Clothes and furniture moths have long been known for spoiling clothing, fur and wool products, furniture upholstery and carpets. At the same time, the furniture moth prefers fur, furs and wool, and a moth is mainly cotton products. In nature, both species are pronounced keratophages - that is, they feed on wool and feathers of animals, and in an apartment they can easily switch from one diet to another.
It is interesting
Among the moths there is a butterfly whose caterpillars gnaw holes in the horns of African antelopes and live in them, feeding on keratin.
In the past, both of these types of room moths were called generalized moths, and today this habit has been preserved among the people, although the butterflies themselves are quite easily different from each other. Therefore, in the future, in describing the common features of biology, both species will be called a moth, and if clarification is required, this will be discussed separately.
The first look at the wardrobe and furniture moth
Both types of moths are quite similar to each other. Adult butterflies are small - in length with folded wings they reach 5-9 mm, and have an inconspicuous straw-yellow color. The furniture moth can be slightly darker, and it also has slight darkening at the base of the wings.
The moth is almost always light yellow. With the naked eye, the differences between these species are difficult to grasp. For example, in the photo below, there is a moth:
And on the next photo - a furniture moth:
In the air, the furniture moth looks like a small and not the most skilled moth in flight. Both the furniture and the moths fly exclusively males. Females have wings, but they do not use them.
It is interesting
The opinion that the female moths are wingless does not correspond to reality. Any room moth has winged and females, and males. The wings of females are only slightly less than the wings of males, and in principle females are able to fly. But this ability is not used as unnecessary - the males themselves find them, fertilize, and the females lay eggs without long displacements.
An inexperienced look is unlikely to be able to find differences between males and females of moth. From food moths, for example, barn fire or a mill, - the dress differs precisely in the uniform coloration of the wings. All types of fires on the wings have a fairly noticeable pattern.
But the most important pest is not the moth butterfly . The immediate destroyer of clothes and upholstery furniture are larvae of the moth - unobtrusive small caterpillars, gently and quite quickly gnawing holes in sweaters, paths on fur coats and bald patch on carpets.
Larva and moth eggs: how and where to find them
So, it is the moth larva that feeds on our clothes. Of wool and cotton, the caterpillar can pull out the minimum of nutrients that are there, and for this, it has all the necessary adaptations:
- sufficiently strong and long mandibles - two large outgrowths, performing the role of scissors for cutting fibers of fabric and fur wool. On each of them there are several teeth, which increase the gnawing abilities of the caterpillar.
- Powerful jaw muscles - almost the entire head - due to which the caterpillar can develop sufficient pressure to gnaw the matter.
- Huge, in comparison with the size of the body, the stomach and intestines, which can accumulate a large amount of food.
In this case the larvae of the furniture moths differ well from the larvae of the moth. The larva of the moth can build a simple little case from its own excretions and food remains, while the caterpillar of the furniture moth builds a well-marked and strong corridor along the entire route of its movement.
In the photo below - the larva of the moth. Such a whitish-yellow coloration it retains throughout its development:
Caterpillars of the room moth are rather inactive. Only hatching from the eggs, they creep into small distances from each other, but after the beginning of a full-fledged diet very few move.
It is interesting
Caterpillar moths carefully avoid light. If you take clothes with them to the light, they try to hide among the folds or in their cases.
If the food is suitable for the larvae of room moths (contains little or no synthetic material at all), they grow rapidly, and after 18-20 days they manage to replicate 12-13 times, after which they pupate. If the caterpillars have to eat a low-nutrient food (for example, with a high content of indigestible synthetic fibers), in most cases development is delayed to 1-2, and sometimes up to 6 months.
On a note
The development of the larvae of room moths also slows down in the case of a decrease in the air temperature in the place of their presence. The caterpillars themselves are small, and when certain temperatures are reached, they hide in cocoons and stop eating.
Eggs of indoor moth species are white or whitish-yellow in color, small and do not exceed 0.5 mm in length. The female lays them in small groups of 50-80 pieces directly on clothing or other cloth, which will later be fed by the larvae.
An example of laying eggs of the moth is presented in the photo below:
Eggs of clothing and furniture moths develop within 5-6 days, but with a decrease in air temperature, this period is prolonged, and when it reaches 0 ° C, eggs die altogether.
Nutrition of moths and the main harm from it
Adult butterfly moths do not eat at all. The mouthpiece and the digestive tract are underdeveloped, and do not need them in the stern.
By the way
Butterflies moths live on the strength of several weeks, more often - 8-10 days. Usually females lay eggs on the third or fourth day after exiting the pupa, after which they quickly die.
Larvae of moth eat almost in the same place, where they hatch from eggs. Any natural fabric, fur, wool is suitable for food, they often parasitize on museum stuffed animals and in warehouses of textile raw materials.
Moth larvae, eating on fur things, can not move freely in wool. Therefore, they have to rub their hairs on the way of their movement, which they do not eat, leaving a shaved path and a bunch of wool on their clothes.
Caterpillars moths can not eat fully synthetic things. If the fabric consists partly of synthetics, then it can be eaten by the larva, but on such a diet the caterpillar grows much more slowly than on natural tissues.
Reproduction and lifestyles of pests
Coming out of the chrysalis, the males of the moth are beginning to search diligently for the female, focusing primarily on the smell. After mating, after 3-4 hours, the female begins to lay eggs. She postpones them in batches, while the furniture moth is much more prolific - one female of her can postpone up to 300 eggs, while in a female moth this number barely reaches 60.
The moth has no seasonality in development and reproduction. Larvae from the same masonry can develop at different rates, and the flight of butterflies from the larvae occurs unevenly and in isolation. In nature, all moth types in the middle latitudes have a period of hibernation, usually pupae or caterpillars of the last ages usually hibernate.
Fighting the moth: are there really reliable means?
Today, there are many ways to get rid of the moth, both traditional and modern ones. The most effective among them are the following:
- Treatment clothes insecticide drugs in aerosol form. Such tools allow you to quickly destroy larvae and butterflies at any time of the year.
- Freezing contaminated clothing and furniture outdoors at temperatures below minus 5 ° C, or by warming it in the sun on a hot summer day with preliminary careful shaking out - the larvae loosely adhere to the clothing surface and easily crumble.
- Washing clothes at the maximum permissible temperatures for it.
- Use of insecticidal fumigators installed in cabinets.
To protect cabinets and wardrobes from moths use strongly smelling herbs - tansy, lavender flowers, rosemary, as well as orange peels, tobacco, special industrially produced sections from moths with different smells. Disposed in cabinets, they are able to quite reliably scare away adult butterflies. It is important only to understand that such odorous agents do not affect the larvae.
But the most reliable way to prevent moths from multiplying on things is thorough quarantine: checking new purchases, washing new clothes at high temperatures, avoiding purchases "from hand" and on second-hand. It is always easier to prevent the appearance of a pest in the apartment, than to get rid of it later.