What attracts moths in the house?

If you have ever seen a moth inside the house, you might wonder where it has come from or what attracts moths in the house. 

It’s common to notice moths indoors and more than likely they got there by accident and are unlikely to cause damage or there are moths there inside your house to breed and let there offspring feed on clothing or stored food.

What attracts moths in the house? Moths are often attracted to your house by light from windows or doors and can enter your house through cracks around frames or when a window or door is open. They can also enter your house as larvae nestled in clothing or in open food packaging that has been stored in a dark room or cupboards.

That being said, it’s good to know the main types of moths that come into your house, how they find there way in, the potential risks and effects of moths in your home and how you can ensure they stay out of your house .

Main types of moths that infest homes

Below are the three most common moths you might find in your house, what they look like and what damage they might do to the food, clothes and material inside your house.

The Brown House Moth (Hofmannophila pseudospretella), measuring less than a half-inch in length, with a wingspan that approaches one inch and brown wings with bronze flecks, the female brown house moth can lay 600 eggs at once. 


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The Pantry Moth (Plodia interpunctella), also known as the Indian meal moth, this moth can often be the most destructive of all the moth species. Just like the brown house moth it measures less than a half-inch in length, with a wingspan that approaches one inch and has grey wings. The female pantry moths can lay up to 300 eggs at a time.

The hungry larvae of both the pantry moth and brown house moth feed on dry food in the pantry or food cupboards. Snacking on grains, dried nuts, cereals, and a variety of processed products. It’s advisable to throw affected produce out if you notice larvae or moths inside as they can contaminate food with feces, cocoons, and web-like material.


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The Webbing Clothes Moth (Tineola bisselliella) and the Casemaking Clothes Moth (Tinea pellionella), often just referred to as clothes moths tend to stay around the clothing they’ve infested, and they are smaller than moths that infest pantries. 

They have a general golden-brown coloration, with reddish hairs on the head, their distinguishing feature. If you notice them in a closet or drawer, damage to your clothing is almost certain. These moths feed almost exclusively on natural fabrics, especially wool.

Webbing moths prefer woolen items, but may consume and damage other animal type products. They spin a mat or tube of silk webbing to hide them from view during the feeding process.


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Casemaking clothes moths feed from inside cases they make from silk and fibers of the infested garment. Casemaking moths carry around and feed from the case as they move around feeding on the infested item. Both pests chew irregular holes in clothing and leave behind their fecal droppings.


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What attracts moths into your home?

Light attracts moths and as you may well be aware by now. You’ve probably seen moths gather around outdoor lighting or windows where light is coming through at nighttime. 

Moths then often move inside through small cracks in between window frames, door frames or eaves of your house. 

If your opening or closing doors and windows for a short period of time, or leaving them open at night to let cool air into your house, chances are you’re allowing moths into your house this way.

However, light does not account for all moths that can often be found in your house. Once a moths get inside your house they may deposit their eggs or larvae in dark, secluded areas like a pantry, closet, cupboard or wardrobe. 

Sometime the moth eggs or moth larvae often accidentally hitch a ride on someone else’s clothing or in a grocery bag left at your house. So watch out for those clothes you may purchase at a second hand store and make sure they have been washed or go straight in the wash after you purchase them.


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How to stop moths from coming into your home?

Knowing what attracts moths in the house is the best way to help locate the source of them coming into your home. Homeowners who find adult moths around kitchens can look for larvae inside stored food or hiding in cracks and crevices located within the pantry.

When larvae are found, inspect and remove any affected products to prevent the spread. Those who notice holes in clothing should check closets and storage chests for clothes moth activity.

Vacuuming to remove adult moths and larvae, dry cleaning or washing and drying infested clothes. Avoid overcrowding closets and routinely inspecting clothes for damage. These are a few of the preferred methods to help stop moths from coming into your home. 

For pantry pest prevention, use a vacuum inside the pantry to keep things clean. Store products in sealed containers and practice “first in-first out” procedures to help ensure that old, out of date products are not allowed to accumulate.

To stop adult moths from coming in to your home and laying eggs make sure you have no cracks around your windows, doors or eaves. Any windows that are open can have a gauze or netting installed behind it to ensure that no moths can fly through any open windows.

Related Questions


How many species of moths might I find in my house?

There are more than 2000 moths species worldwide but the three most well-known and widespread moth species that you often find in your house are the brown moth, the pantry moth and the clothes moth. 


How long can moths live in my house?

Brown moths, pantry moths and clothes moths get all their nutrition as larvae and the adult forms exist only to breed. For females, this is as short as 4–18 days, while males can live for up to a month.

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