What I Learned From My Exterminator About Dealing With Moths

What I Learned From My Exterminator About Dealing With Moths

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Jennifer Hunter
Sep 29, 2014

In somewhat embarrassing, not-sure-I-should-share-this-online news, I've been dealing with moths in my apartment for the last several months. No fun. My home life has been a "why is this happening" pity party sandwiched between frantic bouts of emptying drawers searching for the source of these annoying little buggers that have been taunting me on the regular. But I think I had a breakthrough thanks to one very friendly exterminator who dropped some major moth knowledge on me today, and now I'm going to share the wealth. (Warning: purely for purposes of identification, gross moth pics ahead.)

This lovely man had been bringing me hormone traps every month, which did help the situation by attracting and trapping the moths inside, but didn't stop more from showing up. Finally I was able to be home when he was scheduled to come by and got the chance to pepper him with questions.

First bombshell: I have grain moths (I'd been unnecessarily sweating over the health of my sweaters for months). Grain moths are lighter in color than clothing moths. Sure enough, mine were light brown like this:

Clothes moths are darker and sometimes flecked, like this:

My exterminator hero told me to check all my grains — pasta, snacks, flours — and food products — like spices — for signs of larvae, which are visible to the human eye (I'm going to spare you those pics, but you can Google it if you're feeling strong). Grain moths also produce a dusty webbing once they've infested an area so if you think your grains or flours have changed texture, do not ignore.

Other surefire signs: a little white pouch hanging from the ceiling or top of a cupboard, usually in a corner — that's a nest. As he left, he took a look at my dog and said, "Make sure to check your dog's food as well."

BINGO

I'd been so diligent for months that I knew my food cupboards were sparkling clean but I didn't consider my dog's food! When I opened an old bag of dog treats abandoned in an extra cabinet...well...you don't want to know.

So I whirlwind scoured and vacuumed all surfaces and corners (the pointy vacuum attachment really helped here) and threw the trash out in the dumpster outside. Now I just need to be diligent to trap or kill any remaining moths I see (to prevent them from starting a new home) and it should (fingers crossed) solve my problem.

My guy's other great tip: make sure to invest in some good, air tight canisters in which to store all open grain products to prevent this from happening again.

More moth tips → How To Prevent & Get Rid Of Pantry Moths.

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