The moths at a glance do not seem to be harmful in the least, but the truth is that it is the opposite. These little insects look like a butterfly, but in a much smaller version. They are diverse in size, shape and color, and like the butterfly, they belong to the order Lepidoptera family. If you are suffering from the presence of food moths, cupboards, clothes moths, etc., the following are ways you can eliminate them.
As mentioned above, the food moth, also pantry or food moth, are like butterflies, however, moths outnumber butterflies 10-1 and are nocturnal insects, which means that they are more active during the night. There are an estimated 11,000 species of moths in the United States alone.
Moths don’t pose immediate threats to humans, but they will wreak havoc on your pantry food, clothing, and upholstery.
What attracts them to your home?
You’ll find these little insects hiding in your drawers, cupboards, laundry baskets, and closets, chewing on your most expensive clothes and leaving holes in your favorite sweaters and jackets; they like cashmere and wool. Moths prefer warm, dark areas, like inside your sofas and rugs.
As small as they are, these creatures can also chew on leather – yes, leather! Interestingly, it’s not the adult moths that wreak havoc on your fancy clothes, it’s the larvae. Adult moths do not have a mouth.
Types of moths
Not all moths should be a cause for concern if you see them in your home, some are harmless. However, there are three main types that you should be aware of as they can damage your clothes and other items in your home a bit, especially groceries.
This type of moth is sometimes called the Indian food moth and is the most annoying type of the bunch – and the most destructive, to say the least. These aggressive little insects will invade your drawers, cabinets and pantries eating your items with as much enthusiasm as they can on their tiny bodies.
They resemble the brown house moth in color, except for their wings which are gray in color. If you see these in your home, you must act immediately. Female moths can lay up to 300 eggs at a time, and when they start hatching, you officially have an infestation on your hands.
Brown domestic moth
These are the ones that hide in your food pantry, feed on your dry goods, and hide in the closet. These small insects (female) can lay up to 600 eggs. You will recognize this type of moth by its brown wings with small flecks of bronze on top. They are a little less than half an inch long.
The name alone should tell you so much. These moths are smaller than the pantry moth and tend not only to linger in your closet and drawers, but they have a penchant for natural fabrics, that is, wool. They also like to infest blankets, rugs, upholstery, etc. Once they infest an item of clothing, they tend to linger around it, until, unless you find it, and destroy it.
Clothes moths are golden brown in color and their most distinctive feature is the reddish hair on their heads. Adult moths have a lifespan of 20 to 28 days, and females lay 40 to 100 eggs, which require 3 to 21 days to hatch. However, the real source of the problem, the larvae can live up to 35 days.
7 natural home remedies to get rid of moth
Your first step should be a deep cleaning of each and every area where you have seen the moth. Clean out your cabinets and throw away food and other items it has come in contact with. If there is a moth in your kitchen, you will notice that the moth secretions will also have an unpleasant odor. The good news is that we have some natural remedies for these pesky insects.
1. Indian lilac (Neem)
Also known as Neem, it works as a good repellent for moths. The leaves of this natural herb can be used by placing them in kitchen cabinets (fresh leaves are best). If you have this powdered herb, use it on shelves and other areas of your closet. You can also buy Neem oil, put it on cotton balls, and place them around the house in moth-infested areas. This will keep these pesky critters at bay.
2. Cinnamon sticks
Wrap a few pieces of cinnamon sticks in paper and place them in your cabinets and drawers. The smell will scare away the moths and prevent others from entering. The smell of cinnamon can be very strong, so it is important to wrap them first. If the cinnamon scent clings to your clothes, give them a good wash after the moths are gone.
3. Cedar shavings
If you can get your hands-on cedar shavings, they are very effective in eliminating moth problems. The moths apparently can’t stand them, so keep a bag of freshly cut cedar chunks in the infested area and it will keep it away. These handy cedar wood scraps can be placed on your hangers to prevent moths from ruining your clothes.
4. Diatomaceous earth
An effective natural remedy for many pests, insects, and rodent infestations. It is always a good idea to keep food grade diatomaceous earth (or diatomaceous earth) in your home. This is an off-white powder that is made by breaking down soft sedimentary rocks. It is odorless, non-toxic to humans or pets, and it is also odorless. You can use this remedy in drawers, cupboards, and anywhere else you see signs of moths.
Since moths are such delicate little insects, diatomaceous earth is quite lethal to them. If the moths swallow this dirt, they will grind inside it because the dust has very sharp edges. If the moth even gets through the dust it cuts off their protective covering, eventually drying them out, and removing them in a matter of minutes. Once they come in contact with diatomaceous earth, your moth problems will end.
The vacuum cleaner doesn’t just remove lint, dead insects, food particles, and other things that moths feed on. It does much more than that, vacuuming can catch moths that you may not have even noticed on your curtains and rugs. To get to those hard-to-reach places, make sure you get a vacuum that has an attachment and a HEPA filter that can really trap dust and dirt.
When you are breathing in, don’t leave any stone unturned; It gets into all the little cracks, along windows, under beds and sofas, and inside closets.
6. Borax to eliminate moth
This is another natural method that will get rid of those nasty moths, but will not cause any harm in the process. You can make a moth bait by mixing the cornmeal with Borax and putting it in a bowl. Place the bait in areas where moths occupy and check every other day to remove dead moths. You will need to refresh the bait every three weeks.
Borax can also be used on its own. Just clean the areas first, as this is really a preventative method. After you have properly cleaned and dusted your drawers and cabinets, sprinkle a little borax powder to prevent moths from entering the space. You can also spray borax in crevices, behind appliances, sofas, and areas where these hard-to-hide little bugs are found.
7. Lavender sachets
A few different herbs like thyme and rosemary can be helpful in getting rid of moths. However, none have been shown to be more effective than lavender. You can go for a lavender spray or even use the dried flower. Some people create their own lavender sachets by placing the lavender powder on small pieces of cloth and then tying the ends to keep the ground herb inside.
You can place them in your drawers and cabinets to keep moths out, and as a bonus, they’ll also leave your clothes smelling sweet of lavender.
Prevention of moth infestation
You know the popular saying “prevention is better than cure”, and I think we have already learned that this is true. It is better to prevent a moth infestation than to try to rid your home of these pesky insects. Here are some ways you can help prevent moths from invading your space.
Every couple of months they move around your furniture, bed, dining room chairs, sofas, etc. Remember that moths hide in dark spaces, so if you move things they will have nowhere to hide.
To prevent moths from destroying your clothes for example, here are some important things you can do:
- Install lights in your closet so destructive little moths have nowhere to hide.
- Make sure clothes are clean and free of crumbs, stains, and food particles. Moths aren’t eating your clothes because they enjoy the taste of it; they are actually looking for the tiny bits of food that might be in it.
- Clothing that is sensitive to moths (silk, wool) should be cleaned and safely stored in garment bags or airtight plastic containers.
- If you buy used or old clothes, take them to the laundry for a proper heat treatment. They should be properly cleaned before hanging in your closet. You may be bringing moths into your home without even knowing it. The same goes for used furniture, give it a proper cleaning before bringing it home.