Different Types Of Moths That Can Ruin Your Day

There are many different types of moth that exist throughout the planet. The moth is a type of lepidopteron insect (scaly wing) just like butterflies. Lepidoptera insects make up the group of insects that have the second largest number of species. This group has more than one hundred and eighty thousand species in total. Only ten percent of this group belongs to diurnal butterflies. The rest belongs to moths. Moths, like butterflies and other types of insects, develop through the process of metamorphosis and have to go through several stages before they become the insect that we all know.

Stages Of Moth Development

These stages are: egg, larval, pupal and adult. Each adult moth will lay at least fifty to one hundred eggs. After a few days, from these eggs a small larva hatches, that will feed on any animal-based proteins (wool, skin, etc.) that it can find for at least three months.

So on a side note, it’s never actually the adult moths that are eating your clothes, leaving those annoying holes in their wake. It’s their freshly hatched moth larva. They are only ever a threat to your wardrobe whilst in their larval stage. Once they are in the pupal stage, they are undergoing metamorphosis in their cocoon and will not need to eat. And again, when they finally emerge as an adult moth, they do not actually have mouths, as they live off of the stored energy from their larval stage.

Some Different Types Of Moths

There are a wide variety of moth species but for the purpose of this article we are sticking to some of the more common species of moth that are most commonly regarded as nuisances or pests. Some of them are:

Cabbage Moth

Scientific Name: Plutella Xylostella

Habitat: Tropical and subtropical regions.

The cabbage moth is more than just a pest, this moth can be particularly damaging, particularly to the profits of cabbage cultivation. It doesn’t just affect cabbages, these nasty little moths have no problem going to town on cauliflower and broccoli plants either. They have also been known to seek out radish leaves also. They will usually feed underneath the leaf without touching the veins of the leaf and sometimes they can do this whilst leaving the top layer of the leaf intact. This can make them quite hard to spot before it’s too late.  The moth larvae are little savages, munching the leaves and damaging the crop from a commercial point of view as well. If the infestation is big enough farmers can lose entire crops to these pests.

If the larvae eat a load of holes into the leaves, as the leaves grow, these small holes enlarge. This results in all the plant’s leaves being full of holes, this is very limiting for its growth and final crop yield. Those hungry larvae usually go for the leaves, especially with broccoli and cauliflowers, however they have no issue feeding on any fresh buds on younger plants, again stunting its growth and the total yield. Sometimes the larvae can be spread through export. On occasion moth cocoons will be found in heads of broccoli. The reason we have opened with this moth is really just down to its economically destructive behaviour. There are few moths that cause as much widespread damage as the cabbage moth.

With regards to different control strategies or methods of elimination. Due to their long history and exposure to our pesticides, they have built up quite a decent resistance to pesticides over the years. It is therefore recommended that insecticide resistance tests are carried out first in order to give the best recommendations as to what is the best product combinations to use in order to get rid of these nuisance moths and to stop them destroying an entire crop.


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Oriental Peach Moth

Scientific Name: Cydia Molesta

Habitat: In countries with 4 seasons and where these plants are grown

Eastern Peach Moth, it’s latin name is Cydia molesta. Not speaking Latin we can only presume this mean peach molester. At least that’s what we like to think it means anyway. These are small moths that can cause serious damage to buds and fruits. They have a certain fondness for peach trees and, can also attack quince, almond bushes as well as apple, plum and cherry trees.
The adult peach moth has a wingspan of 12 mm. They have wings that are a homogeneous dark gray color, with sort of white spots sometimes. Although the african variety of this species has been known to be very colourful. Their eggs are of a lenticular shape. The larva can grow up to 8 mm long, and are a cream to pink colour, with a noticeable chestnut head. They have a structure called the anal comb, in its last abdominal segment. This structure that does not have a Cydia pomonella and that allows a method of differentiating them.
To control this pest and to stop any more damage occurring chemical treatment must be used. If you notice any damage to the buds, it is imperative to take action immediately to prevent damage to the fruit as well. The different types of chemicals that are often used are Deltametrin, Fention, Metidation, Fenitrotion, Acepfato, Diazinon, Fosmet or Methomyl.


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Clothing Moth

Scientific Name: Tineola Pellionella

Habitat: Dark areas & in the shadows, mainly houses

Another one fo those nuisance types of moths; the clothes moth (also known as tineola pellionella) is one of the few insects that has the ability to survive the winter season all thanks to the central heating of our houses, buildings or any spaces that people also occupy. (Sake)

They are pretty small insects, measuring in at just 8mm. They live mostly in houses and warehouses, as well as in the odd bird nest on occasion. They like darkness, contrary to common moths that are attracted to light. They are also pretty poor at flying and don’t really tend to stray too far from any infested areas. This is typically why they arent that fussed with light the same way that other moths are.

