What Are Moths? Facts and Control Tips

what are moths

Ever wondered what species of insect a moth was? Or, maybe you are just curious as to why these flying annoyances are infiltrating your house. No matter what the reason for your interest in the subject is, these helpful facts about moths are great to have in your stockpile of knowledge! We’ve also added some moth control and prevention tips.

What kind of animal is a moth?

Exactly what are moths? Butterflies and moths are insects. They are both parts of the same insect group known as Lepidoptera. Lepidoptera means scaly-wing. This makes sense, as the dusty stuff on a moth's wings happens to be tiny scales.

What is the difference between a moth and a butterfly?

There are many species of moths. Some are big, some are small, and some are even brightly coloured just like butterflies. The main difference between a moth and a butterfly is in the furry body, wide body size, and nocturnal habits.


What are Clothes Moths?

Clothes Moths are tiny, half-inch-sized moths that usually come in beige or buff-brown colours. These moths have narrow wings that are fringed with little hairs. They often are mistaken for Pantry or Grain Moths. Clothes Moth Larvae eat natural materials such as wool, leather, silk, cashmere, and similar fabrics. The Scientific Name for the Clothes Moth is Tineola bisselliella.

What are moths attracted to?

It all depends on the species of moth. Clothes Moths are attracted to dark, secluded areas with natural materials where they can lay their eggs and have a food source for their larvae. Pantry Moths like the same quiet places, but prefer dry good food sources for their larvae. Other, non-pest species of moths like flower nectar or rotting fruit.

How long do most moths live?

Again, this will depend on the species of moth. Moths usually live from 1 to 6 months. For example, the common brown house moth may live as long as four months. However, silkworms only live for about two weeks. Weather patterns, geographical regions, and temperatures may also impact the life cycle and lifespan of a moth.

What is the purpose of the moths in nature?

So what are moths good for? Well, moths and moth larvae are important food sources for many species. They are eaten by small mammals, amphibians, bats, and numerous species of birds. Some moths are also pollinators. The fuzzy hairs on their bodies are a great place for pollen to stick as they move from one flower to another.

Why do moths fly at lights?

There is a lot of debate surrounding why moths fly toward light. Moths prefer dark hiding places. Some scientists believe this is why they fly at light sources. You see, they get disorientated and attempt to hide in Mach bands behind the light.

What does seeing a moth mean?

If you see a common brown house moth, it probably means you need to close your windows better at night when the lights are on. However, if you see a Clothes Moth, you may want to take preventative measures to discourage a potential infestation. After all, you don’t want a Clothes Moth laying eggs in your house. These eggs can hatch into larvae that will happily chew through your favourite sweaters.

moth larvae on clothes

Clothes Moth Control Tips

  • Use Cedar woods in your home. Cedar naturally repels moths.
  • Consider purchasing or making your own moth deterrent sachets.
  • Place Moth Traps around your home to catch any adult moths before they lay eggs.
  • Keep your house as clean as possible and dust, mop, or vacuum frequently.
  • Store your clothing in sealed containers and consider throwing in mothballs or moth deterrent sachets.
  • Wash your clothes before storing them.
  • Avoid bringing used furniture, fabrics, or clothing into your home until it has been cleaned.
  • You can freeze fabric items for 72 hours to kill any hidden moth eggs.

Other Interesting Moths Facts

  • There are over 11,000 different species of moths in the United States.
  • Clothes Moth Larvae are responsible for most kinds of pest damage, especially to clothes, garments, and upholstery.
  • Many adult moth species don't eat. Only the larvae do.
  • Moth life cycle time spans may vary based on the temperature or local seasonal changes.
  • Moths are an important food source for many animals.

About MothPrevention®

MothPrevention® speak to customers every day about their clothes moth issues - clothes moths are a species that are ever increasing and that can cause significant damage to clothes, carpets and other home textiles.

To date, we’ve helped over 150,000 customers deal with their moth problems. We have developed professional grade solutions including proprietary pheromones engineered in Germany to the highest production standards.

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