Moths As Pests
Adult moths are not dangerous nor do they pose any significant health risks, but moth larvae cause damage to clothing, fur, leather, fabrics and to carpets. Larvae feed on fibres that are derived from animals including wool and silk. While moth larvae will feast on clothes and other items they prefer dirty or soiled fabrics over clean ones. This is a good reason to keep items that are susceptible to moth infestation clean to protect them from damage.
Do You Have A Moth Infestation?
If you have a moth infestation it will be notable with a few different and obvious signs. First of all there will be adult moths located in darkened areas and they may fly around. If you open a dark closet and see moths inside, you need to take a closer look for larvae. Moth larvae are similar in appearance to maggots. They also may be in cases or silken tubes until they are developed enough to emerge from the casing.
The two most common types of moths are the webbing clothes moth which is about inch long with no distinctive markings and straw-coloured wings. The larvae are a creamy white colour and have a brown head and can be an inch long. They tend to make irregular holes in fabrics. The case bearing clothes moth is fond of imported animal fabrics. Adults are about 6 mm long and are a buff colour and feature three faint spots. The larvae are creamy white and up an inch long. The holes that they make in clothing are more regular in appearance.
In New Zealand, the Meal Moth or Pantry Moth is often found flying around the kitchen. These grey moths lay their eggs on dried stored goods such as flour, cereals, grains etc. The larvae feed on the foodstuff and produce a webbing that is often the only indication of the spoiled food.