Moths can be a problem in some homes and learning what they eat is important. An infestation is not uncommon and, before you know it, you may find these critters in your closets and kitchen pantries.
To know how to deal with these pests is to know what moths eat and understand their behavior. The insects typically avoid light and prefer to live in darker areas. To that end, you should expect to find them not only in your closets but in your basement, or perhaps even attics and crawlspaces. You will find them hiding in corners, crevices, and of course, clothing. Moths can make their habitats by infesting in these places long before you know they are even noticed by homeowners. You may go for months without seeing any insects, and then, when the weather gets cold and you reach for your wool coat, you may notice gaping holes in it.
Adult moths are not the culprits. It is larvae that feed off of and destroy your clothing. Not only are they responsible for damaging wool, they also feed on other natural materials, such as silk, fur, felt, hair and feathers. They also eat grains, so it should come as no surprise if you find moth larvae in containers of oatmeal or cream of wheat in your kitchen.
Moth larvae are not difficult to identify. They look similar to butterfly larvae (caterpillars), with long, soft bodies, with six-jointed legs along with one-to-five unjointed legs (called "prolegs"), often protected with hair or spikes and have heads with chewing mouthparts. They have large eyes with antennae that have branches on the ends. Different species may vary somewhat in look.
There are ways to protect your clothing to avoid the damage moth larvae cause to it. Before putting your wool and other natural fabrics away for the change in seasons, air them out and brush them thoroughly to ensure there are no moths or moth eggs on them. It would also be wise to vacuum the clothing, just to be safe. Seal them tightly in heavy paper or in a tightly sealed cardboard box. Paper is ideal due to the fact that moths cannot chew or eat through it.