There are hundreds of species of moths and many are very beautiful! The bugs come in a multitude of colors and sizes and for the most part they live their lives without any direct impact on humans. But not all moths are harmless. Plenty of species are actually blood-feeding, and others have been known as agricultural pests for centuries. Other nuisance breeds eat clothing when left unattended but the good news is that it’s relatively simple to get rid of moths.
Do You Have Moths?
It’s important to know that moths prefer cool, dark places like closets and basements. They can nest in your home for months and even years before you even notice they’re there, but a sweep of your home’s crevices from time to time can easily reveal issues with moths.
Moths eat your clothes. Technically it’s not the moths that eat unsightly holes in your clothing, it’s their larvae. Adult moths find their way into clothes closets where they lay eggs – the eggs then hatch into larvae that snack on all your clothing.
They prefer animal-made fabrics. Moths don’t like the taste or nutritional content of synthetic or dyed fabrics. Wool, cashmere, angora, and alpaca are most at risk of moth damage which is unfortunate as they’re also more expensive than other fabrics.
If you have moths, you’ll see adults. If you’ve seen one or two moths in your home you can bet there are more elsewhere. Both clothes moth larvae and food moths (moths that feed on your dry goods) eventually grow into full-sized adult pests.
How to Get Rid of Moths
Good news! Moths aren’t as resilient as pests like termites or ants so you may not need to call a exterminator to get rid of a minor moth issue. Of course, if you’ve tried several home remedies for moths and still see signs of an infestation, a professional can help you get to the root of the problem and save your clothes in the process.
Here are a few tried-and-true solutions to get rid of moths and keep them gone for good:
1) Moth Traps
Moth traps are an easy, inexpensive solution. You can buy pre-made sticky traps at the hardware store or make them yourself using tape and moth-attracting fish oil. When you catch the creepy-crawlies, throw the whole strip out.
2) Wash and Vacuum
If you know you’ve had moths in your closet you can bet they’ve laid eggs you can’t see. Use a vacuum’s hose attachment to clean every nook and cranny of the closet and take everything out (yes, everything) and have it washed or dry cleaned.
Moth balls or moth crystals are effective, yes, but they contain pesticide gas that must be contained. They’re not a good solution for a closet or open area.
4) Use Herbs
Did you know cinnamon is a natural moth repellent? Try placing some cinnamon sticks in the pocket of a sweater or adding mint or eucalyptus leaves to a garment bag. Though you may kill the moths you may end up with some pungent clothing.
Of course, most of these solutions are only arguably effective and it will all depend on the size of your closet, the nature of your infestation, and the species invading your home. If you have questions about moths or are worried about losing any more clothes or food it’s always best to bring in an exterminator before things get out of hand.