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White-shouldered house moths from new furniture

Posted by Lainy (My Page) on
Sat, Apr 19, 03 at 0:15

I have a feeling that I will be in for a losing battle with a local furniture store. About a month ago, they delivered an upholstered sofa, matching loveseat, and a leather sectional sofa. These items had been in their warehouse for about three months waiting for my remodel to be completed. The sofa and loveseat went into one room and the leather section went into another. The room with the sofa/loveseat has a sliding door that completely separates it from the room where the leather sectional is.

About a week after the furniture was delivered, I noticed a couple of moths in the house, in the 'sectional' room. Assumed it had flown in through a door left open during moving-in, killed it, and thought nothing more of it. A day or so later I saw another moth, assumed the same, etc.

Over the next two weeks I found anywhere from two to four moths almost every other day. They were most often in the room where the sofa/loveseat is, but occasionaly in the other room as well. I began to suspect that the moths were coming from the furniture, so I deliberately left the door to that room closed all the time to "seal it off". Sure enough, even though the room was completely isolated from the rest of the house and also from the outdoors, new moths have continued to appear every few days and are still doing so.

I am very concerned about the presence of these moths because there is wool carpeting in several rooms upstairs and also in the room where the sectional is. The carpeting went down about a week before the furniture came in. At first I thought the moths might be coming from the carpeting, but in that case they would not be appearing in the sealed-off room, which has a porcelain tile floor. The only thing those two rooms have in common is the presence of the furniture received in that delivery.

I've contacted the store with no results. They claim that there is no "proof" that the furniture they delivered is moth-infested. Short of litterally slicing the furniture apart to determine this, I have no idea how to go about dealing with the situation. These particular moths (white-shouldered house moth) are common in warehouses and I am sure that is where the furniture picked them up, as they were from two entirely different manufacturers. I would not want to have to saturate the furniture with insecticide in order to kill the moths; I'd rather replace the furniture than do that. But I don't think that the replacement should be entirely at my own expense; and I'm nervous now about the possibility of the moths having already laid eggs in my new wool carpet! I've read that the female of this moth can lay up to 500 eggs under optimal conditions! That's pretty scary.

I'm interested in any opinions on whether I am justified in asking for either replacement pieces or some sort of refund to compensate for the expense of disposing of and replacing these items. The store doesn't agree, of course. Am I in an impossible unprovable situation?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: White-shouldered house moths from new furniture

Is there anyway you can have a moving company come over to "shrink wrap" this furniture? If you seal it up for a few days you should be able to tell whether more are hatching from any larva inside. Then you could ask a store representative to view the eveidence.


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RE: White-shouldered house moths from new furniture

Mona, that is a great idea! I shrink-wrapped the furniture in one of the two rooms (the room that can be totally blocked off from the rest of the house) this afternoon. Covered every square inch of a sofa and loveseat, including cushions. The furniture from the same source which is in the other room is a real challenge because it's a sectional leather loveseat and matching swivel rocker. I'll be interested to see if any moths show up in the "sealed/covered" room over the next few days. (I just killed two of them in the leather-sectional area a few minutes ago) If I see no more moths in the sealed-furniture room, yet keep seeing them in the other room, I think that's a pretty clear indication that they are coming from the furniture this place delivered. It would be even better if they are visible inside the wrap, although seeing brown moths on a cream/blue/brown floral print fabric would be tough. However, if the moths continue to show up in both areas, then it's probably not the furniture but then we're back to square one.

I'd give a lot to be able to see just ONE moth as it emerges from wherever they are coming from!!!


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RE: White-shouldered house moths from new furniture

Let me tell you about our "guests". We started seeing things that looked like soft watermelon seeds that moved. Turns out they're plaster bag moths. They apparently love Florida new construction and high humidity and chose our new home before the air conditioning was turned on. Or did they come in with a wool rug? The numbers are dwindling now. I find only 2-3 daily because we keep vacuuming around the baseboards to remove the eggs and we search the edges of the wool rugs constantly for these sacs. I don't even know what it's like to walk around looking straight ahead anymore. My eyes are constantly focused on the floor. I'm afraid not to look for fear they'll multiply and take over the house. We are soooo lucky, are we not?


