Moths in the home can be a nuisance but when they start eating your favourite Christmas jumper you may feel they have gone too far. Believe it or not, it’s not the flying moths you see that are causing the damage, but rather the moths in their larval form (Egg-larvae-pupa-adult).
What Moths are considered pests?
For simplicity we have put them into two categories which are:
Clothes Moths & Food Moths:
• Clothes Moths – Species: Common clothes moth, Case bearing clothes moth and white shouldered moth. Clothes moths will feed on most natural fibres such as wools, cottons and silk and will try and avoid light.
• Food Moths – Species: Indian meal moth (Pictured right), Mediterranean food moth, Brown House Moth and white shouldered moth. Food moths will eat stored food products in kitchens and pantries.
You can use your washing machine and dryer to kill off the moths infesting on your clothes and other washable items. Clothes laundered in hot water and/or dried in temperatures hotter than 60°C for 20 minutes will kill all life stages of insect. This is typically the medium-high setting. You can also heat curtains and other fabrics, rugs, shoes, backpacks, stuffed animals, toys and similar objects by drying them at medium-high for about 30 minutes in a tumble dryer. These items do NOT have to be wet. It is a safer way to eradicate the life stages without shrinking clothing and/or other items.
Cold temperatures can kill moths if they are exposed to it long enough and at temperatures that are cold enough. All stages of moth will be killed if objects left in a freezer at 0°F for 3 days. Putting infested furniture outdoors during winter when it is cold may kill some, but there is no guarantee that you will kill all of them. plus furniture may be damaged if moisture is present.
Vacuuming helps to quickly capture and contain the moths eggs, Lavae and pupa. Vacuum crevices around under beds, sofas, in wardrobes that may have carpet in them. If using a canister vacuum, immediately empty the contents into a plastic bag, seal and throw away. Clean the vacuum thoroughly. If using a vacuum with a bag, immediately remove the bag and seal in plastic for disposal.
Washing is a very effective method to treat this pest so items that can be placed in the washing machine or dryer is best. Collect natural fibre items such as wools and silks and seal in plastic bags until they can be washed to decrease the chance of spreading. Use the highest temperature the fabric can withstand for washing and drying. If an item cannot be washed, dry it for 30 minutes at the highest temperature the item can withstand in the tumble dryer.
Insecticides are an important part of pest moth control as it is possible for the moths to move away from the main infestation site to another area. Use all insecticides carefully and according to the label. It is highly recommended that you hire a Pest Management Professional to apply the appropriate insecticides. Do not try to treat a moth infestation with insecticides labelled for other insects which can cause an increase to the area infested.