A moth infestation can be quite an uninviting experience, especially if it is inside your house. Whether you’re looking to get rid of them from your kitchen pantry, or your clothes, below is a three-method guide on how you can eliminate them from your home plus measures to prevent future infestations.
Table of Contents
Getting Rid of Moths
The number one rule of getting rid of any pest or insect is to maintain cleanliness in the home. Whether it’s regularly dusting the rooms and windows, cleaning the cabinets, or performing constant check-ups on your food; you have to keep high standards of hygiene. But let’s get into more details on the clothes and pantry moths later.
In this section, you will learn about three distinct methods you can use to generally get rid of moths in your home. These methods include;
One straightforward answer to killing moths in the home is by using insecticides and pesticides, among other chemical substances. A good example is by using Anoxic measures. What are these?
This is where you cut off the oxygen and replace it with rare gases to asphyxiate the moths, similar to fumigation tactics. With this method, you use high levels of compressed co2 to remove the oxygen then crank up the heat to about 25 degrees. Using this treatment for a week, you can get rid of any moths in your home.
Another chemical reaction is by using either nitrogen or argon anoxia. You use the same tactic but may cost you more because of access to the gas. Otherwise, they have the same results.
Finally, you can use mothproofing chemicals. This is more of a preventive measure than a curative approach. You will be using arsenic chemical compounds to kill any larvae already present and to prevent any further infestations. These compounds are rarely used because over the years, many have claimed they are too strong or rather toxic, especially when it comes to contact with humans.
Examples like chlorinated hydrocarbon, chlordecone, Imidazole among others needed to be used in very low portions or otherwise harmful. This preventative/ curative treatment is said to give very satisfactory results in terms of getting rid of moths as well as treating the fabrics such as wool.
To physically treat the home from moths requires you to first identify where they are in your home. The two common moth species you’re likely to find inside your home include the Indianmeal moth and common clothes moth. You will need to look over your food and clothes for moth larvae, which affirms infestations.
Once that is done, you can now indulge in physical measures to get rid of them. Here are some techniques you can use;
- Brushing clothes under bright light. This allows you to see and scrape any larvae or eggs attached to the clothing.
- Regular cleaning and vacuuming. The carpet doesn’t hibernate moths but it may be the last breeding spot for them.
- Using airtight containers for your food to avoid entry, reproduction or growth of larvae in the food.
- Moth traps – most traps will hinder any further infestations by curbing mating of the male and female species. The adhesive-line cardboard can bait the moths finally trapping them.
- Dry cleaning the clothes – the chemicals used in dry cleaning will quickly eliminate the moths from your clothes.
- Freezing- ensuring the temperatures lie below -23 degrees, you could freeze the infested food to kill any available larvae.
- Heating and burning – most insects, if any, don’t survive constant heat of above 49 degrees for periods longer than 30 minutes. You are advised to wash your clothing or bake the food to attain these results.
- Mothballs – this is more of a chemical technique where the moth will be subjected to chemical crystals that sublimate to gas which kills the moth. Similar to the moth traps, the vapor can be toxic to humans.
- Insecticides – various aerosols can be used to get rid of moths from the home and even outside. They can be in the form of a spray, powder or liquid form. Treat it at least once a month in the initial quarter, then once every quarter for the rest of the year.
These are just but a few of the options available. More ways will be discussed as we continue.
There are also other biological techniques you can also use to try and get rid of moths. These methods include;
- Cedar – cedarwood has been known to be moth resistant. It can resist and even kill tiny larvae. The oil derived from dried cedarwood, even though it’s volatile can be used to curb further infestations.
- Camphor – this is the next best thing to mothballs. However, to effectively get results, you will need to use a high concentration of it.
- Lavender – the sweet smelling scent of lavender can be used to prevent any further infestations of larvae, especially on your clothes. Using a drop of the oil in your cabinets can go a long way.
Most of these biological methods are not fast approaches to killing or getting rid of the moths. They are however pleasant ways to prevent any further infestations.
Getting Rid of Clothes Moth in the Closet and Prevention Tips
Clothes moth can be either of two species;
- Tinea Pellionella
- Tinea Bisselliella
These two species will use fabrics especially wool to play host to their larvae/ caterpillars. For the two weeks plus they will be on the clothes, they will feed on the wool or fur as they grow to develop into a pupa and finally the adult stage.
During that time, they will spoil the fabric to a point you can no longer use it. Hence, the best solution is to get rid of them and prevent any further infestations. Here’s a look at ways you can remove them and also avoid any further hosting on your clothes;
- Brushing your fabrics – wool and fur have wide spacing in between the cloth fibers which allow the larva to easily stick and adhere to the clothes the entire period they metamorphose. Brushing the fabrics will enable you to scratch them off the cloth by scraping. Do this as regular as you wear the cloth or expose the clothing outside.