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RE: White-shouldered house moths from new furniture

Mona, I can definitely relate! I just wish I had something to LOOK for, having no idea where these guys are emerging from. Although the furniture in the 'sealed off' room has been covered for two days, guess what? This evening there was a moth in that room. I can't imagine how it could have emerged from the plastic wrap (although it's not as thick as a plastic bag so I guess it's possible, though unlikely). And just a few moments ago I whacked another one in the TV room (where the un-sealed but same-source furniture is). And again, there is NO way that I can find for a moth to have travelled from one room to the other.

A pest control rep is supposed to be here tomorrow, and I will give him all this conflicting information BUT after all, their business is to treat with chemicals so I'm sure that's what they will recommend. However, from all I've read so far, chemicals really aren't effective against moths because the egg and larval stages can be so extended (did you know that they can "diapause" for more than a YEAR while waiting for optimal emergence conditions?? now THAT is frightening). Basically what's recommended is cleanup of the food and nesting locations. But how to do that when there's no clue as to where those locations are??

I know what you mean about being afraid they'll multiply uncontrollably. I'm already worried that even if I were to get all the adults from this point on, how do I know that even one female (which can lay as many as several hundred eggs!) hasn't laid eggs in the carpet or furniture even if that isn't where the current moths originated? Do I get rid of the furniture anyway?

I hate bugs. I really do.


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RE: White-shouldered house moths from new furniture

Our critters lay their eggs at the baseboard floor junction. I've been advised to vacuum this joint frquently and dispose of the bag. Yours are probably coming out fron under the baseboards as well.


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RE: White-shouldered house moths from new furniture

Hmmmm.... that suggests a new strategy. In the sunroom, which has a porcelain tile floor over a cement slab, there are gaps between the baseboard/shoe moulding that can and should be caulked. In the TV room, there is wall-to-wall carpet and that room is over the crawlspace.

Again what's weird though, is that as far as I know there is no "passageway" between either the two rooms or what's under them. Driving me nuts trying to figure out an emergence point that's common to both rooms. I even thought about the heat/ac duct but from what I have read, the combination of heat and dryness would be fatal to any larva - plus I had that whole system professionally cleaned about six weeks ago, so I doubt it's there, even if those two rooms are in a common duct that branches off. It's worth asking the HVAC people who installed it, though, for curiosity's sake if nothing else...

I have an Electrolux which has a sealed bag and separate HEPA filter, so I could probably get away with not disposing of the bags every time I vacuum.....


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RE: White-shouldered house moths from new furniture

You've had your furniture covered for a few days now. In spite of the print fabric making it hard to see them, if the moths are coming from there you should see a few come out when you take off the shrink wrap. Have you done that yet?


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RE: White-shouldered house moths from new furniture

Haven't uncovered them yet, waiting to see what the pest control guy said. Let me tell you how that went...... *sigh*

When I called for the appointment, I made a point of saying that my problem was "white shouldered house moths; NOT clothes moths or pantry moths, but big brown house moths" and that whoever they send should be knowledgeable about this type of moth. Well, the guy comes by the other day and the first thing he says is "So, you have clothes moths?" I say NO, as I explained when I called, they are HOUSE moths, NOT clothes moths. And I had captured one of them alive on Monday, put it into a double plastic bag and amazingly the thing was still alive and kicking on Thursday afternoon! I showed it to him, and he said he'd never seen a moth like that before, they only usually find clothes moths or Indian meal moths (aka pantry moths). He asked me if I had spoken to his boss, Mark, the bug specialist. I said no, I'd been trying to but was given this appointment instead. Suggested he take the bagged moth back to the office to show to Bossman, who, it was agreed, would have to make a house call himself and would call me.

In the meantime, this fellow suggested an insect strip. I didn't like that idea, remembering those Shell No-Pest Strips of bygone days which were later found to be toxic to people as well as bugs. Besides, I reasoned, here we had a moth who had lived four days with no food, no water, and very little air; did anyone really think that a strip of chemical-impregnated plastic, about 2"x4", hung in a 13'x20' room, was likely to be fatal to that same kind of moth who happened to be flying by?? (and if so, then it is definitely something that I wouldn't want to be breathing!!!) So I politely declined the chemical strip. Asked what they use for Indian meal moths and was told a pheromone trap to attract and trap the males. I said why not hang one of those in the enclosed room and see if it catches any? Of course I've no idea whether the same pheromones would appeal to male white-shouldered house moths but figured it was worth a try. Well, Thursday night there were two moths in that room but none in the trap. Which means that either (a) the trap doesn't attract this type of moth, or (b) both moths were females. I would much prefer the answer to be (a)......

