There are many species of moths but the most common to inhabit your home is either Clothes Moths or Panty moths. Infestations are not so common these days due to the increase in use of man-made fibres and the much drier atmosphere created by central heating.
Common Clothes Moth
It’s the larva of the species that cause damage, not the adult winged moth. They will eat any natural fibre containing wool, cotton, silk, feather and fur. They can eat woollen carpet right back to the backing and will do substantial damage in a relatively short time, particularly under heavy furniture and along skirting boards. They rarely fly, preferring to scuttle about along the floor favouring dark humid hiding places. The moths more or less continuously brood except during the colder winter months.
They are off white in colour and about 6-8mm in length with a dark head.
Weekly use of the vacuum and general good housekeeping go a long way toward keeping household pests at bay. If you clean often, you may remove them without even knowing it. Vacuuming also removes moth eggs and larvae from carpets before they have the opportunity to hatch.
If there is evidence of larvae then the affected areas may be sprayed with water based residual insecticide. After the treatment, allow the spray to dry, and do not vacuum the treated area for 7 – 10 days after the treatment.
Pantry Moth – Indian Meal Moth
There are other moths which invade food stores and pantries, these are meal or grain moths. They will lay eggs near sources of food and the larvae, when hatched will feed on the food. These will often be seen in grain, rice or cereal types of food, in biscuits, dog or even some bird foods.
Infestations often appear in packaged foods, and it is entirely possible that the infestation began at the manufacturer’s packaging plants and the packet in your cupboard is now well past it’s use by date.
The larvae of the Indian Meal moth is about 10mm long with whitish body, the head is yellow to reddish-brown, short prolegs on abdominal segment. The larvae spin silken threads as they crawl through stored products, creating a matted layer of frass, and pupal cases.
Adult winged moths can be controlled with ULV or smoke generated insecticide. Products contaminated with larvae should be removed and destroyed wherever possible.