Moths can be as small as a pin or as large as a dinner plate. Their sense of smell can detect a potential mate from tens of miles away. Some varieties of moth are even important pollinators helping grow plants like yucca and wildflowers.
Despite all these cool facts, moths are also known as common pests. Consuming clothing, fiber, and stored products, they can wreak absolute havoc in the commercial properties they infest. Like all pest insects, it’s easier to appreciate how interesting moths can be from a comfortable distance. Ironically, the best way to maintain that distance is to learn a thing or two about moths in advance. We can help with that. Here’s what you should know about the clothes-eaters near you:
What are moths?
Moths are insects of the order Lepidoptera. There are hundreds of thousands of known species of moths worldwide, found on all continents except Antarctica. Most moths are known for two things: their nocturnal behavior and their neutral coloring. Not all moths follow these guidelines, of course, but the majority do. Other defining characteristics of most moths include two pairs of scaled wings, coiled proboscises, and relatively large compound eyes. The ones most commonly known for infesting homes and businesses are smaller, with a wingspan less than 2 cm on average.
Which moths are most common in New York?
There are over a thousand different species of moths found in New York alone. Different varieties thrive in different areas and parks. The ones most commonly encountered pest moths in New York City include:
- Indian Meal Moth: The Indian Meal Moth is the largest of the three most common pest moths in New York. It’s body averages a half inch in length with a three quarter inch wingspan. It’s coloring typically ranges from reddish-copper to grey. They’re known to infest stored food and pantry products and can be a large burden for the food service and hospitality businesses.
- Webbing Clothes Moth: Webbing Clothes Moths are a problem because of their capability to consume an entire wardrobe. They’ll eat fur, silk, cotton, wool. Even hair. They’re smaller in size with bodies averaging a quarter inch in length with a half inch wingspan. Their coloring is golden or tan, with reddish-gold hairs on the ends of their heads. Their lower wings are always a lighter gold or tan color than upper ones with small golden hairs along their length.
- Casemaking Clothes Moth: Casemaking Clothes Moths can get up to just under half an inch in length. Their coloring is brownish-gray with three dark spots on each long, narrow wing. These moths infest businesses that contain their preferred food sources (fabrics, hair, mold) and environments (dark, dry, quiet).
Moth Exclusion Tips
There are a couple important things you can do to help prevent moth infestations:
- Be strict about managing your clothing. Moths love to infest clothing, especially wool. Brush any wool or fur jackets after wearing them outside and before hanging them. Wash any clothing or linens you plan on storing before you put them away. If you are going to store clothing long-term, use tightly-sealed plastic containers.
- Maintain dryness in your home. The other main draw for moths is moisture. Stay on top of your home’s moisture levels by staying vigilant about repairing plumbing drips and leaks. Use dehumidifiers in out of the way areas like attics or basements. Diagnose and fix standing water issues as soon as you notice them.
Our last, and arguably our most important, tip is this: call the professionals. As soon as you suspect a moth problem, get in touch with the team at Assured Environments. They’ll know what to do to not only handle existing infestations, but prevent future ones as well.