely blend into the food that they have infested and can be difficult to detect.
Indian Meal Moths are the most common type of food moth, they are also sometimes referred to as the North American High-Flyer. It is also the most destructive. The larvae are often referred to as “waxworms”, and these moths are also sometimes called flour moths or pantry moths. A female Indian Meal Moth can lay up to 300 eggs at one time making an infestation spread quickly. As adults, they grow to be about half an inch long.
Noticing holes in your fabric may indicated an infestation from Fabric moths which include species like the Webbing Moth and the Casemaking Moth. Both of these moths are only about one fourth of an inch long, and do not like to be seen, and rarely are.
They are less likely to eat mixed materials containing artificial fibers. There are some reports that they can be repelled by the scent of wood from juniper and cedar, by lavender, or by other natural oils. However, many consider this unlikely to prevent infestation. The chemical Naphthalene (which is the chemical used in mothballs) is considered more effective, but there are concerns over its effects on the health of human beings.