Moth’s are an annoying pest to deal with. They can eat your clothing and cause general uncleanliness in your home.

Clothing Moth

In Toronto and the GTA there are two types of clothes moths that can cause damage to fabrics, the Webbing Clothes moth and the Case Making clothes moth. Adult moths are poor fliers, and avoid light. Clothes moths tend to prefer products from animal origins as well as products of plant origin. Some materials they can cause damage to but are not limited to are: woolens, rugs, feathers, skins, drugs, furs and stored tobacco. The larvae of both these moths carry their silken case wherever they go. The larvae, with its silken case, are camouflaged with bits of material on which the larva has been feeding. The larvae avoid light.

Treatment Preparation

All rugs, carpets, and upholstered furniture should be vacuumed, ensure vacuum bag is discarded immediately upon completion. Any woollen or natural fibre clothing should be laundered prior to treatment (follow all label directions before laundering). Furniture needs to be moved 12 inches from the wall this will allow the technician access to baseboards and the floor area and also empty closets of all clutter. Shelves where insect activity has been seen should also be cleared. The premises should be vacated before treatment begins and do not re-enter for at least 4 hours after treatment. If possible open windows for 20 minutes after re-entry.

Clothing Moth Prevention

  • Conduct a regular inspection of all susceptible items at least once a year. Be sure to take all items out of closets and drawers, and vacuum thoroughly to remove all lint on which larvae may feed. Thoroughly clean clothing before putting it into storage. Clothes moths are drawn to articles soiled by food, beverages, urine, and perspiration, rather than clean garments. For furs, professional cleaning and cold storage is recommended. Any bird’s nests that may be close to the home including those of pigeons, starlings, and sparrows, should be removed.

Food Moths

The most common food moths are the Indian Meal Moths and Mediterranean Flour Moths. Food moths are about one half-inch in length and the most common (Indian Meal Moths) have distinctive bi-colored wings. The part of the wing closer to the head is tan or light gray, while the other section is darker brown or copper color. The adult moths only live for about a week, long enough to mate and for female moths to lay eggs on food items. In a few days, whitish caterpillars with brown heads hatch and may feed on food in your cupboard for several weeks or months, depending on the temperature. When they are ready to pupate, the caterpillars will often wander away from the foodstuff to spin a loose cocoon in some corner where they may spend up to several weeks before emerging as adult moths. In warm weather, the entire life cycle takes six to eight weeks, but it can take up to six months under cooler conditions.

Where are they found?

These pests are found worldwide around dried goods and foods, including, grains, cereals, wheat, cornmeal, dried fruits, seeds, crackers, biscuits, nuts, powdered milk, dried pet food, bird seed, chocolate, red peppers, tobacco, and cocoa beans. You may see small moths flying mostly at night in a random, zigzag pattern; they are attracted to light. Most complaints in Canada occur during the months of July and August, but they often appear in other months as well. Some adult moths do fly into the home during summer months through open doors or windows, but most “hitchhike” inside packaged goods and groceries. Not only homes, but also restaurants, grocery stores, warehouses, pet stores, seed companies, mill, etc., become infested.

Treatment Preparation

All kitchen cupboards must be emptied and the drawers should be removed. A strong suction vacuum cleaner with proper attachments should be used to clean up spilled foods (toaster crumbs, cornmeal, bits of pet food, raisins, etc.) from cracks and crevices, behind and under appliances and furniture. Pull out heavy appliances from the wall and scrub with soap and hot water. All food such as above must be inspected for evidence of infestation. If food is found to be infested, it must be disposed of and any vulnerable food must be placed in tight fitting sealed containers. Everyone including pets and small children must leave the house for 3 to 4 hours after treatment. Fish tanks need to be covered with plastic and filter turned off.

Food Moth Prevention

  • All dried food should be stored in plastic or glass containers with tight fitting lids. Regularly clean your pantry and cupboards and inspect older items for insect infestation. Regularly vacuum cracks and crevices especially in shelves and cupboards. Be advised to check groceries for insects before you bring them into your home. Avoid purchasing in bulk; keep foods in storage less than 3 months. Also, insects like to hide in cracks and crevices so seal all cracks and crevices in the pantry.