Fluttering around evening lights, moths may seem like a harmless nuisance. But left unchecked, moths can wreak havoc on plants, trees, clothing and stored food items.
Like butterflies, moths undergo a complete metamorphosis: egg, larva (caterpillar), pupa (cocoon) and adult. After mating, adult moths deposit dozens of eggs on a food source for the caterpillars to feed on as they emerge. The caterpillar’s sole goal is to eat. Therefore, the most damage to vegetation, clothing and food occurs during this stage. After the caterpillar completes the pupal stage, it emerges as an adult moth, and the cycle begins again.
The DC area is home to many kinds of moths, including pantry pests like the Indian meal moth, clothing moths, and moths that attack trees and crops, such as the gypsy moth and the diamondback moth. Most moths in the DC area appear in late spring and complete their lifecycles by fall.
Signs of a Moth Problem
Signs of a moth problem in your home can go undetected until you notice damage to clothing, carpets, food items or vegetation. Clothes moths are drawn to wool products and can feed underneath a rug for quite some time without being noticed. Clothes moths may also feed on cotton fabrics if they are mixed with wool or contain bits of food.
Pantry moths like the Indian meal moth are notorious for invading stored food items like flour, cereal, dry pet food and spices. You will spot evidence of pantry moths in the caterpillars themselves, or by the spun silk or droppings they leave on the surface of food.
Damage to tree leaves, bark or garden vegetables is another sign of a moth problem. In recent years, the DC area has seen an influx of gypsy moths, which are considered the most destructive moth to forest and shade trees. Infestations of these types of pests can wipe out crops and trees and must be controlled carefully by professionals.
How to Get Rid of Moths
Moth control must be tailored to the type of pest and is best left to professionals. State and local governments have guidelines and protocols to suppress destructive outbreaks of gypsy moths.
Eliminating infestations of clothes and pantry moths requires finding the source. Sometimes the source is not in a kitchen or closet, but in a garage, attic or other storage area. No matter what type of moth problem you are facing, we will eliminate the pests using environmentally responsible products that target moths at every stage of their lifecycle.