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Moths 101: What They Are and How to Keep Them Away

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Moths are insects, related to butterflies, that belong to the order Lepidoptera. They're typically nocturnal, less colorful than butterflies, and attracted to fabrics or stored foods. Most importantly, they’re usually considered pests. Moths can damage or destroy food or fabric products, disturb sensitive materials, and create health hazards.

Like any other pest, the best way to combat a moth infestation is to get to know the moth. Let us help you defend against moths in your commercial property by teaching you about them. Here’s everything you need to know about common pest moths and how to get rid of them.

What do moths look like?

There are two common categories of pest moth: pantry moths and fabric moths. The most common pantry moth is the Indian Meal Moth. There are two common fabric moths: the Webbing Clothes Moth and the Casemaking Clothes Moth. Each of these three moths are different in important ways, so let's take a closer look at each:

  • The Indian Meal Moth has, on average, a 1/2 inch long body with a wingspan of about 3/4 inches. Their wings are multi-colored in shades of rust, bronze, and copper. They have grey or silver markings close to their heads and brown or grey-brown thoraxes and abdomens.
  • The Webbing Clothes Moth has a body that measures around 1/4 of an inch with a 1/2 inch wingspan. It’s lighter in color; typically golden, yellow, or tan with reddish-gold accents. It has split “sets” of wings. The lower set is lighter in shade than the upper set.
  • The Casemaking Clothes Moth is similar in size to the Webbing Clothes Moth with an average 1/4 inch body and 1/2 inch wingspan. It is also golden or yellowish-tan in coloring. Casemaking Clothes Moths have darker wings than Webbing Clothes Moths, and they have small, black spots all over them.

Why are they infesting my commercial property?

Clothes moths like Webbing and Casemaking clothes moths are attracted to fabric. The properties they’re most likely to bother will be manufacturers and retail properties. Fabric moths like these are most likely to infest places like storage rooms where they can find fabric to eat in the dark. They leave plenty of signs of their presence. Look for small bite holes, torn fabric, larvae or eggs on clothing, and tracks in dust on flat surfaces.

Pantry moths like the Indian Meal Moth operate a little differently. They're most attracted to food service businesses where they can find grains. They like to hide in pantries, cupboards, and anywhere else that’s dark and filled with food. Like clothing moths, they lay eggs where they eat. Adult moths don’t eat, so if you find moth damage, it’s because moth larvae were born nearby.

How can I prevent and get rid of them?

With both of these varieties of moths, your second line of defense (after knowledge) is going to be vigilance. To prevent Indian Meal Moths, take away their food by transferring food into hard plastic containers.

To prevent clothes moths, make sure the humidity levels in your commercial property aren’t too high. If you’re storing clothing long term, place it in plastic containers. To prevent both types of moth, stay on top of cleaning. Insects hate tidy, dust-free, nibble-free environments.

When it comes to removal, your best bet is to contact a local commercial pest control company. Our experts know how to safely remove existing infestations, and prevent future ones as well.

Assured Environments is happy to provide the sort of integrated pest management services that are the best way to prevent moth problems long term. All you have to do is call, and we’ll be there.

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