Moths are a pest in homes and commercial premises because of the severe damage their larvae cause to clothes, fabrics, furs, leather and carpets. This damage may continue for many weeks after moth caterpillars have hatched. Serious harm may have been done before numbers of flying moths are seen and so prevention of a moth problem is important. Homes and premises with expensive animal fibre carpets and clothing are especially vulnerable.
Often the first sign of a moth problem will be damage to fabrics but there will usually be the following indicators:
- Adult moths (often crawling rather than flying).
- Maggot-like larvae (moth caterpillars).
- The silken tubes or cases in which moth larvae live.
- Pupae (silk cocoons) in which larvae turn into moths.
Please note, another common cause of damage to carpets or fur may be due to fur beetles or carpet beetles rather than moths. Please refer to our guide to carpet beetles for further information.
There are four common species of moth infestation in the home:
Common Clothes Moth:
- Adults 6-8mm with straw-coloured wings and no markings
- Larvae creamy white with a brown head and up to 10mm long
- The moth larvae make irregular holes in fabrics
Case Bearing Clothes Moth:
- Found particularly with imported animal fabrics
- Adults 6mm long with a dark-buff colour and three faint spots
- Creamy-white larvae up to 10mm
- Makes more regular holes in fabric than common clothes moth
Brown House Moth:
- Adults 8-14mm and brown with three or four darker spots
- Larvae up to 20mm, off-white with brown head
- Larvae feed on a wide range of animal textiles including wool, leather and feathers
White-Shouldered House Moth:
- Adults 6-10mm with a white head and mottled wings
- Larvae up to 12mm, cream coloured with red-brown head
- Larvae scavenge on wide range of food. Less damaging to textiles than clothes or brown house moths.
While DIY products can deal with smaller moth infestations, a professional pest control service will be required for larger or repeat infestations.
Get in touch to find out how we'll deal with the moths in your property.
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