Moths: Common-Clothes & Indian-Meal
Clothes moths are a fairly small species of moth, with less than an inch for their wingspan. They are a dusty golden color, with fine orange hairs on their head. Larvae of the species feed on natural fibers, so all stages of the moth are often found in closets.
Be they male or female, the main goal of the adult clothes moth is to mate. Once maturity is reached, these moths only live for, at maximum, a month, as they stop eating. If they do successfully mate, they die soon after. The female moth will lay an average of 50 eggs during her adult lifespan. Once the eggs are laid, it takes around 10 days for them to hatch. Upon hatching, it can take up to two years for clothes moth larvae to reach their next developmental stage. This can be problematic as the larvae are the true damage-causers.
Clothes moth larvae can feed on any variation of natural fibers, including wool, silk, cotton, linen and fur. However, they will also eat synthetic fibers if those fibers are blended with wool. Larvae are most attracted to these fabrics when they have been worn, and may acquire additional nutrients from the dirt and sweat collected in the them. Unlike other moths, clothes moths are attracted to dark areas and will hide if exposed to light.
Indian meal moths are named not after India, but rather after their diet. Indian meal moth larvae feed predominantly on grains, such as “Indian-meal” also known as cornmeal. They are most commonly found in grain bins or grain storage, but have been known to feed on many foods commonly found in your pantry. They prefer tropical conditions, but can adapt to many different climates.
Adult Indian meal moths are small, only about a quarter of an inch in length, with their wingspan more than double that. They are usually rust or copper colored, but can also be dark brown or grey. As long as the temperature is above 50°, adult females can lay anywhere from 100 to 300 eggs at a time, typically directly on their food source. If the temperature is above 77° or below 68° delays in hatching could occur, but most eggs hatch anywhere between two days to two weeks. Indian meal moth larvae, when fully grown, can actually create silk, and will create their cocoons out of this threaded material. Adults hatch from these cocoons in around a week. In ideal conditions, an Indian meal moth lifespan is only 28 days, with the average lifespan of 50 days. This short life span leads to multiple generations of meal moths in just one year.