Moth facts: Answers to some common questions about moths

Articles Jun 22, 2019 04:41

Questions that we usually get from people about moths are that why are moths attracted to light if they come out in the dark, why do they eat clothes and how to terminate them? Here are answers to those questions.

But what are they so attracted to light and how can you get rid of them? Here's what you need to know.

Moth facts: Answers to some common questions about moths
Moths can be seriously annoying for fans of woollen clothes. Credit: Iconica - Getty

Why are moths so attracted to light?

Some insects, such as moths, navigate by flying at a constant angle relative to a light source, such as the moon, keeping them flying in a straight line.

But, when it comes to finding their way around man-made lights, the angle to the light source changes as a moth flies by which confuses it.

It is thought that the moths become dazzled and seem to be attracted to the light.

Mike Saunders, a professor of entomology in the College of Agricultural Sciences, said: “Artificial lights seem brighter than the moon and moths end up orienting to them even though the artificial light is not at optical infinity."

The moon remains out of reach of the moths, but a fire or al light bulb is a different matter -  as the moths get closer to the light, their ability to triangulate properly is thrown off.

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Moth facts: Answers to some common questions about moths
Moths can be gotten rid of if you have a deep clean. Credit: Photolibrary RM - Getty

Why do moths eat clothes?

It is moth larvae that eat your clothes – not the moths themselves.

Moths only have mouths during their larval stage, which usually lasts between two weeks and a month.

The larva thrive on keratin and have a fairly specific diet, so female moths usually choose clothes made from animal fibres such as silk, wool, cashmere, angora or fur – all materials that contain keratin.

Synthetic and cotton fabrics are usually safe from moths unless they’ve been blended with animal fibres.

Because of their love of keratin, proteins that can also be found in our skin and hair, moth larvae are also sometimes known to chow down on leather, feathers and hairballs of human or pet hair.

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How can you get rid of moths?

To get rid of any moths that may be lurking in your wardrobe, make sure you have a deep clean.

Moths are fans of undisturbed corners that are dark as well as warm, if you remove everything from your closest and then hoover the corners and the drawers it will help rid any moths.

You should then disinfect all areas to kill of any larvae and wash or dry clean all of your clothes.

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