Defender Pest Control Services

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Have moths been wreaking havoc in your home? Perhaps they have ripped some rather unfashionable and unwanted holes in your favourite garments… or perhaps they have left your carpets looking rather bald? If this sounds like you give Defender Pest Control a call we can provide your home or business with a tailor made, one stop, guaranteed solution to any moth infestation you may be experiencing.

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Types of Moth

Moths are part of the Lepidoptera order with approximately 165,000 species across the world. There are approximately 2500 different species of moth living in the UK and while they are mostly considered harmless to humans and generally not a pest, there are 3 moth species that can be pests when they invade our human structures. These 3 culprits are the Common Clothes Moth, Indian-Meal Moth, and White-Shouldered House Moth.

Common Clothes Moth

The Common Clothes Moth is shiny silvery gold in colour with gingery/brown hairs on their head. They are around 5-8mm in length, with 2 antennae and the edges of their wings appear fringed when closely looked at. The Common Clothes Moth has been present in the UK since the 1800’s and is the most common and widespread clothes moth across the world. As a species the Common Clothes Moth causes the most amount of damage when they invade our homes and businesses- they have the potential to cause extensive damage to wool, furs, hides and feather products. Their larvae can be up to 10mm long and are a creamy white colour with a brown head, and it is the larvae that do most of the damage making holes in your favourite garments and fabrics. The total life cycle of the Common Clothes Moth can take anywhere from 3-10 months. The females deliberately lay their eggs amongst fibres that will make a good food material for their larvae to feed on, and these eggs will take 1-5 weeks to hatch. The Common Clothes Moth remains in the larvae stage for 2-7 months and when they reach adult maturity they will only live a matter of days. In warmer climates Common Clothes Moths have been seen living in animal and birds’ nests and are widely considered ‘good’ in these natural habitats as they deal with natures waste such as dead animals.

Indian-Meal Moth

The Indian-Meal Moth has incredibly distinctive colourings, their two front wings are a reddish brown colour with a dark band separating their front wings from their greyish white hindwings. They are 8-10mm in length and their wingspan is an impressive 16-20mm, they also have 2 antennae. The Indian-Meal Moth is often found flying around kitchens and food stores and is a stored product insect meaning they can infest products such as flours, cereals, and biscuits. They are also known to enter our human environment on imported foods such as dried fruits, peanuts, and cocoa beans. As with the Common Clothes Moth it is the Indian-Meal Moth’s larvae that are responsible for most of the damage that occurs to our stored food products. The larvae are able to penetrate and gain access to most food products through their ability to puncture materials such as paper, polythene, and cellophane. The larvae spin white silken cocoons where pupae are formed and it is these mass amounts of silk that cause the most damage to our stored food products as they leave behind faecal matter, eggshells, and moulted skin casts in our foods effectively spoiling them. When the larvae are creating these silken cocoons it is possible to notice this activity as larvae can be seen climbing walls and ceilings and infiltrating cupboard areas. They can lay up to 400 eggs after mating- these eggs are tiny they- no bigger than 0.5mm and are pretty much invisible to a naked eye, these eggs will be laid directly on the larvae’s food source. The Indian-Meal Moth is sensitive to temperature and in hotter temperatures (above 30°C) the eggs can hatch in as little as 3-4 days, from then it will only take a larvae a few hours to infest a food source.

White- Shouldered House Moth

The White-Shouldered House Moth is brown in colour with a white head and brown mottled wings. They are 7-9mm in length with an open wingspan of 10-23mm, their wings have a fringed texture when looked at closely and they have 2 antennae. The White-Shouldered House Moth is usually an indicator of poor hygiene controls in a home or business, they feed on organic debris and thrive in environments where lots of animal hair and fluff are present. They can be incredibly distressing in large numbers and can often be found in central heating ducts, radiators, bird nests, and blocked chimneys. They prefer humid environments ideally between 20°C-30°C and will only live for between 2-3 weeks when they reach adult maturity. The females will lay approximately 200 eggs near a food source which will hatch in 7-25 days (as with Indian-Meal Moths this varies based on the temperature conditions). Once hatched the larvae will feed on this food source during the night and hide during the day, after 2-5 months the larvae are fully developed and will move away from the food source.


As with any pests prevention is much easier and stress free than finding a permanent solution and cure. Below is a list of some of our top tips to prevent moths invading your home or business:

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Moth Facts

  • Moths play a vital role in our ecosystem as they affect many other types of wildlife. They are a food source for other insects, spiders, frogs, toads, birds, and bats. They also pollinate flowers when they feed on nectar and aid in seed production.
  • Moths can be used to study the health of environments across the world, by monitoring their numbers and ranges it can help us to understand any environmental changes due to climate change and air pollution.
  • There are many moth species in the UK which are in a steady decline.
  • Moths are more common in summer months due to the warmer weather giving their life cycles/breeding habits a helping hand. However, they can be a problem all year round with unusually warmer winter months and buildings being temperature controlled.
  • Moths main purpose is to procreate- once they hatch from their cocoons their only goal is to reproduce. Therefore, adult moths do not actually feed and do not tend to live very long once they have reached adult maturity.
  • Many adult moth species do not have a mouthpart and moths are not known to bite humans. However, the hairs that certain moth larvae produce can cause an allergic reaction when they come into close contact with humans.

Signs of a Moth Infestation

It is important when a moth infestation happens in your home or business action is taken as soon as possible. For many people they think that by no longer seeing moths flying around their property the problem has gone on its own. However, as we have shown above by each moths life cycle it is the larvae that cause the majority of problems. It is important therefore to understand the signs and indicators of a moth infestation in all its stages so the best action can be taken to treat and prevent any future invasions. Below we list some of the top tell-tale signs your property may have a moth problem:

  • Damage to carpet or fabrics.
  • Holes in your clothing especially wool, silk, and cashmere.
  • Moth eggs and larvae on your clothes and other fabrics.
  • Case trails on your clothes and fabrics from larvae.
  • Damage to food packaging and food products.
  • Moth larvae webbing may be present in contaminated food products.
  • Moth frass (their faeces) may be present in food products.
  • If moths have infested food products, the product may be discoloured, and grain may become warmer- which can lead to damp, mould, and grain germination.

Moths in your Business

A moth infestation in your business can be incredibly damaging. Not only can your reputation be damaged you can also experience high costs from the damage caused by their presence, so it is very important to act fast if you suspect moths in your business and ensure preventative measures are put in place to stop any future invasions. For those of you specialising in any food related business it is even more important to control and prevent moths as fines can be imposed by Environmental Health Officers for businesses who do not have adequate pest prevention measures in place to prevent Stored Product Insects (Indian-Meal Moths) contaminating their food. For repeat offenders legal action has been taken in extreme cases.

A moth infestation can damage a whole host of different businesses whether that’s a business in the textile industry, the food industry or even historic museums and stately homes! If your business specialises in any of these areas give Defender Pest Control a call today we can provide you with a prompt, one-stop, guaranteed solution to treat any moth infestation you may currently be experiencing. Once we have treated your business we can provide a free quote and site survey to implement the foremost preventative measures to protect your business for years to come!

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