A moth is a chiefly nocturnal insect related to the butterflies. It lacks the clubbed antennae of butterflies and typically has a stout body, drab coloration, and wings that fold flat when resting. Far from pests, moths are important to local ecosystems; they are food for a variety of insect-eating predators and effective pollinators for a number of plant species.
Moths Can Be Poisionous
Moths and butterflies are potentially dangerous to people in one context: eating them. While most butterflies and moths are likely non-toxic to hungry humans, a few species — like the familiar monarch butterfly (Family Nymphalidae) — feed on poisonous or unpalatable plants as larvae. Monarch caterpillars feed largely on milkweed, which contains cardenolides — poisons that act on heart muscle. The insects store these poisons in their body, and if they are eaten, the predator will likely find them distasteful and potentially sickening. Because of the bold orange and black coloration of the butterflies, predators will often remember that they tasted bad, and therefore ignore them in the future. Despite the fact that some moths and butterflies have these sequestered toxins, butterflies are eaten by humans in some parts of Mexico and Asia.
Moth Infestations commonly occur in warm and higher humidity conditions where the adult moths find their way into homes and the female moths lay eggs in suitable locations for the development of their larvae. The ‘right’ conditions for a moth infestation include absence of strong light, a reasonable degree of humidity, and suitable materials to ensure a food source for the emerging larvae, and hence a potential site for moth infestations.
Food is the crucial issue for the larvae to survive – being adept at converting the proteins found in keratin into food, larvae are most in home on clothing, upholstery and carpets made of natural fibres. Animal hair contains keratin, so wool and cashmere are the preferred food sources.
If you are experiencing a moth infestation we at Golden Hills Pest Control are here for you. Contact your local Sacramento Pest Control Company today!
Moth’s Habits and Abilities
- Most flying insects tend to be drawn towards light, but clothes moths actually prefer to hide away in dark, undisturbed areas – such as wardrobes, cupboards and boxes. They also stay near their food sources (see below for detail).
- Adult moths do not have mouths so holes in clothes are actually made from moth larvae. Sign of damage on your clothes will alert you to where the eggs have been laid. You should look out for webbing and cocoons in the corners of your wardrobe and cupboards.
- Moths have a very strong sense of smell and it is how they communicate, find mates and detect food.
Protecting Your Valuables From Moths
- Moths are mostly drawn to the human sweat, hair and body oil that are left on clothing, particularly those made out of natural fibres (wool, feathers, fur, silk). Therefore, it’s important to wash your clothes before you store them – especially if you are putting them away for a long period of time.
- Store clothes in an air-tight bag or plastic container – not cardboard boxes as moths can chew through.
- Vacuum regularly – moths can lay eggs in carpets too.
- Keep your wardrobe ventilated as moths are attracted to warm, humid spaces.
- Hang clothing made from natural fibres on cedar hangers as this will repel the moths. Put extra cedar items in the pockets of the garments if they are long.