These moths are most definitely one of the top nuisance pests in the world. Not to mention the potential for economic damage. Granted a hole in a sweater might not be so bad but what about in a carpet warehouse. At the end of the day these little guys will eat absolutely anything that contains the animal protein keratin. That means wool, leather, silk and feathers are all on the menu for these day ruin-ers.

Thanks to their preferred habitat being our human dwellings, it means that they can be a constant nuisance all year round. Since they prefer the dark, they usually hide in the back of wardrobes amongst your clothes. As a result, they often go undetected as no one ever realizes their presence until it’s too late.

Even just a few moths hanging around your wardrobe has the potential to be disastrous. A single female will lay at least 50 eggs in one go. And those larvae are the ones that are going to absolutely wreck your shit once they hatch. Emerging like mindless keratin seeking zombie.

The larvae will usually live about 35 days, but this depends greatly on the environment. During this time, they can cause a fair amount of destruction to clothes and blankets. Remember it is not the adult moth that feeds. It only reproduces and after two weeks it dies (1 month in the case of males).

The other difference with this moth compared to other clothing moths can be seen in its larval stage. The larvae will create these tube casings out of the same material as the fabric they are eating. If they are in anyway disturbed, they will hide back into the casing. As these casings are the same material as the fabric they often blend in very well and can often go unnoticed for some time at which point you have quite a moth infestation on your hands.

With regard to their control and elimination, the most common chemical that is used is naphthalene balls or bags, however these are not really that great for humans or pets to be coming into contact with. They can also stain fabrics and have to be used in air tight containers so that the vapors don’t leak into your house too much. They just really aren’t ideal. A much cleaner option is to use cedar chippings, Indian lilac and lavender. The combination of these ingredients will deter any nuisance moths from hanging around your wardrobes or cupboards.

Finally, there are anti-moth sprays and aerosols that you can get, these can be used both preventatively on clothes and to eliminate larvae and moths once a closet has been infested.


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Webbing Clothes Moth

Scientific Name: Tineola Bisselliella

Habitat: Widely distributed across many countries around the world.

The webbing clothes moth is one of the most common moth that eats fabric. One of the real day ruining types of moths. The adult is gold with reddish gold hairs on the top of his head. A row of gold hairs borders its wings, which measure approximately 12 mm. Because these moths are weak at flying they are not attracted to the light. Instead they are usually found near infested items, such as a dark area in the back of the closet.

Do not confuse the webbing moth with that of the case bearing clothes moth or the pantry moth that infests the home. On average the webbing moths are only about 6 or 7 mm long, while most of the moths that infest food storage areas are almost twice that length.

The webbing clothes moths will tend to stay close to the infested area. Their flight pattern is rather distinctive, the typically just flutter around instead of taking a more direct path.

The adult webbing clothes moth is similar in size and appearance to the case bearing clothes moth, although the wings of the clothes moth are more brownish and have light dark spots. In addition, the hairs of its head are lighter in color than those of the webbing moth. The webbing clothes moth larvae however do not create the same casings that the case bearing clothes moth moth larvae make.

When it comes to the control of the webbing clothes moth there are many chemical products available. The most commonly used chemicals to prevent infestation are the naphthalene balls and bags, which, however, have the unfortunate disadvantage that they can stain the fabrics you are trying to protect in the first place. They also must be placed in an airtight container, so that the vapors do not escape, as they are quite harmful to people. A more environmentally friendly option is to use lavender, neem and cedar. You can use the essential oils and place them on a cotton ball and leave them in the areas you’ve seen them lurking around before.


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Indian Meal Moth

Scientific Name: Plodia Interpunctella

Habitat: Everywhere

Plodia interpunctella also known as the banded moth or Indian meal moth is a Lepidoptera Ditrisio of the family Pyralidae. This insect is native to the European continent, but its great resistance to environmental changes has led it to conquer almost the entire world.

Adult moths measure between 1.2 to 1.8 centimeters and are easily recognized by the tips of their copper-colored wings. The larvae of the Indian meal moth can usually be found in infested food products. These can often be nuts such as almonds or even cereals, chocolates, grains, baking mixes, pet foods and of course flour.

While they are feeding, they make a silk protective tunnel, so if you can see excrement and pieces of silk, it is surely a case of the Indian meal moth. Many expert scientists agree that the Indian meal moth is one of the most common pests in homes and businesses around the world.

Like many species of moth, the adult Indian meal moth does not cause any damage to the stored foods. It’s actually only the larva that chows down with its voracious appetite on many different foods. In fact, there have been cases where these larvae have actually been able to penetrate closed plastic packaging.

As always, we say the best solution to these moth related problems is prevention. And the same goes for the Indian meal moth. It is best to store any food inside of glass jars or thick plastic containers. If an infestation is out of hand well then, the other option is to use chemicals. It’s really not ideal to be around these chemicals so it could be best to let the professionals handle things. Alternatively, you could try some of the natural alternatives mentioned previously.

