GOT CARPET MOTHS, MOTHS EATING CLOTHES OR FOOD MOTHS?
You may have carpet moths or moths eating clothes in your house if you find tell-tale holes in natural fabric items that have been stored away for a while or you find threadbare patches or holes in wool rugs or carpets too.
If you find small caterpillars in your food it is possible you may have food moths. This is likely to be a problem with vegetable origin stored foods, so if you are a food business or store food in bulk this is something you need to watch out for.
So how do you know if you have a carpet moth or food moth problem?
SIGNS OF MOTH INFESTATION
- The first sign is obviously finding holes in your clothes or your carpet. Items affected will contain natural materials such as wool, silk, fur and leather. So your clothes and carpet are not the only items at risk! If you move an item of furniture you may find signs of moth-eaten holes in your rugs or carpets.
- If you see moths in your house flying in your wardrobe there is a likelihood that a clothes moth female has laid eggs. The clothes moth eggs will be just visible on garments in clusters or patches.
- The moth larvae or caterpillar is very small and shuns light so you may not see any. If you do they tend to be very pale and burrow into the garment or foods they are feeding off.
- Discarded cocoons made from moth silk or fibres may also be visible.
- Larval webbing on foods is another sign you have a food moth problem.
Moth Pests – The Facts
Clothes eating moths and carpet moths are not two different species that have a preference for garments over floor coverings. There are two moths species, the common clothes moth (the webbing moth) and the casemaking clothes moth. However, both of these will eat any keratin containing material. The common clothes moth is just that, more common but both are equally as destructive.
Both species will hide in dark places, resting through the day and coming out during the early evening. The moths also seem poor at identifying people due to bad eyesight.
The Common Clothes Moth (Webbing Moth)
This moth is small, about 6-7 mm in length with a wingspan of around 12-14 mm. It is yellow-brown in colour with a red-orange tuft on its head.
The female lays eggs in a sticky material in groups of between 30 and 200. These eggs are about 1 mm in size, about the size of a pinhead. The eggs take 4 to 10 days to hatch into clothes moth larvae, which start to feed straight away. The caterpillar phase may last between 1 month to 2 years before they spin a cocoon to pupate into adults about 10 to 50 days later.
The moths tend to scuttle around rather than fly and normally live for another 15 to 30 days, normally after egg-laying or mating for females and males respectively.
The Casemaking Moth
The casemaking moth is slightly larger in appearance and is silvery-grey to a shiny light brown colour with dark grey hairs on its head. The two key differences are the cocoons are of the casemaking moth are easier to spot as they are made from fibres.
Another difference is that the casemaking moth will also eat other detritus such as cobwebs, birds nests (including the domestic pigeon), stored vegetables and wallpaper. This makes it more of a challenge to remove.
There are several varieties of food moths. Each have a wing span of between 10-18 mm and all tend to eat dried fruit, cereals, oilseeds and nuts. Some, in particular, the Warehouse Moth, also infest fish, spices, cocoa and tobacco.
The most common is the Indian Meal Moth, which originates from South America. The female will produce up to 500 eggs and these hatch in around two weeks. The food moth larvae then move over the food covering it in their larval silk as they progress.
Depending on the environmental conditions the next phase of their development can take from two weeks to around nine months. The larvae leave the food and spin cocoons. They can hide in the fabric of the building until they emerge up to a moth later as adults.
Apart from the Indian Meal Moth the Warehouse Moth, Tropical Warehouse Moth and the Mediterranean Flour Moth also can cause a problem with stored food in the UK.
If you want to get rid of food moths or carpet moths you are advised to get professional help from a moth pest control service. Rapidkill Pest Control provides excellent moth pest control in London, wherever you live or work in the area.
Carpet Moths and Food Moths Pest Control in London
To get rid of your moth problem we recommend the following steps:
LET US Give you a free quote
MOTH PEST CONTROL
1. Get in touch with us using the form below. We will get back to you within 24 hours to discuss the treatment process to get rid of the food or carpet moths.
2. Our professionally trained technician will then survey your property to find the source of the problem.
3. The treatment is normally a water-based professional insecticide spray and air space fogging treatment which will kill the moths. If there are eggs or a heavy infestation a second visit may be required.
4. If you want us to come out after treatment we also provide a follow-up service to check that the process has been effective.
Moth Preventation and After Care
- Clothes moths are more likely to take up residence if natural fabric clothing is stored in accessible and dark places. Putting your valuable clothes into sealed storage containers will help protect them from moths taking up home in them.
- If it is not practical to seal away your clothes regularly ventilate your wardrobe to make it inhospitable for moths.
- Moths are attracted by the human body oil, hair (which contains keratin!) and sweat so always wash or dry clean your garments before storing them away too.
- Regular vacuuming and carpet cleaning will also remove this debris and prevent moths from taking up residence too. Move any furniture when cleaning to be sure you get into all those nooks and crannies.
- Cedar is a natural and safe repellent that will also help. You can get cedar clothes hangers and cedar balls to put with your clothes.
- To avoid repeat or spreading infestation from food moths ensure any spills of foodstuffs are cleared promptly and contaminated foodstuffs are removed.
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