There are three types of moths that cause most of the problems around a house. Two damage fabrics, for example the "Clothes Moth" will tend to damage all clothes, while the "Brown House Moth" specialises in damage to animal-based textiles such as leather, wool and feathers. The "White Shouldered House Moth" does not tend to damage fabrics, however it does lay its eggs in food.
In fact it is not the adult moths which are the main problem of a moth infestation, although obviously they can be annoying buzzing around your head. It is actually the larvae, or moth caterpillars, which are the main problem though, as they are the ones that make holes in fabrics as they eat and grow. Those which are hatched in food use the food for nourishment and to build a cocoon. Moth control is therefore clearly a very urgent issue, although moths do not actually pose a risk to your health.
There are a variety of moth control techniques that you can apply yourself, however if you have a severe infestation then it is best to call on the help of a professional.
The best form of moth control is, of course, to prevent an outbreak in the first place. Keeping doors and windows closed, especially at night since they are attracted to light, is an advantage but not always practical and it's nice to let some air in
A female House Moth can lay, at any one time, 650 eggs.now and then! Also, remember that if you have lots of adult moths already, either flying or hopping around, then the problem is already quite serious as it is the larvae that do the damage. Moths like to lay their eggs in dry, dark places such as a cupboard or loft space. Regular cleaning and washing will resolve this problem, but if you are intending to keep any clothes or other fabrics in storage for a long time then it is best to seal them in plastic bags or pack them in suitcases. The traditional method, of course, was to use moth balls however they emit an unpleasant smell. A similar, but newer technique is to put use aromatic red cedar wood instead of mothballs.
To prevent damage being done to carpets by moths, you should vacuum regularly. Of particular importance in this regard are the sections underneath furniture, as this provides the perfect place for moths to lay eggs. Note, however, that if you have got damage to your carpets then this might not be a moth problem, it could also be due to carpet beetles, and the same goes for any damage to fur, which could be down to the actions of fur beetles. To protect food, keep it in containers that are airtight, and regularly clear out your cupboards and clean them.
If you have a moth problem then there a number of moth control techniques you can employ to get rid of them. There are a plenty of sprays available from hardware stores that will tackle the problem, although you are dealing with sensitive areas so you might not want to go down the chemical route. Sticky strips, some of which are available that emit female moth pheromones in order to attract the males, are also very effective in dealing with the adult moths.
Another way of getting rid of moth's eggs on clothes is to put them in the freezer. They won't be able to stand up to the extreme cold conditions, so after a few days in the freezer they will be wiped out. Remember to protect your clothes; it is best to put them in a vacuum packed plastic bag and let the clothes warm up again after you have taken them out of the freezer before taking them out of the bag.
When they fly during the night, moths navigate by using the moon and stars. If you have a serious moth infestation, however, it is best to employ a professional to deal with the problem.
The best moth control methods to use will depend, to some extent, on which kinds of moths you have a problem with. The three most common moths have already been mentioned, but there are two and a half thousand species in the UK alone, with over one hundred and sixty thousand worldwide. Most of those, however, do not cause a problem. To recognise the ones that do, here is a brief description of each one.
The Clothes Moth, six to eight millimetres long, doesn't have any markings and is a straw colour. Its larvae can grow to ten millimetres, have a brown head and a creamy white body.
When they fly during the night, moths navigate by using the moon and stars. The House Moth, eight to fourteen millimetres long, has three or four dark spots on a brown body. Its larvae can grow up to twenty millimetres, have a brown head and an almost-white body.
The White-Shouldered House Moth, six to ten millimetres long, has mottled wings and a white head. Its larvae can grow up to twelve millimetres, have a reddish brown head and a cream coloured body.
If you see moths matching any of these descriptions you should immediately check your clothes as well as other fabrics around the house for signs of damage, and begin employing moth control techniques. If you discover a serious infestation, contact a professional.
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