Moths are insects which are usually considered harmless to humans. There are about 160 000 species, however, the clothes moth and the pantry moth seem to be the most bothersome to humans. This is usually due to the fact that they tend to eat items we’d rather have them not eat. So, what do moths eat? The clothes moth larvae can be found infesting clothing and upholstery, each one of them eating away to its adult years. In particular, clothes moth feed on keratin-rich fabrics like wool, fur, silk, feathers, felt, and leather. The pantry moth insects feed on actual food, usually found in the pantry, like dried foods: nuts, flours and spices. The pantry moth’s larvae spin silk webs inside food containers, which makes it a bit easier to infer their presence.
Adult clothes moths can be about a third of an inch long, no less than their larvae which is just about half an inch long. Part of their body is white/grey with red/brown wings, and their larvae are off-white with creepy looking little legs. The adult clothe moth’s appearance makes them easy to confuse with the pantry moth because they look so similar, but one easy way to differentiate between them is how they react around light. Clothes moths avoid light and usually hide inside dark areas, as opposed to the pantry moth which can be found in well-lit areas. There are also moth species which are known to suck blood from vertebrates; vampire moths.
It is claimed that these moths can also pierce human skin and suck the blood from an unsuspecting victim. But they are generally not of much concern and are considered harmless to humans. These vampire moths are native to Malaysia, the Urals and southern Europe. They have now recently been showing up north of Europe in places like Sweden and Finland. In this blog post, however, we will focus on the clothes moth and the pantry moth. We will answer the question of whether they can lay eggs in your hair, how to identify moth eggs, where do moths lay their eggs usually, and we’ll also look into reducing moth infestations in the relevant places -particularly when they’re found inside your home.
Where do moths lay their eggs?
The female pantry moth can lay about 400 eggs at a time, usually near food sources, and the larvae produced from the pantry moth usually live for about 2 – 3 months before balling up into a cocoon and later transforming into an egg-laying moth of action. The pantry moth’s eggs are tiny and look like a combination of grey and white. These eggs are usually laid in their food sources to make it easier for the larvae to feast once the eggs hatch. These food sources are pretty much any dry food lying around, above those already mentioned, even pet food!
The clothes moths, on the other hand, are insects that are less generous in providing offsprings. They can lay about 40 to 50 eggs over a period of several weeks near food sources on suitable fabrics like cashmere, fur and wool. These fabrics have to be able to hold onto the eggs and should usually be in dark and undisturbed locations. Their eggs are pinhead-sized; they are so small you cannot see them with the naked eye you’ll need help from magnifying glass or microscope.
Can the cloth moth lay eggs in my hair?
If your hair has fallen off and is in a dark place, then clothes moth may lay their eggs near or on your hair. This doesn’t just apply to human hair, also pet hair. But it only makes sense for a clothe moth to do so if there is plenty of hair, or other food sources nearby because the eggs hatch into moth larvae that will need food to cocoon up into adulthood. If your hair is still on your head and you don’t live in darkness most of the time and you wash your hair, there is nothing to worry about; clothes moths cannot lay their eggs on your hair. They won’t even try to.
There are other insects that can lay eggs in your hairs though, insects like Botflies which lay their eggs beneath the scalp’s surface where the hatched egg creature can burrow into human skin. Chiggers are also similar to Botflies, but they are not insects and though they burrow through human skin, they don’t live on blood so they will eventually die inside.
How do I get rid of moths in my house?
How do I get rid of pantry moths from my food?
Some questions you need to ask yourself to locate the presence of a moth is: what does a moth eat? This has already been established for pantry moths: they eat dry food. It is usually cheaper to just prevent a possible presence or infestation of pantry moths. To do this, always inspect the food you buy, look out for their eggs, though small, and the presence of larvae.
Even after purchasing, always make sure you seal your food in airtight containers. Doing this may save you some time and money. Once you have an infestation, which is you can clearly see if an adult moth is flying around in your kitchen usually at night (given the number of eggs those things reproduce), then you’ll have to take the either of the following measures:
- Preferably throw out all your dry foods and all the food near it.
- The above isn’t always practical. Instead, you could locate the infestation and throw out those foods. To do so, you’ll need to look for cocoon webbing or wormlike larvae in your dry foods. Also, look in other food sources and things like cereal boxes and plastic containers where you may just find a moth of few fly out or a cocoon webbing. Once you have methodically located all infestations from your noodles, oatmeal, cereals, pet treats, candy bowels, etc… throw these out and thoroughly cleanse your shelves; drawers, handles, hinges, everything especially the parts unexposed to light. Throw the bad food out, not into a trashcan that is in the in house, but outside.
How do I get rid of the moths from my clothes?
Identifying a clothes moth infestation using takes observing their food sources; your clothes. Eaten clothes aren’t necessarily a sign of a clothe moth infestation. If such is found, then it may also mean there are some other bugs or insects that are feeding on your clothes. These could be easier and less time consuming to get rid of. Bugs like beetles with relatively larger eggs that are easily sucked up by a vacuum. In fact, most moths found in homes may just feed on plants and not your clothes. But of course, if there are missing bits on your clothes and you do identify a moth cocoon, silk web, or even the larvae, then it’s action time. To get rid of clothes moth, do the following
- Look for moths in clothes or signs of them, since they love dark places in order to identify a region of the infestation.
- Once you’ve identified that damage to your clothing is caused by these insects, you may proceed to dispose of all your clothes that are irreparably damaged.
- Thoroughly clean all the remaining clothes; preferably dry-clean them as this is one of the most effective ways to get rid of them. Another thing that may help is washing them with hot water. Though always remember to check what washing conditions your clothes can handle as stipulated by the manufacturer.
- Thoroughly clean your closest, make sure you get all the corners and dark places.
- For items you don’t clean or wash, heat them up in the sun and brush them hard. Make sure that all found insects on your clothes remain outside after this process. Freezing is also a commonly suggested technique but not always effective. For it to be effective, you need to find a way to rapidly decrease the temperature and at that, the infested clothing must be frozen for about 72 hours at least.
If the infestation persists, it’s time to do the most human thing there is to do. Get help. Call people in your area who perhaps specialise in moth infestation to help you get rid of it. And remember to always keep your clothes clean and dry in places that aren’t easily accessible by creatures from the outside.
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