How to Get Rid of Moths: DIY Tips & Contractor Cost
Find out how to get rid of moths either by reading our DIY tips or by contacting a contractor. We included contractor cost & free quotes.
Moths are a widespread housing problem. The little insect or the ‘black sheep’ cousin of the butterfly is quite stealthy and difficult to deal with. Often, by the time you are noticing the signs of moth infestation in your home, you likely have a moth problem. Yes, they do have their reason for existing, but the damage they cause, and the risk they pose to humans and pets is too high to ignore.
First, moths fall into two categories. Some live in closets feeding on your clothes, while the other prefers the pantry. So, when dealing with the problematic bugger, you might want to look for a method that will work for your specific moth without harming yourself or your pets.
What danger do these little creatures pose to human beings?
Frequently, the dangers stems from their fecal matter and white cocoons. Well for the pantry moth that is. Risks posed by the clothes moth is a different matter. The pantry moth is dangerous as their feces lead to allergic reactions, mucosal irritation, and are hazardous to asthmatic persons. Also, consuming food infested with their feces or cocoons can lead to life-threatening intestinal diseases.
Clothes moths, on the other hand, are known for the damage they cause to your favorite wool and silk items. Adult moths don’t have mouths and will not harm your clothes, but the same cannot be said about the larvae. If left, your priced garments will start falling off. Their effects can be devastating.
Moths have great strengths and some of the reasons they are difficult to eradicate. Despite having a life expectancy of 2 weeks, they spread fast and can fly for a couple of hundred meters in that time. This means from the pantry or closet; they can spread to the entire house and later to the whole building or street. Second, moths are quite crafty. When most other creatures would gravitate to light, moths prefer spots with no light and difficult to access. Their preferred places are holes in wall, furniture and ceilings or crevices and cracks. Their clandestine nature makes them difficult to spot.
Where do Moths Come From?
The best way to respond to this question is by telling you the why, and how they get into your closet and pantry. Where they come from can have many responses. Could be that the apartment block had an infestation or that one just flew in from the outside. Moths will get into your home through any opening. They can squeeze through cables that pass through walls, plumbing lines, and dryer vents or get in through doors and windows. Another way a pantry moth can get into your house is by stowing away inside packaging from a warehouse. The reason they come into your home though should be the primary concern.
Moths, both pantry and clothes moths are looking for places to reproduce. That is a safe place with an abundant food supply. Also, they are attracted to sweat or food. A pantry is, therefore, an ideal place for the pantry moth to lay its eggs, as it gives the young a better chance of survival. The same applies to the clothes moth.
Before we get into the corrective measures and the costs involved, there are measures you can take to prevent infestation.
Cleaning up – This will work for the clothes larvae as they are quite secretive and prefer clothes that are packed away or carpet that is tucked away under furniture. Cleaning up, will remove the larvae and eggs and also the dirt that they drift towards.
Vacuuming and freezing – If you fear your garment is infested, keeping it in a freezer for 24 hours will kill all the larvae and eggs present. Conversely, as these creatures naturally gravitate towards dirt, and therefore constant vacuuming is a sure way of preventing an infestation.
Control humidity levels – Moths flourish in humid conditions. If the moisture in your home is above 70%, you are courting trouble. Hordes of moths will reproduce at alarming rates, and you will soon have a crisis on your hands. The best way to prevent this is to control the humidity in your home. First, invest in a hygrometer to measure your humidity levels and will only set you back between $10 and $15. You will also need it to monitor humidity in the future. You will need to lower humidity to around 50% to make the environment hostile to moths and other insects. For this, you will need a dehumidifier, which costs anywhere between $50 and $200.
Laundry, brushing, and smart storage – Finally, you ought to take preventive measures when putting your winter clothing away. Most moths and beetle infestations occur during summer, and will often feed on your woolens. Choosing the proper steps will prevent an outbreak. First, clean garments to rid them off any larvae or eggs. Cleaning will also remove perspiration and food spills which attract these pests. You will also have to clean your cotton clothes and synthetic fiber items if you want to store them with your woolens. Brushing is another efficient way to rid your clothes of these pests. We advise brushing the things you haven’t worn as it will be a waste to take them to a dry cleaner out of fear of moths. Take them out one sunny day and brush them rigorously and more so under the collar and seam. If you fear you might have missed some eggs while cleaning, store the items separately. Finally, you want to invest in storage that moths cannot get through. We advise reclosable bags or plastic boxes which are impenetrable.
DIY Methods of Getting Rid of Moths
Below are some home-proven remedies for your moth problem that is if you are looking to get rid of moths while avoiding store products and mothballs.
Lavender – Lavender smells incredible to us but is a useful moth repellent. It will also work on other insects, and we advise you use it if you are dealing with any insect infestation. Either fill a sachet with dried lavender and put it in your closet or dip cotton balls in lavender oil. You can purchase lavender oil for about $10.
