Although moths are generally harmless, they can cause a bit of a nuisance.

The insects can wreak havoc once they get into our homes and wardrobes by creating holes in our clothes and fabrics.

A pest control expert has shared his expert advice on how to identify and prevent months as well as how to get rid of them for good. 

Matthew Dickens at commented: "Moths, while not inherently dangerous, can certainly be a nuisance and a threat to your belongings. But fear not!

"With a little detective work, some cleaning power, and a few preventative measures, you can keep your home a moth-free zone. Remember, vigilance is key.

"By regularly inspecting your clothes and pantry, maintaining a clean environment, and utilising natural repellents, you can prevent these fuzzy fiends from taking up residence in your home.

"So go forth, conquer those clothes moths and pantry moths, and reclaim your home as a haven of peace and, most importantly, moth-free bliss!

How to identify moths

Matthew urges people to start by identifying what type of moth you are dealing with before attempting to control the issue.

He explained that clothes moths and pantry moths are the most common types we can find in UK homes.

The former tends to be smaller than the latter.

Knowing which moth you’re dealing with will help you choose the most effective battle plan. 

What is the difference between a clothes or pantry moth?

  • Clothes Moths: These tiny terrors, usually measuring less than an inch, come in various colours, but the most common are webbing clothes moths and brown house moths. Keep an eye out for small holes in your clothes, particularly natural fibres like wool, cashmere, and silk. Another telltale sign is the presence of webbing or silken casings, often hidden in corners of drawers or wardrobes. It’s like finding a miniature spiderweb – that's a red flag for clothes moth activity.
  • Pantry Moths: These larger moths, often reaching an inch or more in wingspan, are typically millers or Indian meal moths. They're drawn to dry foods like cereals, grains, nuts, and dried fruit. Signs of a pantry moth infestation include webbing around food containers, frass (insect droppings that look like a sprinkle of coarse pepper) in your pantry, and, of course, the presence of the moths themselves or their larvae. These are tiny white worms that wriggle around your food stores, looking for their next meal.

Why am I getting moths in the house?

Moths don't just magically appear on their own, according to the expert.

The insects are drawn to attractive breeding grounds.

When it comes to clothes moths, you should inspect your wardrobes, drawers, and anywhere you store textiles.

Matthew urges people to look for holes in clothes, webbing, or moulted skins.

These are all telltale signs of a moth infestation.

You should pay particular attention to areas where you store seasonal items like woolly jumpers or delicate scarves that may not be used frequently.

After all, moths love a good forgotten textile haven.

As for pantry moths, you should check dry foodstuffs like cereals, grains, nuts, and dried fruit for signs of moths or larvae.

You should also examine pet food storage areas as well.

Matthew added: "Don't forget to check out-of-the-way corners and behind appliances where food crumbs or forgotten teacakes might be attracting unwanted guests".

How to get rid of moths in your house

The pest control expert has shared some effective methods to eradicate both clothes moths and pantry moths to help ensure your home is a moth-free zone:

  1. The Big Clean: Wash all potentially infested clothes in hot water (at least 50°C) to kill eggs and larvae. Dry them on high heat for added assurance. For delicate items that can't withstand hot water washing, consider dry cleaning. Vacuum thoroughly, paying attention to corners, crevices, and upholstered furniture. Empty the vacuum cleaner bag outside to prevent re-infestation.
  2. Natural Repellents: Sachets filled with lavender, cedarwood, or cloves can help deter moths. The strong scents of these natural moth repellents disrupt their sense of smell, making it harder for them to find food sources and mates. Place these sachets in drawers, wardrobes, and pantries.
  3. Freezing: Moths and their eggs don't fare well in the cold. Place infested clothes or fabrics in airtight bags and pop them in the freezer for at least 48 hours. This will kill any moth life stages present.
  4. Sticky Traps: Pheromone traps specifically designed for moths can be a helpful tool to monitor and capture adult moths, helping to break the breeding cycle. These traps emit a scent that attracts male moths, effectively trapping them and preventing them from reproducing.

How to prevent moths 

Once you've banished the current moth invasion, Matthew says that is crucial to prevent their return. 

The expert has provided some advice to do just that:

1. Store Clothes Properly: Wash clothes before storing them for long periods. This removes any food sources, like sweat or crumbs, that might attract moths. Store clean, dry clothes in airtight containers or sealed bags.

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2. Declutter Wardrobes and Drawers: Regularly declutter wardrobes and drawers to prevent moths from finding forgotten textile havens. Get rid of old, unused clothes you no longer wear.

3. Air it Out: Ensure good airflow in wardrobes and pantries to prevent moisture build-up, which attracts moths. Consider using a dehumidifier in particularly damp areas.

4. Dry Food Storage: Store dry food in airtight containers, ideally glass jars with lids. This will prevent moths from accessing your food supplies and setting up camp. Discard any infested food products quickly and effectively.