Spoke to the boss earlier today (who had not yet been given the captured moth) and he is going to "do some research" on this type of moth and then make an appointment to come here to survey the situation. He feels that a likely scenario is that the moths are coming from somewhere in the ceiling framing and getting into the room through the highhat can openings in both the sunroom and adjacent TV room. The reason that I have not seen them in the kitchen (which also has highhats) is that those are further away and it is just more convenient for the moths to come through the nearest "exit". He said that if the contractors sealed up food containers behind the new sheetrock - which often happens, according to him, and I can well believe it - it can cause all sorts of bug problems including moths. Whether they can "bug-bomb" the area remains to be seen. I can't recall whether the ceiling insulation in that room was put up against the roof or down near the ceiling sheetrock....

So for now it is more wait-and-swat.....


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bright idea that just occurred to me...

Hmmm... just thought.. IF the moths are indeed coming through the highhat cans, and IF I were to temporarily affix clear plastic bags underneath the highhats, I wonder if I would actually see some moths in them. At least until they find their way up again (if they are smart enough). That would verify where they are coming from. I'd just need to make sure that those lights aren't accidentally turned on, otherwise I'll have melted plastic.

I see the moths during the daylight hours, so it isn't the highhats that attract them - probably the warmth and sunlight coming into the ceiling area from the openings.

Worth a try, I think.


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RE: White-shouldered house moths from new furniture

Good luck with your new trial experiment. We've only seen 3-4 tiny,tiny moths in this entire house. What we're seeing is the "watermelon " looking sac as it's moving on the floor on the edges of the rug or against the baseboards. Well, if it's moths that are laying the eggs that hatch into these cocoons, where are the momma moths? I'm surprised that we seem to be the only 2 households with a moth problem. Do you reckun the moths took over the other homesteads and devoured the residents?


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RE: White-shouldered house moths from new furniture

LOL, now I'll bet we'll be seeing a new science fiction classic, "The Attack of the Killer Plaster Bag Moths"!

Actually are they called plaster bag worms?? Could it be a non-moth stage in which the eggs are laid? Check out the link below...

Here is a link that might be useful: Plaster Bag moths/worms/whatever?


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RE: White-shouldered house moths from new furniture

Yes, that's them. I'm hoping that the reason we see so few moths is that we are destroying the larva sacs before they hatch out. I tell you, this is really the pits!


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RE: White-shouldered house moths from new furniture

Well, this is Day Three of the great Plastic Bag Experiment and guess what? There have been four moths so far in the sunroom and all of them have been OUTSIDE the bags. Not one inside any of the highhat bags in either room. So I guess this rules out the ceiling area as the source of the infestation. But I am still stumped as to WHERE they are coming from! The furniture is being physically removed from the house a.s.a.p. - even though it is wrapped, maybe we missed covering a half inch somewhere? - I'm that desperate!

The next step is going to be covering the wall outlets. And caulking where the floor moulding meets the tile floor in that room.

Actually in a way I am kind of relieved that they aren't coming from the ceiling. With all the new insulation that was put there, I don't see how an insecticide "bomb" could have worked very well.

Back to the drawing board....


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er, I meant....

I meant furniture removed from that ROOM, not from the HOUSE... I may be desperate but not insane (yet).

(where's my chocolate???)


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RE: White-shouldered house moths from new furniture

Actually, I'm at the point where even that didn't sound nuts. These times call for desperate measures. At least you've got something you can move. I have no idea where our tenants are loitering. It's the wierdest thing. You can walk down the hall and see nothing. And on your way back, there's one of them danged things moving right along. Where did it come from? With your problem, I believe your initial thought was correct. They came in with the furniture. When you take off the plastic, you're going find the source. They're gonna be in there. But then what do you do with the furniture? Do you have any places that will do an insect control off site? We used to have a place here where you could take termite infested furniture and they'd fumigate it. Wait, I just thought of something. Can you call a Pest Control company in your area and ask if your furniture could be placed in the next house being tented for termites? You'd get it back after the fumes had disappated and your family would be safe. Sorry I'm rambling. Your problem distracts me from mine.


