Activities of the moth
Clothes and food moths are active throughout the year and will also survive the winter in the right environment. The active flight time ranges from May to September. Moths are nocturnal insects and will often sit on the walls during the day.
The clothes moth is a subspecies belonging to the family of moths. Its appearance is a dirty dark brown with a length of 1 cm and a wingspan of 1.5 cm.
Problems with moths can already be found in the ancient writings from Syria. Moths would cause great destruction to cloth and clothes in wardrobes and chests. The Syrians observed that mainly those clothes were destroyed that were kept in storage for a long time. The first countermeasures were an intense airing of the textiles and the placement of lemons in cabinets and wardrobes. Even the Bible mentions the havoc caused by moths.
Outside of the human environment the moth lays its eggs into the fur of animals or the nests of birds.
The moths living in the human environment will lay their eggs on to our textiles. Textiles, especially woolen and cotton textiles, are very convenient for moth larvae as they contain the protein keratin. The larvae need the protein for their development and feed on the textiles. Artificial and some natural fibres such as hemp may be nibbled at, but are discarded as they have no keratin in their structure. A long period storage in a close cabinet or wardrobe will raise the probability of an infestation by moths.
The larvae of the clothes moth needs the proteins found in textiles and furniture. It will eat holes and cause spots or colour changes. Especially textiles which are unwashed or have a residue of sweat are a feast for the clothes moth.
- silky cocoons can be found on textiles or furniture
- the textiles have traces of excrements on them
- the texture of the fabric is frayed
Indian Meal Moth:
In contrast to the clothes moth, the Indian meal moth is a pest to food and also known as pantry moth or Weevil moth.
The Indian Meal Moth does not like a cold environment. If possible it prefers to live in our houses. If it gets access to the kitchen, pantry or openly stored food it can quickly infest it with its larvae. The moth and its larvae feed on grain products, nuts, cocoa, chocolate and spices. Infested food must be thrown away, because the larvae leave their droppings in the food which can become hazardous to your health. Film wrapping, as used with pasta, rice or müsli, is no real protection against the moths as they can be opened and destroyed by these moths and its larvae.
The Flour moth is a close relative of the Indian Meal Moth. It is approximately 3 cm in length and has a wingspan of 1.5 cm. It can easily be recognised by its frayed wings.
The diet of the Flour Moth is very similar to the Indian Meal Moth. It is however larger and has significantly more power, as it is capable of crawling up to 400 m without using its wings.
Everyday problems with moths:
- Moths are often discovered too late in closets and wardrobes. The clothes are already infested with the eggs and the larvae in the first holes are appearing.
- If food is exposed and available moths will infest the whole house would nests that are very hard to find.
- Even though some nests have been found, moths are still flying through the house.