- Clean your clothing before storing them off-season. Especially during summer, there are numerous moths around including these clothes moths, so ensure your clothes are cleaned and air dried before storage. That way, you’re sure there are no larvae lying around your clothes.
- Protect your storage area as well. Keeping the cabinets clean and free from the larvae will also protect your clothing from infestations. You can store some of your more susceptible clothing in airtight containers, suitcases, and bags. Use the zipped bags to protect your suits and wool from playing hist to any moth.
- Check your cabinets for moisture or dust. As mentioned above having damp and dusty cabinets is a great habitat for moth larvae which will then infest your clothing. Don’t keep your clothes in areas prone to get damp like outside the house.
If your clothes have ever been infested, always maintain caution with your clothes as they can be infested again. Take heed of the tips above to protect your clothes.
Getting Rid of Pantry Moths in the Kitchen and Prevention Tips
The Indian meal moth among other species loves to infest your food, whether its nuts, grains, dried fruits, or just store-bought items; these moths would habitat in your food until they fully develop to adulthood. This is not only devastating and infuriating but also painful because you will have to throw out the food to avoid taking in contaminated food. To get rid of these moths and prevent any further infestations; here’s a rundown of what you can do.
- Clean your cabinets with insecticides or treated water to kill any available larvae.
- Throw out already infested food.
- Inspect your food before you purchase it. Check for small holes and webs on the food that could indicate the food is infested.
- Seal your food in airtight containers to ensure there will be no contact with the outside contaminants.
- If the infested food is a lot, you could freeze it for over a week to kill off the larvae.
- Clean the kitchen regularly paying close attention to hidden crevices especially in the cabinet. Also Clement any food spills immediately they happen.
- You could vacuum the kitchen as well, especially areas that can be easily reached.
- Use a moth trap – place them close to what attracts the moth in the first place.
- Use insecticides, biological measures like citrus and orange peels, organic diatomaceous earth, and natural pesticides to kill off and also prevent any further infestations.
- Place your trash bags outside the house to protect the house from breeding the moth and to also keep the contaminated food further away from the home.
- Regularly used vinegar water to clean the cabinets and food storage areas. The vinegar will render the area inhabitable for the moth’s larvae.
- Clean the vacuum bag or an empty storage container. Ensure it remains clean in dry always.
- Consult a pest controller so they can completely fumigate the kitchen. This is in severe cases of infestation.
- Regularly check your food in the pantry. When one item is infested, the others too will get infected in due time.
Food tends to spoil faster and can cost you more than your clothes, hence put a keen eye on your pantry to avoid such unnecessary costs.
The clothes and food are not the only victims of moth infestations. Sometimes they hide in carpets, crevices in the cabinets, or on the skirting boards on the floor. Either way, you’re better off getting rid of them than waiting to have to throw your food out. Below are some additional tips and ways you can use to clean out or protect your home from moths.
- Invest in a cedar oil spray bottle – the pheromones in cedar can be sprayed on your skirting boards and inside the cabinets to stay clear of moths from their habitats.
- Use your kitchen herbs – moths despise the scent of natural strong-scented herbs like rosemary, thyme, bay leaves, and lavender. Hanging them in a muslin bag in your clothes cabinets can make the closet inhabitable for moth larvae.
- Sticky traps – these are moth traps with a twist. You don’t just attract the moth, you also trap them using a sticky substance so they can’t run away.
- Keep a dust-free environment – larvae prefer dusty areas like the carpets and moldings. Always vacuum your floors and carpets regularly.
- Wash susceptible clothing like wool with hot water and dry under the sun to kill off the larvae. The mechanism is similar to freezing, extreme temperatures tend to kill the moth larvae.
- Clean your home with vinegar solutions. Especially if you found the Indian meal moth has already infested your food. This moth species reproduce very fast hence cleaning with a vinegar solution will ensure to kill any larvae in the cabinets after you’ve disposed of the spoilt food.
- Regularly call pest control – you may not know the extent of your infestation hence a professional can aid you to identify and get rid of the moths faster than you would have done by yourself.
This point of maintaining high hygiene standards can’t be emphasized enough, the cleaner you keep the home, the less likely your home can be infested.
Moth Free House
Adult moths may not be such a nuisance since they often just fly around even in the house. They are more attracted to light and will cling to one area. The most dangerous has to be the larva, whether they are in your clothes, cabinets, or your food; they pose the highest risk to your health and they can really cost you.
Stay clear from unnecessary losses like having to buy new food or throwing away or burning your clothes. Use the recommended tips above to get rid of them and also prevent any further infestations.