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RE: White-shouldered house moths from new furniture

I don't even know if they do "termite tenting" (for lack of a more correct description!) around here. I've never heard of it so maybe it's not permitted to be done in NY. There are some funny laws here about chemicals (lots of insect controls aren't allowed to be shipped into NY). Even though this area is Termite Heaven, all you ever hear being done for termites is either (a) liquid applied around house perimeters and drilled into slabs (b) sprays put into walls if they are found there (c) installation of a perimeter system such as FirstLine or Sentricon (d) all of the above.

Not even sure if the termiticides will work on moths. I did find a site (below) that has two products for "moths and larva as well as many other insects". It's 6% Pyrethrum and is called "Exciter". It can be mixed with another product called "Nylar" which sterilizes moth eggs and larva so that they are unable to develop into adults. Of course the Exciter can't be shipped to NY..... *sigh*

The link below is for the Nylar; to see the Exciter product, change the last part of the link to " page774.html ".

(who comes up with these names, anyway?!?!?!?)

As for the furniture, I may just end up scrapping it. If there solves the problem, it'll be worth it. But how many females might have laid how many eggs somewhere else???????

Here is a link that might be useful: Odorless growth regulator


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aha...here's why no tenting....

From a local pest control company's website:

Question: Sometimes down south I see houses that are tented to treat for Termites. Do they do that here in New York?
Answer: In the south they have a different kind of Termites, Drywood Termites, that are treated by tenting since they actually live in the house. Here in the Northeast we have Eastern Subterranean Termites. Since they live underground, tenting would have no effect on them. We treat our Termite in other ways including Chemical and Bait.

byebye sofa and loveseat............


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RE: White-shouldered house moths from new furniture

Then that's the answer. Move to FL, home of termites, gators and hurricanes.


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RE: White-shouldered house moths from new furniture

We could always swap houses, and then you could live in NY, home of (a different species of) termites, traffic jams, and high property taxes.

Of course, we'd both still have a moth problem, so I don't think that's the ideal solution.....!


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RE: White-shouldered house moths from new furniture

Lainy, you may be better off than we are down here. We also have subterranean termites, too much traffic, too little infrastructure, high property taxes AND a water shortage. But, the weather and the sunshine and the beaches are a plus.


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RE: White-shouldered house moths from new furniture

Wow, I'd always heard that property taxes in Florida are so low.... tales of people moving from a house up here where they paid $6K a year to an equivalent one in Florida with taxes of less than a thousand. Are those days gone?


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RE: White-shouldered house moths from new furniture

In the South section of our town a home valued @ $300K would have taxes around $6000.00. In an exclusive, private gated community a $500K home might pay $12,000 in taxes. My son lives in an average neighborhood. His home is valued at about $96,000 with 1800 sq. feet and his taxes are close to $2000. We have a friend who has owned a waterfront lot(85x110) for years and his taxes are reasonable because our taxes can only go up by a certain % for the current owner. The problem is this man can't sell the lot at the current market value because the selling price would bump the taxes up to $18,000 on the vacant lot. Imagine with a house on it! He's stuck between giving it away for a song ot holding on to something that the market won't bear. The bargain tax days are gone, I'm afraid. Although our NJ relatives do say the bargain is in the fact that a $300K home here would sell for twice as much in their area. A $700K here would go for a million and a halfup there. And we have no state income tax here.


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RE: White-shouldered house moths from new furniture

Ouch, Mona, that IS steep! The waterfront (canalfront) houses around here that are in the 3000 sq ft range and on 1/4 acre or less, pay taxes of anywhere from $12,000 to IfYouHaveToAskYouCantAffordIt (depending on the age of the house, whether there is an inground pool, etc etc) and sell anywhere from $650K to $1.2 mil (again depending on condition). The average for a waterfront seems to be around $700-$900K. Bayfront houses are a lot more in both categories!

The nonwaterfront houses (like mine) range from $500K to $850K and the taxes from $9000 to $13,000. I have a half acre and almost 5000 sq ft, so I get stuck with almost $12K a year.

