Many moth species cause no harm at all and others are even useful for their role in silk-making and nutritional value, but not the notorious webbing clothes moth and the case-making clothes moth.
Moths are insects with two pairs of wings coated in scales, large compound eyes and a coiled proboscis. The various species show great differences in terms of their size and appearance, while many moths are dull shades of grey or brown, there are some species in Australia with brilliant colours, sometimes with radiant, metallic shades. Most moths found indoors tend to be very small, with a wingspan of under 2 cm, and are coloured reddish brown, brown or grey.
It is difficult to generalise about the diet, habits and behaviour of moths as these can be as diverse as their appearance. Some moths are elegant pollinators of flowers, while others feed on stored foods. Moths often become food for many creatures including mammals, birds, reptiles, arachnids, other insects, amphibians and even certain varieties of plants. Most property owners come into contact with moths when they feast on food kept in the pantry or attack fabrics in their linen closets.
Common pest moths:
The two main pests to humans are the webbing clothes moth and the case-making clothes moth, as well as stored food pantry moths, who cause damage to Australian agricultural circles. These moths and their caterpillars are despised for the widespread destruction they cause.
|Case Making Clothes Moth
||The case making cloth is a secondary pest moth that feeds on woollens, upholstered furniture, feathers, felts, clothes, and woollen carpets. This species is not as prevalent as the webbing clothes moth. The damage done to your furniture pieces is actually done during the larvae state, as adults don’t feed on furniture. They cause damage through their mouthparts, which suck on the fabric based commodities. The complete metamorphosis stage goes from egg to larva, to pupa, and finally to adult. The last adult stage will only last 4-6 days, while the pupa stage lasts 9-19 days. Overall, the lifespan of the case making clothes moth lasts for 2 months, but there are some records indicating some process can take up to 2 years. The case making clothes moth is 7-10mm in length, with a 10-14mm wingspan. They have distinct 3 dark spots on their wings, but some are indistinct making them hard to identify.
|Common Clothes Moth (Webbing Clothes Moth)
||The Common Clothes moth is considered as a serious pest as their only source of nourishment is from clothing. Their favoured food is wool, but they are able to feed on many other natural fibres and some stored produce. Commodities that have been ravaged by a common clothes moth are identifiable through their mesh-like appearance. Common clothes moth commonly attacks felt acoustic curtains in theatres, making them a dominant pest for cinemas and other businesses. Common clothes moth thrives in moist conditions but can grow in low humidity areas making them widespread across Australia.
Where do moths live?
The clothes moth species shun light and usually reside in dark areas like wardrobes, attics and basements, hiding between fabric folds or in forgotten corners.
When are moths most active?
As they prefer darkness, moths are most active during the night.
Why are moths pests?
Many species are considered pernicious pests in agriculture, while most of them pose no physical threat to man at any stage of their life cycle. Pest moths are known for being able to destroy wool, but common clothes moths (also known as webbing clothes moths) are actually drawn to a wide range of natural materials such as fur, silk, felt, feathers and hair. These moths are a shiny golden colour and about 2.5 to 5 cm long.
A moth infestation often occurs long before occupants have even realised they are there, by which time furniture and clothes may have already been ruined. In fact, it is the larvae of the webbing clothes moth that ruins clothing. They have a preference for natural materials and have the habit of devouring coats, sweaters, blankets, comforters, carpets, toys, pillows and decorations. They are less partial to synthetic fibres, although they do eat stained fabrics and blends.
Do I need professional moth control?
Although professional moth control is not necessary for the moths found outside your home, moths that are pests to fabrics, food and wood, are not easily remedied with DIY pest control. Flick Anticimex has the experience and pest knowledge to deal with pest moth infestations. To find out more about our moth and flying insect control solutions, feel free to click here.
Tips for Moth Control
- Avoid keeping boxes of clothes in dark areas like the basement, garage or attic.
- If you must keep your clothes in boxes, make sure the containers are given a meticulous cleaning before they are used for storage. Make sure all boxes, including corners, are sealed firmly with tape and store the clothing inside plastic bags before storing in the boxes.
- Before storage, all natural fibres and wool should be cleaned in accordance with the instructions on the label.
- Natural fibre clothing items should be wrapped or covered with individual plastic sheets or covers before they are stored in wardrobes.
- Plastic cases with large zippers are recommended for clothing storage.
- Mothballs can discourage pests from devouring fabric, but note that the smell may need a dry cleaning session to remove.
Give Flick Anticimex a ring on 13 14 40 to permanently rid your home of moths.