If you notice moths in your home, it's usually one of the following species:
- Clothes moth
- Fur moth
- Two-colored seed moths
- Frog moth
Below you can read more about these 4 species and their occurrence and behavioral patterns in the home.
Food: The larvae of the clothes moth feed mainly on organic textiles such as wool, silk, feathers, etc. In practice, the clothes moth larvae often attack hanging clothes or other textiles. Note that clothes moths can only survive in the home and not in nature.
Characters: If you find riddled clothing, which may also be soiled with small white excrement and webs (from the larvae), it may very well be caused by clothes moths. Note, however, that both fur moths and seed moths can also pierce clothing and other textiles.
CombatThe control of clothes moths is about 1) inspecting all textiles thoroughly for larvae and eggs, 2) cleaning all textiles and storage areas, and 3) storing all textiles in well-sealed bags. A more detailed instruction can be found via the link below.
Food: Fur moth larvae feed on organic textiles like clothes moth larvae, but can also feed on dry foods in rare cases. Fur moth larvae mainly attack fur, but can also easily feed on other types of textiles.
Characters: If you have a fur coat hanging in a closet and you notice large furless patches (where the fur has "fallen off"), it's most likely due to fur moths. Their larvae gnaw through the hair at the root of the fur and typically move around in a confined area, resulting in the furless patches.
CombatJust like with clothes moths, combating fur moths is about inspecting all textiles in your home, cleaning them and their storage areas, and preventing future infestations by storing all textiles in tightly sealed bags. A more detailed instruction can be found via the link below.
Two-colored seed moths
FoodIn the home, two-colored seed moth larvae feed primarily on dry foods such as cereals, breakfast cereals, spices, bulgur, etc. However, they can also feed on various plant materials.
Characters: Larval webs in food or food that clumps together due to larval feces are two very typical signs of two-colored seed moths. The larvae are usually difficult to spot. The adult moths are attracted to light and if you see them flying or running around, this is almost a sure sign of a moth infestation.
CombatTo control two-colored seed moths, do three things; 1) inspect all foods, 2) discard all infested foods, 3) clean all kitchen cabinets and 4) prevent future infestations by storing all dry goods in airtight containers. A more detailed instruction can be found via the link below.
FoodSeed moth larvae have the largest food spectrum of all the moth species commonly found in the home. They can feed on organic materials, plant materials and some animal materials. However, in the home, seed moths are often thought of as clothes mothas they typically attack textiles.
Characters: If seed moths have infested textiles, this is usually indicated by holes in clothing, which may also be accompanied by the larvae's webs and excrement. If they are present in food, these are the same signs of the two-colored seed moths (see above).
CombatWhen seed moths appear in the home, they may very well originate from a bird's nest in the vicinity of the home. In some cases, it could also be an insect nest. Therefore, it is important to inspect your surroundings if you are infested with seed moths. The rest of the control process is pretty much the same as if you have clothes/fur moths or two-colored seed moths (depending on whether it is textiles or food that is infested). More detailed instructions on how to control seed moths can be found via the link below.
Moths in the closet
Moths are often divided into two groups, which also live in two different locations:
- Clothes moth: Clothes moths often live in closets, drawers, basements, attics and other undisturbed places where organic textiles are stored. If you've found one or more moths in a wardrobe, it's almost always a clothes moth or fur moth.
- Food moth: In private households, food moths feed mainly on the dry foods found in, for example, kitchen cabinets. Moths prefer food in cupboards rather than on shelves as they are more enclosed, dark and undisturbed. In addition, most people often keep food in their cupboards for months or years, which is ideal for moth breeding. If you find moths in your kitchen cupboards, they are most likely two-colored seed moths or seed moths.
Moths in the house
It should be mentioned that some moth species (especially seed moths) are generally more common in houses than in apartments. This is especially true if the house has a garden or is located in the countryside, because these places often have bird nests, insect nests, carrion, dead insects, etc.
Old houses are also usually more prone to moth infestation because there are more cracks, crevices, holes, etc. which moths prefer. Once moths have established themselves in the house, they can become a significant problem.
Other species in the home
If you've discovered moths in your home and you don't think it's any of the above species, check out our expanded overview with 12 moth species here.
You can also use the chart on our moth themed page to compare the different species.