Your NJ relatives are right about the sales prices!

Now, back to the moths. Well, the furniture is GONE as of this morning. I vacuumed and mopped the floors, washed the windows, and all the trim. And fifteen minutes ago I killed yet another moth in that room. It was NOT there earlier (I kept checking) so I guess it waited until I went grocery shopping at 5pm, to emerge...

Smart little buggers.


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RE: White-shouldered house moths from new furniture

Haven't touched base with you for a few days. Where did you put the furniture? Did you ever unwrap it and find moths inside? If you do determine the moths are coming from those pieces, will the furniture company take them back? We vacuumed the entire house and the baseboards and we're still finding a few sacs. Still no moths, though. So we're puzzled as to where the "egg layers" are hiding.


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RE: White-shouldered house moths from new furniture

Well, there's not much good news to report. The upholstered furniture is actually GONE, disposed of, so the only things left in that room are a solid wood end table and a wood corner hutch (both of which were brought in AFTER the moths appeared) and a carousel horse which is about five coats of paint over wood. The space between the floor moulding and porcelain tile floor was caulked so that there are no more gaps. Two small holes in the top of the vinyl sliding door in the wall between this room and the rest of the house, were filled. And yesterday evening, what was flying around in that room? A moth.

The only other things in that room are the Hunter Douglas duette shades which came in sealed plastic bags from the factory a few weeks before the furniture first came in. I SUPPOSE there is a one in a million chance that the material they were made from, contained moth eggs, but if so then I am sure I would be able to see some sort of developing larva in the late stages, within the 'honeycombs'. The shades are white on one side and ice blue on the other, and translucent enough that light can be seen through them. So I very very much doubt that they are the source.

As a last resort, I taped window screen mesh over the two HVAC registers in that room last night, just in case there is a break in the duct run down in the crawlspace.

And to make matters worse, I found a moth in one of the upstairs bedrooms yesterday morning, where none had been seen before. Up to now they were only in those two downstairs areas.

I'm wondering if the best course of action would be to have a pest control company do a "bomb" of 6% pyrethrum plus Nylar in both the crawlspace and the attic which is above the main section of the house. Normally I am anti-chemical, especially when I don't even know if that will work (pyrethrum is a contact insecticide with no residual) but I don't know what other control (besides swatting adults for the rest of my life or until no moths are seen for a full year - at this rate that'll never happen) options are left.


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Mystery solved!!!!

The moths have been getting in through the HVAC ductwork. Even though the installing company ASSURED me that it is a "completely sealed system". I did not want them putting the air handler for the first floor zone in the basement, because of the chance of pulling anything (bugs, dust, mold, etc.) into the house and they swore it was completely sealed, blah blah etc etc. Well, this morning guess what was BEHIND the mesh screening that I affixed to the front of the registers in those rooms? A moth. Proof positive that of the source. I would like to throttle the people from the HVAC company right now.

I will be away tomorrow and Tuesday but you can bet that someone from that company had better get their butts over here on Wednesday with miles of duct tape because I want every joint in every inch of duct run sealed airtight. Then I will have to call in the pest control people to fog the crawlspace to kill wherever they are breeding.

At least now I know that no more of them can get into the rooms.

Is it possible that your egg-layers could be in your ductwork as well? I didn't think so, because the larva need high humidity, but apparantly the adults don't.... so maybe it is possible.

"Sealed system", my... grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr......

(of course I'm kicking myself now, for believing those idiots)


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RE: White-shouldered house moths from new furniture

Congratulations on finding the source. Are you bringing the furniture back? We still have seen no moths but when we see the sacs they're generally near or peeking out from under the baseboards. Other than vacuuming them every several days and spraying the baseboards, what can we do? I'll have the ductwork checked, but I'm not hopeful. Don't forget about me just cause you've fixed your problem. I still need someone who'll sympathize with me.


