There are more than 100,000 species of moths. They are related to butterflies and in some parts of the world both moths and butterflies are a component of daily diets. Moths also produce the silk worm larvae along with the Gypsy moth larvae – two examples of beneficial and destructive moths.
Indian Meal Moth
This primarily pantry moth is easily identified by the copper colored band across the wings. The larvae of this insect can infest a wide variety of dried foods such as dog food, cereal, bread, rice, pasta, flour spices, dried fruit and nuts. They are often found in bird and grass seed. It is not unusual to have adults flying in one part of the home while they are reproducing in the garage or pantry; so inspection is the key to control.
Once the source of the infestation is found and removed, trapping and disposing of the adults before they lay more eggs will eliminate the problem.
As with the Indian Meal moth, the larvae of the clothes moth does the damage. The adult moth lays eggs on a suitable fabric (animal or plant based) and when the eggs hatch they use that fabric as their food source. They build cocoons (cases) and discovery of these cases or the actual holes in clothing is what alerts humans to a problem. By the time the damage is discovered a garment or rug can be ruined. Expensive Oriental rugs are often of target of these destructive pests.
Sanitation is important in preventing damage from these moths. Frequent vacuuming of closets and baseboards can remove this insect. Rotating seasonal clothing in sealed plastic bags can keep them out.
Moths are attracted to light. Keeping doors closed and windows properly screened may help in keeping moths away. There is some evidence that swapping white outdoor lighting for yellow lighting may discourage moth attraction.
Color – Vary in color
Length – Vary in size and shape
Diet – Some moths prefer anything that’s dried: nuts, grain, cereal, seeds, corn meal or other dried goods. Other moths prefer to feed on fabrics that have been made from natural fibers like silk or wool.
Habitat – Usually found in places where dried foods are being stored.
Impact – Moths can contaminate the food they contact by leaving behind their waste, while others can damage wool or silk clothing.