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What kind of moth is in my house?

What kind of moth is in my house?

If you’ve noticed moths fluttering around your home, you’re not alone. Many species of moths can be found indoors, especially during certain seasons. Identifying what type of moth you have can be helpful for controlling them and preventing damage to clothes and stored food. Pay attention to the moth’s appearance, behavior, and time of activity to narrow down the possibilities.

Common Types of Indoor Moths

Here are some of the most common household moths:

Clothes Moths

Clothes moths include the webbing clothes moth and casemaking clothes moth. Their larvae feed on natural fibers like wool, silk, felt, and feathers. They don’t eat synthetic fibers. Clothes moths are most active in the warmer months.

Pantry Moths

Pantry moths eat stored grains and cereals. The Indianmeal moth is especially common. Their larvae leave webbing and silk cocoons behind in infested foods. Pantry moths are active year-round but peak in the summer.

Table 1: Common Indoor Moths

Name Food Identifying Traits
Webbing clothes moth Wool, silk, felt, feathers Makes silken tunnels
Casemaking clothes moth Wool, silk, feathers Larva builds portable case
Indianmeal moth Grains, cereals Forewings gray with copper tint

Fungus Moths

Fungus moth larvae feed on mold and fungi. They like damp areas like bathrooms and basements. Their presence may indicate excess moisture.

How to Identify the Moth

Start by observing the moth’s basic appearance:


– Clothes moths are small, about 1/2 inch long
– Pantry moths are slightly larger, with a 1/2 to 5/8 inch wingspan
– Some fungus moths are very small, less than 1/4 inch


– Clothes moths are beige or gold
– Pantry moth wings can be gray, brown, tan, or have banding
– Fungus moths are often solid gray but vary in color

Wing Pattern

– Clothes moths have unmarked wings
– Some pantry moths have distinctive dots or bands on wings
– Fungus moths have solid, unmarked wings


– Clothes moths have feathery, threadlike antennae
– Pantry moth antennae are thinner and less feathery
– Fungus moths have thin, smooth antennae

Next, look for signs of the moth’s feeding habits:

Larval Cases or Tunnels

– Clothes moth larvae spin silken tunnels or cases on fabric
– Pantry moth larvae produce webbing and cocoons in stored food
– Fungus moth larvae don’t make structures

Damage to Materials

– Small holes or tears in wool, felt, or feathers likely indicate clothes moths
– Infested grains, cereals, nuts, flour, and meal suggest pantry moths
– No noticeable damage may mean fungus moths feeding on mold


– Clothes moths concentrate in closets and carpet edges
– Pantry moths gather in kitchen pantries and shelves
– Look for fungus moths in damp basements, bathrooms, etc.

Finally, note when the moths are active:

Time of Year

– Clothes moths peak from May-October
– Pantry moths are year-round but most common in summer
– Fungus moths may be seen anytime but avoid cold

Time of Day

– Clothes and pantry moths fly at night and rest by day
– Fungus moths can be active any time

Putting together the moth’s appearance, damage, location, and activity should help pinpoint its identity. Some key features may overlap between moth species, so you may need to consult an expert if you can’t determine the type. Proper identification will allow you to take the right steps to control an indoor moth infestation.

Preventing Indoor Moths

Once you’ve identified the type of moth in your home, you can take targeted steps to discourage further invasion:

For Clothes Moths:

– Regularly inspect wool clothes, blankets, and carpets for larvae and damage
– Store susceptible fabrics in airtight containers and use cedar blocks or sachets
– Vacuum and clean closets, baseboards, and carpeting frequently
– Dry clean woolen items at the end of each season before storage
– Discard infested fabrics that can’t be saved

For Pantry Moths:

– Discard infested food items
– Store susceptible foods like flour, grains, and cereals in airtight, insect-proof containers
– Clean shelves and cabinets thoroughly after removing infested foods
– Inspect packages and containers of grain-based foods before purchase
– Use pheromone traps to monitor for moths

For Fungus Moths:

– Fix any moisture issues that allow mold growth in the home
– Clean bathrooms, basements, etc. frequently with fungicidal cleaners
– Improve ventilation and air circulation in damp areas
– Replace water-damaged or moldy carpets, drywall, or insulation

Following good sanitation and storage habits makes the home less inviting for moths seeking food and breeding sites. Be especially diligent during seasons when moths are most active. Getting a moth infestation under control quickly can prevent costly damage.

Moth Control Options

If moths become established despite your prevention efforts, you may need to take additional steps to get rid of them:

Method Pros Cons
Vacuuming – Removes and kills larvae/eggs – Time consuming
– Doesn’t kill adults
Pheromone traps – Attracts and traps male moths – Doesn’t always eliminate infestation
Insecticide dusts – Kills larvae and adults – Must be reapplied
– Contain harmful chemicals
Heat treatment – Kills all life stages – Expensive
-Damages sensitive items
Freezing – Kills eggs and larvae – Doesn’t work for adults

Start by frequently vacuuming areas where moths congregate to remove as many eggs and larvae as possible. Pheromone traps can also help reduce the adult male population. For heavy infestations, contact a pest control professional about insecticide dusts or heat treatments. Your pest management approach may combine several methods for the best control.

Preventing Moth Reinfestation

Getting rid of moths doesn’t end the battle. You’ll need to take proactive steps to prevent future infestations:

– Maintain thorough sanitation practices – clean often and eliminate food sources
– Continue using preventive methods like airtight storage and cedar
– Inspect for moths and damage regularly
– Act quickly if you spot moths or any signs of their presence
– Follow up with periodic pest control treatments as needed

Staying vigilant is key. Any eggs or larvae that survive can restart an infestation once they mature. Keep monitoring with pheromone traps and be prepared to take action at the first sign of moths. Getting a jump start on them will help protect your home.


If you see moths flying around your house, don’t ignore them – they could be a sign of a damaging infestation in the making. Identify what kind of moth you have based on its appearance and behavior. Then you can take targeted steps to banish them. Prevention and diligence are vital to keep moths from eating your clothes and food. Maintain good sanitation habits, store fabrics and foods properly, and act quickly if moths do appear. Following an integrated pest management plan using several control methods together can rid your home of moths and prevent their return. With some effort, you can send these unwelcome guests on their way.