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RE: White-shouldered house moths from new furniture

Oh, that furniture is gone permanently. I wouldn't have felt comfortable keeping it anyway, and wondering for the next 200-something days whether a lady moth had chosen any part of it for a nursery... and the majority of the moths were seen in that room. Already ordered a replacement sofa. In fact, the same one that we got for the living room but in a different fabric. That sofa is soooo comfortable! Much more so than the pieces I disposed of. I regretted ordering the matching loveseat the first time anyhow (childhood habits die hard, I guess) so this time I just ordered a sofa and will go furniture hunting for a different chair or other seating. The wood furniture is white painted, and I already have a corner hutch, end table, a small corner plant-stand type table, and the coffee table is supposed to be delivered next week. I'm relieved that I will be able to put the new sofa in there without worrying. You can bet that room will be scrubbed and vacuumed a dozen times before that happens.. just in case!!

The problem isn't totally solved of course, until the population in the crawlspace is dealt with. I bet the moths are feeding on stuff that was brought down there by rodents. I had forgotten that the previous owner had a rodent problem in the garage because he used to store open sacks of grass seed and bird seed in there. But he never did anything to clean it up!! Recently I read that if there are rodents in a house, they will carry food down to places like basements, crawlspaces, and under floorboards for storage; and the house moths will find those areas and lay their eggs there. So I will bet almost any amount on that being the reason (in addition to the darkness and dampness) that there are these moths in the crawlspace. So I will get the pest company to spray, and will try to get the HVAC company to replace the ductwork if there is any insulating material in it. Otherwise they will have to seal it completely. I would rather have it replaced but just to be on the safe side, that screening is staying put!!

When you say baseboards, do you mean the baseboard moulding or the heating baseboards (if that's what you have)? Have you seen any evidence of mice or had a mouse problem at any time? Only asking because of what I read about moths finding stashes of food under floorboards... Can you get underneath those floors at all, or are they on a slab?


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RE: White-shouldered house moths from new furniture

We're on a slab foundation. This is new construction and I am talking about the baseboard moulding. Unfortunately our tenants like to eat drywall and the moths are probably in the walls laying eggs and that's why we aren't seeing them. No, we don't have mice or other rodents. I don't even have an ant, roach or spider problem. Shucks! Those would be a piece of cake to deal with. The good thing is we're seeing fewer of the sacs, maybe 3-4 a day, so perhaps our vigilance is paying off because we're getting them still in the larva stage before they continue their reproductions cycle. Did I ever think I'd have to deal with a problem like this? Never!


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RE: White-shouldered house moths from new furniture

Mona, how is your moth situation? Have they finally disappeared? Ever since I covered those HVAC registers, there have been no more moths in the house (although several of them trapped behind the screening over the registers!). The HVAC company is due here on Monday to inspect and repair the ductwork in the crawlspace. They are still insisting there is no way the moths could be in the ductwork but the physical evidence doesn't lie!


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RE: White-shouldered house moths from new furniture

Oh, they're still with us. I had our pest control man come over and we found 2 in different parts of the house. He says he's been doing service for 14 years in this area and has never seen these, nor has any homeowner complained about these things to the company. I voiced my opinion that they seem to be coming from under the baseboards so could we dust or spray along the floor/baseboard junction throughout the house. We'd even move out for a few days if we had to. He called the "Head Man" and he says we can't get enough spray or dust under there and besides the chemicals won't penetrate the sacs. I should just keep vacuuming and removing them manually when I see them. I even thought maybe I would grout the baseboards to the tile and seal them up. The reality is these are PLASTER BOARD moths and they have a limitless suply of food within the walls if we seal them in. I'm going to call some other companies and see what they tell me. Because if the sac has an opening in the front and in the back, I can't understand how chemicals won't penetrate in there. I am losing my mind, though. I know it. My family is calling me "Bwana". I go on a "hunt" about 4-5 times a day. I no longer make eye contact with anyone in the house because my eyes are glued to floor. The other night I opened the patio door and a small moth flew in and I went CRAZY swinging at it and screaming for everyone not to let it get away! I'm surprised that I didn't break anything during my "FIT". And I didn't get the darned thing. I'm imaging it copulating in a fit of passion and laying it's 100's of eggs in a spasm of pleasure! OMG! Just pass the Paxil. Thanks for asking. I'm truly happy that your problem is solved. It is, isn't it? Since you put the barriers up, have you seen anymore in your home? I think you're right. Stick to your guns, girl.


