Hello there, For about 2 months now, we have been finding small larvae in our bathroom. They are cream with reddish-brown heads, and are about 5-10mm in size. Some appear to have small brown/dark 'prongs' on their rear end. Over the last couple of weeks, we have also seen a few moths flying around our house (photo attached - sorry for poor quality). The moths are about 1cm long and appear to be a mottled brown / iridescent bronze / gold. Most of them have a small white section at the head end. When we first noticed the larvae, a few had managed to find their way into our bathroom light (a 'globe' ceiling fitting, which we thought was fitted tight to the ceiling... how they got in there, I don't know...) However, most of them seem to be wriggling around on our bathroom floor, mostly around the edges of the room. I have trawled the internet to try to identify these moths, but there are so many possible matches, so I would really appreciate anyone's thoughts on what these moths could be. We are concerned that they might be clothes moths, but my best guess at the moment is either a brown house moth or a white shouldered moth. I understand that clothes moths do not like the light, so if they are clothes moths, I am confused as to why the larvae would be in our light fitting.
We have become slightly obsessive in bagging up all stored clothes etc, incase these moths decide to munch their way through our possessions! We have bought clothes moths traps, but have only caught one small dark brown moth so far. If we do have white shouldered house moths in our house, could this still be one, but with colour variety? For example, a mature moth? Can the white scales rub off when the moth brushes against surfaces? Are white shouldered house moths still considered to be clothes moths? If not, could the trap (which contains clothes moth pheromones) work on white shouldered house moths too?
We also bought some insecticide strips that allegedly kill moths / larvae etc, and have put them in our bathroom, but we are still finding the larvae. I have been unable to get a picture of the larvae, but the larvae on this link bears the closest resemblance to the larvae we have been finding http://www.cookingwithfood.info/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/indian_meal_moth_larva.jpg However, the adult moths we have found are definitely not Indian meal moths.
Any help / information would be SO gratefully received, as I feel like I am losing my mind, having to constantly check for moths and their larvae, and any damage they are causing. We normally embrace all kinds of nature, but we are not very keen on sharing our home with a pest...
Your photo may show two species, but I think you may have correctly identified the lower one as white-shouldered house-moth (Endrosis sarcitrella). There are more photos of the species, showing the larvae and more of the variation of the patterning in the adults here:
The individual in your photo appears to be well-worn, hence appearing paler than most examples above.
The scales of any moth are prone to rub off.
However, its larvae spin tiny cases in which they hide - so your larvae may be of a different species.
The upper specimen in your photo may be Blastobasis lacticolella.
Its 'larvae will thrive on a wide variety of foodstuffs, including leaf-litter, vegetation, and stored products.'
However, the size might be wrong, so that is just a guess
Pheromone traps may or may not be useful; it all depends on the pheromone(s), the number of different species of pest, and the correct ID of the pest species. They will work only on the adults.
I stongly suggest you get your environmental health officer to visit, make a determination and give advice on how to treat your problem(s). Contact your council.
Please let us know how you get on.
I wish you the best of luck in resolving this distressing problem as soon as possible.
Thank you so much for your reply - definitely some interesting and useful information there.
I will take the action that you recommend. I just feel quite embarrassed, as a house-proud and clean person, I am mortified that we have found moths in our home, as I have read that they like dirty/dusty homes - definitely not the case here!!!
Do you have any ideas how these kinds of moth can enter the home? Is it common for them just to fly through an open window, or do they usually have to be introduced? One thing that I think could be linked to the appearance of moths is that I have an old wasp nest in the loft (I haven't been able to get rid of it yet because it is in an awkward place). I have read that moths can sometimes be attracted to old bird or wasp nests. Another theory that my mum has is that they could have been introduced when my boyfriend visited (as I have often seen moths at his house). Do you think that this could be likely?
I am also finding it difficult to find pictures online of house moth eggs. It would be useful to know what to look for when cleaning. I found a small (about 1cm diameter) white fluffy thing, with what looked like tiny white round/oval things in the middle. Could this have been the eggs of a moth? I found it behind a hard to reach area behind a light pull fitting on the bathroom ceiling.
Thanks again for your reply
If I may throw my 2 cents worth in, please don't take it as a reflection on you, this moth most likely came in through a window, they are obviously proficient egg layers and unfortunately then follow by further reproduction. They will eat just about anything from fabrics to seeds and foods, to keratin (feathers, nails, hair...etc).
Keep in mind they are called White-shouldered 'House' moth for a reason, they are very common in homes and you shouldn't feel it reflects on you.
Calling in someone is probably the best way to go about dealing with this situation, as having the occational one flitting around the house is not uncommon or anything to worry about, but seems you have far too many.
I had a friend that gave me a candy tin, which she had put nasturtium seeds into the year before, so when it came time to put them into the ground I opened the tin and there was an adult White-shouldered House Moth, of course my seeds were useless and he must have been as shocked as I was when I opened it, that there was more to the world than his little tin.
Never so little as 2 cents!
I had a similar experience with a box of pistachios!
The 1cm diameter thingy was most probably a 'nest' of spiders eggs.
I think it unlikely your boyfriend introduced them, but they can hitch a ride in various ways, so I can't rule it out completely. If it was a person, it would be just as likely to have been you or your Mum.
The egg is tiny - a half by a third of a mm. If you could find any, it would look superficially like the eggs of a great many other species. You'd have to look at the microstructure, and even then it would still be ambiguous. So I don't think that would be a useful avenue of research for you in this situation.
The egg of Endrosis sarcitrella (L.) was studied by scanning and transmission electron microscopy. The egg is obovoid to ellipsoid (0.47 × 0.29 mm). The surface is marked by a faint reticulate pattern of polygonal cells, the discs of which have a slightly roughened texture. High magnification revealed that this texture is imparted by minute, closely-spaced sinuous ridges that form an intricate maze-like pattern over the entire surface of the egg. There are usually six micropylar canals opening into an anterior pit which is surrounded by a rosette of petal-shaped primary cells. The primary cells are in turn partially or completely surrounded by series of secondary and tertiary cells. There are relatively few aeropyles. These are in the form of shallow pits with openings around their peripheries. The chorion is thin (0.2–0.5 μm) but in general structure is similar to that of other lepidopteran eggs."
Females lay up to 200 eggs at a time in food stuffs ( Pest information) "Egg incubation requires 10 to 58 days, the larval period is 38 to 133 days, and the period from egg to adult is 62 to 235 days." ( Life cycle and general info). The adults only live about a month ( General Info)"
Crystal, thank you for that - you made me feel a lot better about it I have calmed down somewhat about it now, but it was just a bit of a shock when I first found them!!
Mike, thank you again for the information - you really are very helpful, and managed to find some websites that I hadn't already looked at (which is a miracle, as I thought I had read every available article etc. about moths over the last few weeks!!!)
I'm so glad I came to this forum to ask for advice, thank you