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How to exterminate moths in the attic

Updated February 21, 2017

Moths in the attic may be feeding on your stored clothes or seeds and nuts, depending on the type of moths. Clothes moths eat natural fibres, such as wool, feathers or felt. They also eat the dirt or stains on synthetic clothing materials. Clothes moths only feed on stored clothes that you don't frequently use. Pantry moths eat stored grain products. If you have no such products in your attic, the moths may be feeding on the seeds and nuts left there by wild animals. You can get rid of moths in the attic using several methods.

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  1. Examine your attic for the source of infestation. Check your stored clothes and grains. Also look for crumbs, seeds and nuts that wild animals may have left in your attic.

  2. Discard any infested food items and any clothing items you no longer can use. Place them in garbage bags, tie the bags tightly and place them outside for trash pickup. If any clothing items are salvageable, you can launder or dry-clean them to remove the insects. If you have plant seeds, decorative wreaths or bird feed you still want to use, you can place them in the freezer for several days or in the oven for about one hour to kill the insects.

  3. Vacuum your attic to remove moth eggs and larvae. This also removes hair and lint that clothes moths like to eat.

  4. Apply an insecticide that contains allethrin, chlorpyrifos, pyrethrin or permethrin to the attic. Remove clothing and bedding items from the attic before the treatment so you don't get any insecticide on them. Alternatively, you can use boric acid dust. Follow the label instructions closely when using insecticides.

  5. Place the clothes and grains you want to store in an airtight container, such as a garment bag, to prevent moths from reaching them.

  6. Place moth traps in the attic to catch any remaining moths and to monitor whether the infestation is still present.

  7. Warning

    Don't eat anything that has been infested by pantry moths, because they may have released toxic chemicals.

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Things You'll Need

  • Garbage bags
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Insecticide
  • Airtight containers
  • Moth traps

About the Author

Edriaan Koening began writing professionally in 2005, while studying toward her Bachelor of Arts in media and communications at the University of Melbourne. She has since written for several magazines and websites. Koening also holds a Master of Commerce in funds management and accounting from the University of New South Wales.

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