Mint – Mint to is a useful moth repellent. It is cost friendly and can be used to deter both pantry and clothes moths. Just a few peppermints in a sachet and place them inside your closet. Also, you can put some loose leaves among your clothes or together with your off-season clothes.
Better still, we advise you invest in peppermint essential oil. Apply some few drops on cotton balls and plant them in your closet. The above will suffice to keep moths away and get rid of the existing ones. You can use mint in the pantry too and will only set you back around $15. We recommend mint more so if you are dealing with a mice infestation also. Remember to add more peppermint oil, or add some more leaves when the scent starts to wear off.
Thyme, Rosemary, and Cloves – If you are looking for a long-term repellent, you might want to invest in Thyme, Rosemary, and Cloves. A combination of these or any of the three herbs will keep moths away for months. The good news is that while moths don’t like the scent, we love them. These herbs will be sufficient for about six months. So, remember to change them every six months or so. However, the items can lose their fragrance sooner so keep an eye out for such occurrences. Tip – Buy these herbs in bulk to save money.
Set traps – Another perfect way to deal with moths in your home is to set traps. Traps designed to catch mice are also good at trapping moths. However, we advise you invest in a pheromone moth trap for about $30. The trap has a sticky material that they can’t get away from once the touch. Also, it is intended to lure them into the trap. Other than a pheromone trap, you can design your homemade trap using flypaper and fish oil which moths find attractive.
Apply a few drops of fish oil on the flypaper and place it in your closet. We advise you hang it. Flypaper will set you back about $5 while fish oil goes for $13. For pantry moths, a small amount of food applied on a sticky surface will suffice to kill the moths. The food should be one that the moths are after. Another way to rid your pantry off moths is to make a paste of one part boric acid and cornmeal. Place the pulp around stored foods glopped on jar lids. Boric acid will set you back around $20.
Food-grade diatomaceous earth – If you are looking for an alternative to insecticides that is kid and pet-friendly, then you might want to invest in diatomaceous earth. This stuff is non-toxic to humans and pets but feels like jagged glass to moths. Ensure it is food grade so that you can use it to eradicate pantry moths. Sprinkle the dust in crevices, cracks, and any other moth hiding spot you can identify. The moths will be gone in no time. The powder will set you back between $16 and $25 depending on the quantity and manufacturer.
Seal off moth hideouts – Your attempts to decrease moth population in your home will bear no results unless you can take out the moth hideouts. Their ability to hide and breed in hard to get to spots makes them a nightmare to deal with. Take out these cracks, and crevices, and you increase the likelihood of the moths succumbing to your other tactics, i.e., vacuuming and traps. You can use silicone caulk or putty or foam. Budget around $5 for this.
Mothballs – Mothballs should be used as a last resort measure for moth control. These are harmful to both man and moth alike and should be kept out of reach from children. Also, they will leave your clothes with a nasty smell. Expect a price tag of about $10 for these.
|Mint Essential Oil||$15|
|Thyme, Rosemary, and Cloves||$10|
|Pheromone Moth Trap||$30|
|Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth||$16||$25|
Other than combating moths every so often, you might want to invest in some long-term solutions to rid yourself of the menace once and for all. One such option is constructing a cedar closet or cedar cabinetry. Cedar has long been known as a moth repellent, and it works. Building a cedar cabinet, chest, or closet will go a long way in keeping away moths from your clothes and food. You also curtail their food source, and the result is a house free of moths. However, remember cedar loses its scent, and you might be forced to scrub it lightly to bring back the smell. If you don’t have cedar closets, consider purchasing cedar chips or blocks or retrofitting your wardrobe with drawers and rings constructed from the tree.
As for the construction cost, a cedar closet will set you back about $1,834 with most homeowners reporting an average charge of between $1,107 and $2,670. Though this is a small fortune, you should see it for the price you pay to protect your precious woolen items.
There are some occasions where you will be forced to call in a professional. The cost for hiring one ballparks somewhere between $150 and $300, with an average of $172. There are various factors though that will influence the amount you pay to rid your home of moths.
1. The frequency of the visits – Some exterminators liken this task to house cleaning. The more you go between appointments, the harder it will be to get rid of the moths. Most companies charge higher for the initial visit, where they identify the food sources and hideouts as well as eliminating them. They follow up with frequent but cheap visits. These visits are meant to eradicate the remaining moths.
2. One-time or Contract job – One-time jobs will be expensive. Expect a price between $300 and $550 as they are quite engaging. Contract jobs will be costly in the long run, but the results are much better.
The best way to rid your home of moths is to prevent them from getting into your home. However, there are instances where prevention will be too late. For such cases, we advise you use natural repellents or hire a professional. That’s it about moth control. If you have any thoughts about the article, leave us a comment below.