• Moth Control and Removal

    Pest Control – Moths

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  • There are approximately 160,000 species of moths in the world, with 2,500 in the UK, but there are only three particularly annoying species of moth that commonly make a pest of themselves in our homes. These are ‘The Clothes Moth’, ‘The House Moth’ and ‘The White-Shouldered House Moth’.

    These three pests can cause countless damage to carpets, clothes, soft furnishings and bedding. The adult moths don’t actually do much of the harm, because they only live a short time, but their offspring, the larvae can be particularly destructive and they live as long as six months. Moths go through four stages in their life; they begin as an egg, hatch into larvae, develop into pupa and emerge as a fully grown adult moth. The larvae are also commonly referred to as caterpillars or grubs.

    ‘The Clothes Moth’ is small and a pale straw colour. The Clothes Moth doesn’t actually fly very often, it moves around by running or sometimes giving a little jump. The Clothes Moth tends to lay its eggs among fibres or scattered randomly, it gradually lays up to 160 eggs over a period of two or three weeks. Between 4 and 10 days later white translucent larvae appear which grow to 10mm with a dark head. Stained and soiled materials are actually a very attractive site for moths to lay their eggs.

    ‘The House Moth’ is dark brown and mottled and it tends to spend its time near to food supplies, in the kitchen, food pantries and cupboards.

    ‘The White Shouldered House Moth’ has a white head and shoulders and a pale beige body. It is attracted to dust and debris under carpets, but doesn’t tend to feed on fabrics.

    A home infestation of moths very often includes a mixture of both ‘The House Moth’ and ‘The White Shouldered House Moth’. ‘The House Moth’ lays its eggs on rough open surfaces such as wooden beams and it lays as many as 650 eggs at a time. The larvae of ‘The Brown House Moth’ are glossy white and 16mm in length. ‘The White Shouldered House Moth’ lays its very sticky eggs in crevices and its larvae are usually dull and shorter at 14mm.

    The female moth lays her eggs in fibers or foodstuffs, the area she lays the eggs, will actually become the first food for the larvae which hatches from the eggs. When the larva hatches it produces webbing and frass which it uses to tunnel into the fibers or food so it can eat in comfort and build a pupa around itself.

    One of the biggest problems with a moth infestation is the by-products produced by the larvae; this includes ‘webbing’ and ‘frass’, which can cause a lot of mess and contamination. Webbing is icky and can coat entire areas; it has also been known to block ducts and machinery. Frass is fine powdery material excreted from the larvae after eating. It is like gravelly sand which gets mixed in and contaminates food and other household products.

    You can help prevent an outbreak of moths in your home with regular vacuuming of your carpets and upholstery. You should also regularly wash your clothing and having older clothes or blankets dry cleaned once in a while is also a good preventative measure. If you store your woolen clothes for winter, you should ensure they are carefully sealed in plastic or vacuum packed bags.

    You should keep all foodstuffs stored in air-tight containers and cupboards should regularly be cleaned out.

    Although adult moths are attracted to bright lights, the moth larvae cannot actually survive under bright lights so it is a good idea to air your stored clothes, sheets and blankets on a regular basis. Just take them outside on a sunny day and give them a good shake before folding up and putting away again.

    On sale in your local hardware stores or on the Internet, you will find a selection of residual insecticides, which offer good protection against moths, these include; DIY fumigation products, cypermethrin-based preparations and a variety of organic treatments. These can be applied to carpets every six months or so. Traditionally Moth Balls were the product of choice, these were small round balls made of pesticide and deodorant, which were placed in with clothes or bedding in storage, to deter moths from making a home there. Nowadays aromatic red cedar wood is becoming a popular choice because it smells delightful and it is anicer alternative to moth-balls.

    Another modern alternative is the use of a specially designed trap to attract male moths by luring them onto a sticky pad which supposedly has the scent of breeding females.

    If you do have an infestation of Moths in your home, it is highly recommended that you seek professional help to eradicate them, to prevent damage to your property and contamination to your food.

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