Despite some of the wonderful things that certain bugs do for us, the first thought when you see an insect in your house, is not usually, “How lucky!”
But, although they’re less exciting and colorful as their butterfly cousins, for hundreds of years moths have been considered signs of good luck in love and messengers of change, transformation, and new beginnings.
They’re also seen as symbols of fertility because they lay eggs without reproducing. So they seem like a good subject with Mother’s Day right around the corner.
Unfortunately, seeing moths in your house can also be very unlucky, but by the time you see them, it’s too late.
You see, it’s not the moths themselves that are the problem – it’s the caterpillars they used to be. Moths are signs of rebirth and transformation – after they emerge from their cocoons. But in most cases, right before they enter the cocoon, they get a big snack so they can survive during the metamorphosis process.
And that snack tends to be our sweaters, carpeting, draperies, upholstery and other high density cotton and wool products.
Ten days to two weeks after a female moth lays her 40-50 eggs at a time, the larvae emerge, and, depending on where they hatch, will look for food sources or just chow down on the fabric they’re on.
Clothing with stains, remnants of sweat or urine are the best sources of food because they contain both moisture and nutrients.
Moth larvae live between a month and two years before spinning a cocoon, so they can do a lot of damage.
On the Gulf Coast of Florida, we typically deal with two main types of clothing moths: the webbing clothes moth and the case-making clothes moth.
Webbing clothes moths are a yellowish gold in color, they measure between a quarter to a half an inch, and have wings without spots.
Case making clothes moths are about the same size but have darker front wings with three dark spots. The hairs on their head are lighter colored, and when the moth is resting, it’s wings sit at an angle arched over their bodies like a tent.
Webbing clothes moths spin webbing as they eat. Often those will be found tucked in the cuffs or collars, or in darker areas near the hems.
The larvae of case making clothes moths weave a silken tube or case around their bodies to protect themselves and are more mobile. The case takes on the color of the fabric so they may be camouflaged.
The best defense against clothing moths is cleanliness – including following manufacturer’s instructions. If a sweater or suit or dress is dry clean only, it should be dry cleaned before you store it away. Brush and clean them periodically as this helps detach the larvae and eggs.
If you’re putting clothes away for a longer period of time, put them in an airtight container, not just a garment or dry cleaning bag.
Cedar has natural oils that help repel and control some moths but not others.
Washing clothes in 120-degree-F water for 20 to 30 minutes kills clothes moths at all stages in their life cycle very effectively. Laundering your clothes also removes the perspiration, urine, and food stains that attract the larvae.
If you discover you have a rather large moth infestation, don’t rely on good luck - call an expert. Good News Pest Solutions has been serving our customers for more than 30 years with the safest, most effective insect treatments we can find. Our Go Green Perimeter Plus solution takes care of all the usual creepy crawly suspects we encounter. For more details, just give us a call!
Oh, and on behalf of all of us at Good News Pest Solutions, HAPPY MOTHERS DAY to all the moms, grandmoms, caregivers and anyone who is like a mom to you. And don’t just wait for Mother’s Day – surprise your mom with a call today too!« Back to Blog
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