How to Deal with A Moth Infestation

Have you begun to notice that unexplained holes are appearing in clothing, fabrics, or other materials around your home? While clearly annoying, it can be the telltale sign of deeper problems, as these holes usually indicate that you have a moth problem.

Unfortunately, a moth infestation is not the easiest thing to eliminate once established. As we shall see, some moth species are almost entirely immune to standard pheromone treatments, so over-the-counter solutions will not work.

Why are Moths a Problem

You probably haven’t considered moths to be a significant problem, and generally speaking, they aren’t. That is, until you find that you have an infestation. 

Moths don’t just attack and eat clothes, they also are attracted by and consume food, particularly dried products like rice, cornflakes, and pasta. Of course, this can prove to be highly costly, with infected food needing to be disposed of and clothes damaged often being rendered unrepairable.

How do You Know You Have an Infestation

One of the biggest problems is that unless you are an expert, identifying that you have an issue with moths early is unlikely. You will not see hundreds of moths flying around your home and know you have an infestation. Instead, other than unexplained holes, you need to be looking for evidence of larvae or cocoons in wardrobes or chests of drawers.

Indeed larvae can be responsible for some of the most extensive damage. As they prepare to transition into full adults, they require an enormous amount of energy provided by food such as clothing or dried foodstuff. 

What Are the Most Common Varieties of Moths?

There are literally ten of thousands of moth species, but we can reduce this number down to just a handful that are the root cause of most domestic infestations.

Common Clothes Moth: The imago (adult moth) is not a problem as these only feed on flowers. Their larvae, however, are destructive, attacking clothes and fabrics and need to be destroyed.

White-Shouldered Moths: These moths attack foods and textiles, are immune to many chemical treatments, and require experts to locate the source and remove them.

Brown House Moths: This is one of the most widespread species. The species is larger than most other species, so are easily recognizable. They attack all types of material made from animal products, such as wool and silk.

Indian Meal Moth: This moth is attracted to food products and can cause significant damage if left unchecked. Pheromone-based products are effective against this species.

Mediterranean Flour Moth: Although less common than other moth species, these can be highly destructive. As the name suggests, they are usually found near food, bakeries in particular, and are immune to pheromone treatments.

How Do You Effectively Get Rid of Moths

On confirming that you do indeed have a moth infestation, you need to act quickly to prevent the problem from worsening. 

There are two main approaches when looking to deal with a moth infestation problem. The first is to try to eradicate the moths yourself using over-the-counter solutions. The second is to bring in an extermination expert, such as Toxic Respond, to eliminate all the moths and their source. How big a problem you have and which type of moth is responsible will likely determine your approach. 

Over the Counter Solutions

A hunt around on the internet will uncover various over-the-counter treatments that you can put down in the hope that they will eradicate the moths. The most common treatment available is mothballs. 

The trouble with mothballs is that they are only effective in the right conditions, and these involve sealed, airtight bags/containers in which you place infected items. These conditions present an immediate drawback. If the larvae and imago are active in carpets, hanging fabrics, or upholstery, creating an airtight environment is next to impossible.

These shop-bought products can also be hazardous if used incorrectly. Many include the chemicals paradichlorobenzene or naphthalene, which can be harmful to domestic pets and even humans.

Calling in a Pest Control Specialist

The second and generally the better option is to use a pest control specialist to carry out the extermination process. As we have seen, several species of moths are immune to the current chemical treatments available.

Pest control experts have various methods of dealing with these particular species. These include heat, ULV cold fogging, and more specialist chemical treatments that are unavailable to the general public. 

In truth, calling in an expert is the only surefire way of completely removing a moth infestation. Not doing so can become a false economy, as you will likely be forced to do so at some point.


It is clear that moths can be far more problematic than many people actually appreciate. When they realize they have a problem, the infestation has probably already taken hold, and shop-bought remedies are unlikely to eradicate it. A further factor is that incorrect use of these products can cause damage to human and pet health. 

While you might initially balk at the cost of bringing in an expert, it can be a false economy as the longer the problem remains, the more damage the moths will cause.

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