What are moth eggs?
Moth eggs are extremely small and barely visible to the naked eye - and when you think you've seen a moth egg, in most cases it's actually the excrement of the moth larvae.
NOTE: This article deals exclusively with Eggs from the house moths (i.e. the moths that thrive in our homes and are considered pests) - and not the other 160,000 moth species that exist!
- Size: Moth eggs are very small (less than 1 mm) and difficult to see with the naked eye.
- Number ofMoths can lay 40 - 600 eggs in their lifetime (depending on their species).
- Egg laying: Most moths lay their eggs immediately after pupal emergence (i.e. as soon as they are fully grown).
- Locations: Especially in clothing in closets, drawers and home textiles, and in dry food in kitchen cabinets.
- Combat: The eggs as well as larvae and adult moths do not survive machine washing, dry cleaning, freezing (-18°) or heating (+50°).
What do moth eggs look like?
Moth eggs are very small (less than 1 mm in length and width), making them difficult to see with the naked eye. In most cases, you'll need a magnifying glass to see them.
The eggs are whitish or slightly yellowish in color and have the same shape as the round rice grains used for porridge or risotto, for example. Note, however, that their small size means that you won't mistake them for rice grains (you can barely see them!).
Moth eggs are extremely small and difficult to see with the naked eye - they are also often well hidden in textiles or food
When you think you've seen moth eggs, it's almost always the moth larvae's excrement. The droppings are both larger and often in more accessible locations - all of which help to make them more visible than the eggs.
Where do moths lay their eggs?
The adult moths lay their eggs on the future food sources of their offspring. This allows the newly hatched larvae to immediately start feeding on the material they are on.
What each caterpillar can eat depends on its species. However, sometimes food scarcity and food availability also play a role; a moth species which feeds on organic textiles, for example, may lay its eggs on a plastic jacket lined with feathers. After hatching, the larvae gnaw through the plastic to get to the feathers, which are organic. Similarly, the eggs can also be laid in, for example, a half wool/half cotton sweater, which the larvae can easily feed on.
In a typical home, moths lay their eggs in two places:
- in textiles
- in dry food
In addition, seed moths can also lay eggs in plant materials and certain animal materials around the home, and are often found in bird nests, for example.
|Food sources for larvae
|Typical caterpillar food
|Typical egg laying sites
|Organic textiles and possibly also synthetics or plant textiles
|Wool, silk, feathers and down, but also mixed textiles and impure textiles
|Textiles in cabinets, drawers, bags, boxes, etc. and home textiles
|Organic textiles and dry food
|Especially fur, feathers and down, but also silk, wool, etc. as well as dry foods such as seeds, spices, tea, etc.
|Textiles in cabinets, drawers, bags, boxes, etc. as well as home textiles and kitchen cabinets
|Organic textiles, plant materials and certain animal materials
|Wool, fur, seeds, grain, cereals, cork, dried plants, bird nests, etc. but also leather, skins, animal feed, dead insects, etc.
|Wardrobes, kitchen cabinets, utility rooms, garages, basements, attics, gardens and more.
|Two-colored seed moth
|Dry food and plant materials
|Groats, seeds, bulgur, rice, spices, semolina, cereals and more
|Kitchen cabinets and other places where dry food is stored
Clothes moths (i.e. clothes moths and fur moths - and to a certain extent also seed moths) usually lay their eggs hidden in textiles; clothes moths, for example, often lay their eggs in clothing folds, pockets, under collars, etc. Fur moths often lay their eggs in fur, where the eggs are hidden among the many hairs of the fur. You can read more about clothes moths here.
Food moths (i.e. the two-colored moths - and to a certain extent also the seed moths and fur moths) lay their eggs in dry foods, such as spices, grains, seeds, cereals, breakfast cereals and the like. In some cases, the infestation is not visible at first glance - in other cases it is obvious.
When you notice the presence of moths, it's usually the larvae, their excrement or their webs that you see (and not the moth eggs!). The larvae also tend to move towards the surface of the food, so they will eventually become visible.