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RE: White-shouldered house moths from new furniture

Oh, I can definitely relate to Bug Reproduction Paranoia. Remember that I have no idea (a) how many moths I didn't see/kill, (b) how many of them were females, or (c) whether any of the ones I did kill, had time to lay eggs before their demise. I don't know if 'your' moths' life cycle includes a diapause, but the ones here can extend their larval stage up to almost 300 days... so I'll be checking walls and ceilings automatically for almost another year, just to make sure no new ones come from the carpet or any of the soft furniture.

I agree that you should seek second or third opinions about control methods. Especially if the current guy isn't familiar with the species. My local company isn't familiar with mine either; I had to actually show them printouts of information I found via Google.

Just to show you how paranoid I got, one night I had a dream that I was in the TV room (one of the two problem areas), keeping one eye on the movie and the other eye scanning for fluttering wings as usual, when I suddenly saw a moth emerging from a kneewall section. Of course I went crazy with relief that I'd finally found WHERE they were coming from, and now I could have the pest company drill a hole into that wall and spray, yadda yadda (of course I killed the moth too). Happy happy joy joy. Then a few minutes later I woke up, still in a great mood over having finally solved the Great Moth Problem. Then confusion set in: If I was just downstairs in the TV room, then why was I in bed with the alarm going off? That's when reality hit and I realized that I don't have any sort of a kneewall in the TV room and the whole thing had been a desperation dream. Aaaarrrgh! Talk about starting the day off with a bummer........!!

Oh and you're right, not one moth in the rooms since I screened off the HVAC registers. Plenty of them behind those screens though!


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crazy control idea

This may not work on moths but I know that boric acid powder works on contact for tough pests like carpenter ants and roaches. Suppose you were to "caulk" along the baseboard/tile junction with a 'bead' of boric acid powder. Might it penetrate those openings in the sacs? At the very least, if the larval sacs are moving that means they have feet which would track through the powder (whether boric acid or something else) and be absorbed into the larva's body... at least I'd assume so.

An advantage to boric acid is that it's odorless and relatively non-toxic, so you wouldn't have to move out.


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RE: White-shouldered house moths from new furniture

You know, that's an idea I hadn't thought of. I'll try it. What have I got to lose? Thanks.


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RE: White-shouldered house moths from new furniture

I wonder also if they would travel across those sticky strips.... not the ones with chemicals in them, just sticky traps. I've seen them in white as well as yellow. They are used to control crawling pests such as silverfish when people don't want to put down bait or to spray.

Sticky strips would stop those traveling sacs in their tracks!


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RE: White-shouldered house moths from new furniture

Lainy, what's happening with your situation? Were the moths in the duct work after all? I tried your boric acid idea on a few sacs I placed in a container. I think they consider it food 'cause it didn't kill them. So, we're back to square one and more "hunting and picking".


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RE: White-shouldered house moths from new furniture

Well, it appears that the moths may not have been in the crawlspace ductwork runs (they were checked and appeared all sealed tight) BUT it was foudn that when they put the registers in the cutouts they didn't seal any of the space between the duct/register and the drywall. So there were gaps through with anything in the wall itself, could get into the metal duct that connects to the register grille, and from there into the room. The tech guy sealed the two in the sunroom all around with aluminum tape, then put the grille back on. I replaced my window-screen mesh as well, just to be on the safe side and to see if any more moths appear on the "inner" side of it. So far so good (it will be a week this coming Monday).

Have you checked your AC registers for the same problem??


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They're baaaack... er, never left, apparantly

Guess what I found the other day in both rooms. BUT... the pest control guy has verified that the moths are coming from at least one (maybe two) party walls between the rooms. We pulled off an outlet cover and out flew a moth... So what they will have to do is drill numerous holes in my (new..) walls, apply a pyrethrin spray, and see if it can luckily penetrate through all the insulation to where the moths are living. I don't want to even THINK of the last-resort alternative if that doesn't work.........


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RE: White-shouldered house moths from new furniture

I'm so sorry that you're still dealing with your moths. I thought at least one of us had a happy resolution. We're still seeing 5-6 sacs everyday. I have seen 2 moths over the past week and I'm assuming that they are the egg layers. They are so tiny that it's amazing I even saw them. With wings closed they are about 1/8" long and as thin as a pencil line. I am so disgusted over this situation because I don't see an end to the problem. You've given me an idea though, about drilling holes in the walls. But we'd have to do it in every room. I suppose we could drill behind pictures so patches wouldn't be noticeable.


