Moths can be a real problem! Anyone who has experienced a moth infestation will tell you that they are sometimes not easy to get rid of. This is why many people choose to use moth balls or mothball alternatives to address the problem of moth larvae in their home. Many people do not realise that it is actually the larvae of moths that are destructive. A full grown moth will not destroy your clothes, food or carpets. It is the immature moth, in larvae form, that eats away at your treasured possessions.
Moths, just like mothballs, come in various shapes and sizes. Some of the most common are carpet moths, pantry moths and clothes moths. These are generally the kinds of moths that plague people’s homes and require some form of extermination or pest control. This may include moth balls and other alternatives as part of a moth control strategy.
Different Kinds of Moth
Clothes moths can be a real and sometimes expensive pest. Clothes moth larvae feed on wool, feathers, fur, hair, leather, lint, dust, paper, and occasionally cotton, linen, silk, and synthetic fibers. Most damage is done to articles left undisturbed for a long time, so moth balls have traditionally been used in stored containers together with the clothing or fabric to prevent them being damaged by these pests.
Damaged fabrics have holes eaten through them by small, white moth larvae. Moths are destructive during the larvae stage. Once grown the adult moths are harmless.
Pantry Moths are a general term used to describe any moths found in your kitchen or pantry. They love to feed on grains found in your food stores. Specifically, pantry moths are either indian meal moths or mediterranean flour moths. People also call this type of moth a meal moth, a food moth, grain or seed moths or miller moths. All of these aliases refer to the pantry moths mentioned above.
The life span of pantry moths varies according to conditions. Once the egg has been laid, it will hatch into larvae after approximately 7 days. It is during this stage that the feeding begins, and it is the larvae that must be eradicated. If adult moths are disposed of the cycle can be broken and an infestation of moths averted. Certainly, if you find a pantry moth flying around in your kitchen, you can be certain that there are eggs waiting to hatch somewhere else in your food stores, and immediate action is needed to prevent an outbreak.
Sometimes referred to as a brown house moth, the Carpet Moth Larvae feed on a wide range of animal textiles including wool, leather and feathers. Because of the nature of carpet moths and the fabrics they devour, it can become very expensive to replace damaged goods if these pests are not dealt with at the soonest opportunity.
Generally moth balls are used to kill clothes moths primarily, but are also used as part of a wider strategy to destroy other kinds of moth infestation. Mothballs come in different forms, but because of their pungent smell, many people prefer to use alternatives such as cedarwood moth products or lavender.
Moth balls are used to kill moth larvae and thus control their spread.
Mothballs tend to have one of two active ingredients: dichlorobenzene or naphthalene. Both of these ingredients have a strong, pungent odor which repels and ultimately kills the moth larvae. For moth balls to be effective, they need to be placed with the clothing in a sealed container so the fumes can build up and kill the moths. In a sealed atmosphere like this, the fumes are not harmful to people because they are contained. Once the container with the clothes and moth balls is carefully opened in a well ventilated place the clothes should be aired thoroughly before wearing them.
Potential dangers of mothballs
Both naphthalene and paradichlorbenzene are volatile chemicals with potential health risks. They work by releasing a gas that ferments and grows stronger over time, and can be hazardess to humans and animals. They are especially toxic if digested, so be sure to keep them away from animals and children. It is wise to only use the mothballs in areas where your pets or young children will not be able to access them. It has also been discovered that mothball chemicals are carcinogens so it is essential that they be used according to the manufacturers instructions. As a registered pesticide they should always be used according to the pesticide label instructions.
Mothballs and cats and other household pets
It is not recommended to use mothballs in exposed areas outside for the reasons outlined above. If ingested by household pets, they will cause sickness sand sometimes even kill the animal.
Alternatives To Moth Balls
A less toxic alternative is cedar or lavender blocks, shavings or oil. The blocks are expensive but a highly effective moth repellant, and are not dangerous. The odour of these alternatives is also much more pleasant.
Again, the container needs to be closed in order for the cedar scent to have a real effect on moths. Simply place a few balls in your wardrobes, airing cupboard, drawers or storage boxes to protect your clothes and linen. This is a very common problem so you will easily be able to find companies who supply a range of moth ball products.
Moth traps can also be used such as the X Lure Moth Trap with a pheromone to attract the adult moths.
When To Call In The Experts
Pest Control Companies also have very effective methods at their disposal to eliminate most kinds of household infestations, including moths. If your problem persists it is worth calling some local companies to obtain a quote and rid yourself of these inconvenient pests.
Whether you use moth balls, or an alternative, do not leave a moth infestation in your home to grow. Although they do not necessarily pose a terrible health risk, the damage and discomfort they can cause can be significant. Browse our Moth Balls and Pest Control Advice Articles to find out more.