Moths are insects closely related to the butterfly. There are anywhere from 150,000 to 250,000 species of moths around the world. The larvae of moths, called caterpillars, create cocoons and undergo the process of metamorphosis and emerge as moths.
Moths vary in size, coloring, and eating habits. Atlas moths are orange to maroon in color and can have a wing surface area as large as 62 square inches. The Deaths-head Hawk moth is commonly featured in horror movies due to its unusual marking on the thorax that looks like a human shaped skull.
There are some moth/caterpillar species that are farmed, such as the silkworm that is used to harvest the silk it uses to create its cocoon, and some are even food sources. There are also many moths that are considered pests, they destroy crops, invade food pantries, and eat cloth. Most adult moths however, do not eat at all but drink nectar, and some do not even have mouths.
The Best Way to Get Rid of Moths: Depends on the Type
With such a great variety moths there is no way to get rid of all moths from any particular area. It would not be necessary or desirable to do so anyways. The species of moths that one would want to get rid of can be broken up into three types; the agricultural infesting moths, the food pantry infesting moths, and the closet infesting moths.
The best way to get rid of moths in general is to prevent them in the first place.Proactive measures are the primary focus and a remedy for the infestation is a backup plan.
Agricultural moths are primarily prevented with the use of pesticides, but after years of use moths have started to become immune to our pesticides. After carefully studying moths new methods of pest control have started to emerge for agricultural infesting moths.
For the Coding moths that infest apple and pear trees the Coding Moth Granulosis Virus is the best solution. The bacterium Bacillus Thuringiensis is used against the Corn Ear worm and the Light Brown Apple Moth. Mating disruption is also used on many moths through the manipulation of pheromones. Overall with this type of moth the best method is an integrated pest management regimen.
Food Pantry Moths
The Indian Meal Moth, also called the North American High-flyer and the Pantry Moth,is a pest that is known for finding its way into cereal boxes and flour bags. It can also be found in dried fruits, rice, bread, spices, nuts, and other foods. The first step in preventing an infestation is not taken by you but by the warehouse where the food you bring home comes from. If the warehouse fails the larvae will be in your food and you will release the infestation when you open the packaging.
If you find pantry moths in your house the best thing to do is find the source of the infestation, throw out the food and clean out that pantry, and finally buy some glue traps to catch any adults you missed in the cleanup.
There are a couple of species of moth that eats fabric. These moths like to hide in carpet and floorboards, so an important first step is to vacuum often. Dry cleaning clothes that may be infected will also prevent a larger outbreak.
If you don’t mind a perfume smell on your clothes, lavender is the best natural deterrent for closet moths. Moth balls are the most widely used method but they happen to be very toxic and are dangerous to children and pets. Other pesticides are available that are also potentially dangerous. If none of these options are available putting infected fabric in the freezer for at least three days will kill all the larvae.
To Kill a Moth
The best way to kill a moth depends specifically on that type of moth you are trying to kill. In general is it important to inspect the food and clothes you bring into your home, clean often, and use appropriate pesticides for your garden. Lavender is a great natural product for closets, moth traps a safe method for pantries, and integrated pest management is essential for crops.