do bird seed moths eat clothes

It’s likely that one day you’ll have an infestation of some sort on your hands, whether it be from ladybugs, ants, earwigs, cockroaches or another intrusive insect.

If you own birds or simply keep birdseed in your garage to feed the neighborhood flock, you’re likely to come across the notorious pantry moth—a tiny, fluttering enemy of households far and wide.

Identifying a Bird Seed Moth Infestation

First off, you must identify the infestation. Plodia Interpunctella is the scientific name for birdseed moths, also known as Indianmeal moths. By observing the color and location of these moths, you can determine whether you are dealing with them. Small moths or tiny, brownish worm-like larvae found in bird seed indicate the presence of an infestation.

Adult moths lay microscopic eggs in birdseed or other grains. When the eggs hatch, they produce hungry larvae that reach a length of around 1/4 of an inch. These larvae are tubular with tan-colored bodies with brown heads. Larvae of the pantry moth enjoy feeding on grains like birdseed. They also like a variety of other pet foods and animal feeds.

The larvae will spin web-like cocoons when they reach adulthood and transition into the pupa stage. After that, they change into mature moths, and the cycle is repeated. You will know there is a bird seed infestation if you see cocooned pupae, larvae, or adult moths fluttering around in your birdseed.

Bird seed/grain moths can infest:

  • Bird seed
  • Dry corn and barley
  • Oats
  • Cat food or dog food
  • Animal feed
  • Flour
  • Cereal

…and an array of other dry goods.

How do I know if they’re pantry moths?

First things first: be sure you’re dealing with a moth, as you may also find weevils and other bugs in your pantry. You may first notice a moth in its egg, larvae (which resemble a wiggling worm), or adult moth stage. But be aware that while flour beetles, another pantry pest, are shiny, flattened, oval-shaped, 1/8 of an inch in length, reddish-brown, and mostly drawn to flour, grains, and grain products, such as macaroni and cereals, weevils are brown and extremely tiny, measuring about 1/16th of an inch.

After confirming that you actually have a moth, you need to determine its species. While clothes moths, carpet beetles, and various house moth species can cause havoc in your home, birdseed moths, also referred to as pantry moths and Indian meal moths, are the most prevalent type of pantry pest in American homes.

Another way to recognize a pantry moth is by its unappealing characteristics. Grain clumping and webbing along package corners or on the product within can be caused by pantry moths’ sticky secretions. Additionally, the presence of them may cause your dried goods to smell bad.

Why do I have moths in my birdseed?

Moths eat a wide variety of dry foods, such as oats, cereal, corn, and flour, as well as different kinds of birdseed, including wild and safflower varieties. These dry goods could get contaminated during processing at a (food) plant or storage in a warehouse. When you discover a moth flitting around in your garage one day, you’re shocked to learn that it was contaminated by the 25-pound bag of dry birdseed you bought at the neighborhood pet supply store. You ignore this brown flutter, but after a few days, there’s a small gathering of these flyers in your garage.

Keep in mind that pantry moths will seek out other nearby food sources if your garage is attached to your house, so you might find moths inside.

Pantry moths, my friend, are on a mission. Their only goal in life is to procreate, and proliferate they shall, infesting areas with an abundance of food. These moths use birdseed (and other dry goods) as a safe place to lay their eggs and to provide their young a plentiful diet of food to eat and grow on once they hatch.

If you notice this unattractive group of flyers, it’s likely that they have already laid their eggs nearby.


Do food moths eat clothes?

The larvae (caterpillars) are the ones that damage your clothes. They use their mouthparts to tear off fibers to eat and, in some cases, to incorporate in a protective case around themselves. The adult moths (the stage with wings) do not eat fabric.

Can pantry moths come from bird seed?

Can you get moths from bird seed? Yes, it is possible to bring an infestation from the garden store to your pantry. If a bag of seed is infested with moths when you buy it and bring it home, these moths can mature into adults. The adults mate and lay eggs in areas around your home.

What are moths attracted to clothes?

Clothes moths are pests that can destroy fabric and other materials. They feed exclusively on animal fibers, especially wool, fur, silk, feathers, felt, and leather. These materials contain keratin, a fibrous protein that the worm-like larvae of the clothes moth can digest.