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How to remove moth infestations

Updated April 07, 2017

Moths that annoy fall into two broad categories, pantry moths and clothes moths. Pantry moths feed on dried pantry foods in your kitchen like flour, cornmeal and cereal. Clothes moths feast in your closet and dresser drawers. Mothballs and cedar repel moths but do not kill them. Insecticides kill moths but they cannot be counted on to kill every single moth and egg in an infestation. Depending on the kind of moths you have, you are probably going to have to do at least three things to get rid of all of them: throw out or clean everything that might be infested, apply a Permethrin-based insecticide and set pheromone traps.

Examine dry foods in your kitchen if you suspect your infestation is pantry moths. Look for small, white worms.

Throw out infested foods. Put foods that appear not to be infested in a freezer for three days. Freezing kills the eggs and larvae. Tightly package all foods you do not throw out.

Dry clean clothes to kill clothes moths. Most clothes moths feed only on wool, feathers, silk and fur. Store dry, cleaned clothes in airtight containers.

Spray your closets and dressers with Permethrin-based insecticides. Permethrin is a common nerve poison used to kill many bugs and it is widely considered to be safe for children and pets.

Use pheromone moth traps to kill both pantry moths and clothes moths. Pheromones are chemicals moths use to communicate. The traps are specific to the kind and sex of the moths. They usually hang in your closet or sit on a kitchen shelf. These traps are easy and safe but they will not entirely eliminate heavy infestations.

Things You'll Need

  • Freezer
  • Permethrin-based insecticide
  • Pheromone moth traps
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About the Author

Don Davis has been a professional writer since 1977. He has had numerous writing jobs, including writing news and features for the "Metrowest Daily News" and "Los Angeles Herald-Examiner." Davis has a Bachelor of Arts in English and history from Indiana State University.