Moths are types of insects with scaly wings.
Moths are types of insects with scaly wings. You can often spot them at night near outdoor lights, such as street lamps.
There are various species of adult moths but most of them do not bite because they do not have a mouth. Many are also less likely to sting you.
There is a kind of moth known as vampire moths that can penetrate human skin and can bite you with the help of their tiny projections (long sucking tubes known as proboscis).
Caterpillars are the ones that can cause harm to humans. They can cause skin irritation by their stings and not exactly by biting. They can damage your clothing by making holes in them.
The United States has been known to harbor around 50 caterpillar species that can cause a painful sting.
How can moths harm you?
Some species of moth can harm you by causing lepidopterism or caterpillar dermatitis. This is a form of skin condition that happens when the skin comes in contact with moth and butterfly caterpillars. The hair (spines) of some moth larvae can cause allergic reactions. This can resemble hives and cause itching and pain for several minutes.
Some moths can even cause poisoning if consumed.
How to prevent and remove moths from your home
If your clothes are being eaten by moths, consider getting a moth-zapper or mosquito-killer device to trap or kill the moths.
If you think, you must have come in contact with moths, brush clothes that are made of natural fibers (like wool). Wash the clothes and air-dry them before storing them in the closet (preferably airtight).
- Cedarwood oil is known to be an effective moth-repellent. Here are a few ways in which you can use it:
- Buy cedar closets or airtight chests and store your clothes in them.
- Use cedar blocks in your storage spaces.
- Use cotton balls infused with cedar oil in the storage spaces.
- Make moth-repellent spray by putting cedar oil in a spray bottle diluted with water or in a diffuser that can spread the cedar scent.
- Use vinegar to clean surfaces wherever you find moth larvae or their signs.
- Dust and dirt in your room can draw the moths in your home. Make sure you clean your home with a vacuum cleaner to keep your home dust and dirt free. Do not forget to remove the heap of dirt from the vacuum cleaners so that moths, their eggs, and larvae also get discarded.
- If you find any signs of moths on your clothes, freeze the clothes by keeping them in the freezer for at least 24 hours. Freezing kills the moth and their larvae.
If you have tried all the methods and still face the problem of moth infestation, it is better to get professional help for moth control. Contact a local pest control service and see what solutions they offer.
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Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2021
Goldman BS, Bragg BN. Caterpillar and Moth Bites. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; January 2021. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK539851/
Fitzgerald K. Vampire Moths Suck the Blood of Vertebrates, Including Humans. Entomological Society of America. October 30, 2015. https://entomologytoday.org/2015/10/30/vampire-moths-suck-the-blood-of-vertebrates-including-humans/