By the time you notice moths in your home, they have usually already found something they like to eat. Fortunately, their feeding choices are rather limited, and you can usually find where they are feeding rather quickly.
Moths that are found in the home are generally one of two basic kinds; a food-eating moth or a fabric-eating moth. A food-eating moth, which is the most common, will most likely be found in your pantry. A fabric-eating moth will most likely be found in your closet with linens or clothes.
Food-eating moths come in a variety of types, but are usually frequenting your pantry or kitchen cabinets, pet food, or garbage can. They especially like to eat grains, cereals, flour, pastas, powdered milk, bird seed, and other similar foods. These foods are less likely to attract moths if they are stored in air-tight containers.
Moth eggs are laid in or near these foods. The eggs will develop into larvae, which will start eating the food. In their immature stages, you are unlikely to see them because they will be close to the same color as the food they are in.
The most common type of food moth is the Indian Meal Moth, which is also sometimes referred to as the North American High-Flyer. It is also the most destructive. The larvae are often referred to as "waxworms." These moths are also known as flour moths or pantry moths. A female Indian Meal Moth can lay up to 300 eggs at one time. As adults, they grow to be about half an inch long.
Fabric moths include species like the Webbing Moth and the Casemaking Moth. Both of these moths are only about one fourth of an inch long, and do not like to be seen, and rarely are. Generally, the only way you will know that these moths are present is when you see holes in your fabric.
Keep in mind that odors that seep from cracks in doors or windows are what attract the moths. These odors come from different linens or grains you have. Lights also attract them, and they can enter through doors when they are opened. If you recently bought something from a thrift store or grocery store, be sure to wash it first. Eggs can be found in pantry goods from grocery stores and it takes a couple of years before they hatch and are visible to the eye.
Bird seed and pet foods are the most common occurrences of pantry moths because they don't have as many regulations on the food as they do with human food.
Depending on which type of moth you have, there are different methods of treatment that we use. Some treatments are pheromone lures which last about 4 months and draw in males and females to glue traps. Another treatment is IGR's or Insect Growth Regulators. These are man made copies of insect hormone. They last about 6 months and sterilize the adult moth. IGR treatments altar the life cycle of the moth and stop reproduction, Area rugs can be treated with Borates and, until washed, are permanently protected against moths,