Braman Termite & Pest Elimination takes a holistic approach to the extermination of this pest. Typically, a call results either from seeing moths or finding damage. Some or all of the following moth control methods and materials may be employed.
- An interview may be helpful in determining the locus of the infestation and a thorough inspection will be conducted.
- You will be asked to do thorough and frequent vacuuming, particularly around baseboards and edges of carpets where moths will most likely be.
- When there are infested items of clothing we recommend that they be dry cleaned and then segregated until we are sure that the problem is eradicated.
- Larger area carpets or tapestries may need to be sent out for cleaning. Remember: moths greatly prefer soiled items to clean items.
- Pheromone traps (sticky traps with a sex lure) will be utilized to help determine the level and extent of the infestation. They also aid by capturing male adult moths, hopefully before they find a female mate.
- Residual insecticides and insect growth regulators are used to treat areas such as under a couch skirt or structural cracks and crevices that could harbor moths and larvae.
- Heat treatment. In some instances, e.g. when there are many items that have the potential to be infested, heat can be a useful tool. In one instance, clothing store racks were rented and all of these items were hung up and an entire room was heated to 125 degrees for a period of time. This will kill all life stages of the clothes moth.
A couple of other controls that are used by some, but not by Braman, are mothballs and dry ice. Mothballs have to be used at very high levels to be effective and the vapors are toxic. Dry ice placed in a sealed bag will suffocate the moths, but we find other methods easier to use.
If you suspect that you have a moth control problem with clothes, contact us right away. You can be sure that Braman will work diligently with you to resolve the problem.
Moths that are economically significant fall into one of two categories; fabric moths or grain moths. Among the most commonly found moths in New England are the Indian meal moth, the Mediterranean meal moth, the webbing clothes moth and the casemaking clothes moth.
A clothes moth infestation often has a very innocuous beginning; a female moth flies in from out of doors and lays up to 200 eggs at a time in a place where the chances of survival are the greatest. A moths life cycle exhibits complete metamorphosis. The egg hatches and the larva begins to feed and grow immediately. When it is time to pupate the larva spins a cocoon and emerges as an adult. It is the larvae (caterpillars) that cause damage; adults do not feed. The life cycle may be completed within one month under the most favorable conditions; about 75 degrees Fahrenheit with 75% relative humidity. Generally it takes longer than this and can take as long as several years, usually making moth control a necessity once the moth damage has been discovered.
Unlike other animals, clothes moths can digest and utilize keratin, an important energy source and the chief protein in hair, feathers, and skin (including dead skin cells that humans and pets shed) as well as fingernails, horn and claws. So, in addition to animal based fabrics they are able to readily find other food sources.
Discussion of the Indian meal moth and the Mediterranean meal moth can be found on the grain insect page.
Where are clothes moths found?
In our moth control experience, instances of webbing clothes moths outnumber casemaking clothes moths by at least 10 to 1. We have received more calls for webbing clothes moths in the last 5 years than we did in the 25 preceding years, demonstrating that they are becoming more of a problem. The most likely locations for these moths to be found are in the wool sweater drawer, the closet, woolen carpets and wall hangings. Although they are capable of infesting other products, their preference is for fabrics made from animal fiber such as wool or silk. Another factor is that they prefer soiled fabrics to clean fabric.
Unlike other moths that can be seen flying around lights at night, webbing and casemaking clothes moths prefer dark closets, attics and other areas where they hide in dark corners or folds of fabric. Unfortunately, once you begin seeing them flying around the infestation is generally well advanced.
How are they harmful?
Moths do not pose a health threat, excepting the emotional trauma caused by the ruin of your favorite cashmere sweater or Persian carpet.
Casemaking and webbing clothes moths destroy fabrics. They make holes in everything from expensive dresses, sweaters, suits and coats to upholstery, rugs and blankets to furs and leather goods causing substantial economic damage. Proper moth control may save the significant investment you have within your closets.