Another method of eliminating this pest is through non-toxic traps, these are basically boxes with glue and bait. The Indian meal moth is very resistant, so it is very difficult to eradicate. This is why it has earnt a spot on our list of the worst types of moths to piss people off ever.


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Potato Moth

Scientific Name: Phthorimaea Operculella (Europe) & Tecia Solanivora (US)

Habitat: Everywhere

It is definitely one of the smaller types of moths on our list, measuring in at only about 1 centimetre in size. The potato moth flies at night or at the end of the afternoon. Besides the potato, it also attacks other cultivated plants such as tobacco, aubergine, tomato and peppers.

The larvae will grow to measure around 1 centimetre and is a sort of dirty yellow color. They will eat into the leaves and also some of the tubers that are close to the soil and leave the potatoes completely useless as they are no longer fit for consumption. Although the moth does attack the above ground parts of the plant, the bigger and more irritating damage is done to the tubers when they are piled up in the field or in the warehouses. Then later on the potatoes will be infected with different fungi and bacteria and ultimately will begin to rot whilst being stored.


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Book Moth

Scientific Name: Anobium Punctatum, Ptinus Fur & Ptinus Mollis

Habitat: Librarian’s nightmares and absolutely everywhere else on this planet

In general, the majority of damage caused by insects feeding on paper or book binding materials, is caused by the book moth. (Librarian Gasps). There are a few different species of moth that fall into the book moth category, ultimately because the larvae offspring of all of these moths have a particular hankering for feeding on wood or any plant materials that contains starch. Unfortunately, these are literally the primary ingredients for literature.

Despite there being a few types of moths that would be considered book moths, the most common species of book moth is the Anobium Puntatum, it is particularly more common in countries or regions with a more temperate climate. Theses larvae will literally burrow into the paper and produce a series of tunnels.

These little pests give a whole new meaning to the word book worm. I might never feel the same holding a library book again. These cloth moth larvae are less than half a millimeter in size, so you are going to need to be going round with a magnifying glass to detect them. Chances are you will only know that you have a book moth problem when the damage from an infestation becomes apparent. At that stage it may be too late. Prevention is definitely the key. Especially if you are in possession of any rare old books or any first editions. These same types of moths will plague art galleries and anywhere that old paper type antiquities are stored. There are a number of products to deter moths and insects in general. Be careful to select a method for deterring moths that has the least chance of damaging the items you are trying to protect.


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The Life Cycle Of Common House Moths


The eggs hatch in quite a short time (anywhere from 2-14 days depending on the types of moth and their environment), giving rise to the almost microscopic caterpillars. These will grow as they are fed. The larvae of the moths are white, or cream colored with a round brown head.

When the moth larvae have reached their required size, they form their cocoon and pupate. In the case of clothing moths, this phase usually lasts anywhere from 10-50 days, whereas with fruit moths it is longer, anywhere from 2 to 41 weeks depending on the temperature and general environmental conditions. In ideal conditions of temperature and humidity (about 24ºC and 70% humidity), the whole cycle of the moths lasts a month, although depending on these factors it can extend several months and up to 2 years.

From the cocoon emerges an adult moth, which only focus their activity on reproducing. The males die after the copulation and the females after laying her eggs.

How To Detect The Presence Of Different Types Of Moths At Home


The clothing moths, unlike most moths, are not attracted to light, but seek dark places to hide. The presence of adult moths inside your cupboards or drawers where clothes are stored is a sure enough sign of a potential infestation. In addition, these moths are known to not fly very far, some moths never fly, but they move by jumping or running. In addition, clothing items will exhibit signs of damage, with abrasions on the surface, or in the case of a heavy infestation, there will be visible holes.

In the case of fruit moths, the food that the larvae are going for will likely be kept in materials that the larvae will be able to munch their way through. Especially when they reach larger sizes, they can easily be seen inside the containers or bags where the food is stored. Adults usually fly in zigzags out of the cupboards or drawers where the food is stored. In addition, when the caterpillars are about to pupate, they will move away to make the pupa. In kitchens, for example, they are often seen circling around walls or ceilings.

Measures To Fight Types Of Moths In The Home

There are certain measures that you must take into account if you are trying to prevent different types of moths from invading your home and your personal belongings.

Keep clothes clean and free of stains.

Store grains, tomatoes and flour that take time to consume, dry and at a cold temperature.

Store clothes in plastic bags or in airtight plastic crates.

Use chemicals that are anti-moth: very effective but not the best to be exposed to these chemicals.

Necessary to know: moths choose clothes that have not been washed and those that have not been used for long periods of time.

Rub wooden furniture with cedar or neem oil to protect them.

Store washed and dried potatoes. If you delay their consumption, store at cold temperatures.



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