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RE: White-shouldered house moths from new furniture

The pest control guy said that if they use a 1/2 percent pyrethrim spray, the holes would be about the size of a slim lead pencil. However, to use a more heavyduty spray (5% of 6%) they would need bigger equipment and the holes would have to be at least the size of a dime, maybe bigger. So they are going to try the half percent first, to minimize the damage that has to be repaired. There will probably be in vertical lines of four holes: one close to the floor, the next about 2 ft up, the next about 2 ft above that, and the last one less than a foot from the ceiling. And they should be 16" apart so that each "line" gets into a section between the studs.


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RE: White-shouldered house moths from new furniture

Lainy, since you're going to have to repair anyway, go with the higher concentration. It really isnt any extra work to spackle holes that are a 3/4" instead of 1/2"...


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RE: White-shouldered house moths from new furniture

Actually I did want the higher concentration but it appears that it's not entirely up to me. At the end of the bug-guy's visit I brought it up again and it seems that the real reason they would rather try the lower percentage first is that it can be applied literally with an aerosol or pump can, whereas for the tougher stuff they have to bring in bigger and more specialized equipment to apply it. But until they call me back after "more research", nothing is set in stone. Personally I'd rather use the bigger guns first, instead of using the wimpier stuff that may not work and then end up having to make new bigger holes after the first small ones are repaired!

I'm not worried about the hole-repair thing, because I now have a new contractor who does fantastic work... a real perfectionist, which is why he's had to correct or finish so many things that Slap-It-Together-Fast George and The Subs From Hell (would that be a good name for a band??) previously did... So, repairing drill holes?? Notaproblem!


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RE: White-shouldered house moths from new furniture

Lainy, have you drilled holes yet and have the moths gone away? Today has been our best day in a long time. I've only found one critter sac. Maybe our persistance is paying off. Don't you know,though, as soon as I've said this I'll find a dozen or so. Let me know how your situation is going.


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RE: White-shouldered house moths from new furniture

Hi Mona -- I was worried that the moths had carried YOU off by now! ;-) Believe it or not I am still waiting to hear back from the pest control company. I swear to god, I only know TWO people who have worked on this house so far who get back in touch when they promise they will.... or even show up when they promise they will... *sigh* Sorry, it's been a bad day. :-/

But I haven't seen any moths since the pest guy was here and put some of the spray into the walls through the electrical outlets, etc. However, I also know that there can be long stretches of time between "flights" (fresh generations) so I am not assuming anything. Like you said, 'as soon as we say something...' - whammo!!


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RE: White-shouldered house moths from new furniture

Lainy, it's not going to be the moths that carry me off, it's going to be the men in the white coats and nets.


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RE: White-shouldered house moths from new furniture

Well, if so, tell them to use some of those nets to take the moths away as well...

Hey, at least you haven't yet had nightmares about giant moths munching huge holes in your walls.... er... have you??


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RE: White-shouldered house moths from new furniture

Lainy, before you have nightmares you have to sleep and I'm not doing much of that these days.


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RE: White-shouldered house moths from new furniture

Okay, Lainy, should I laugh or cry? We haven't found anymore sacs. That's the good news. The bad news is that the spiders are eating them. What else is in store for us? Scorpians, rats, snakes, the Plague?


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RE: White-shouldered house moths from new furniture

Mona, I've been seeing a lot of spiders in my house lately as well. Some really BIIIG suckers, too! I think it is just "that time of year", especially if you have had a lot of rain recently, as we have had. Even though I don't like spiders, and I do dispose of any that I happen to find, I do try to keep in mind that spiders are actually beneficial insects in the scheme of things (not quite in the same category as ladybugs, praying mantises, and dragonflies.... but close) because they do eat many other insects that we'd much rather not have around. Such as plaster bag moths!!!

If I had the choice between spiders and ants, I'd rather have spiders. They are larger (easier to spot and kill), slower, and less numerous!


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RE: White-shouldered house moths from new furniture

My concern is that while in her home our niece was bitten on the leg by a spider. She ended up in the hospital for 5 days with cellulitis. Her doctors said they had quite a few patients they were treating for spider bites. So I'm afraid I'd put a blouse or a shoe and find I've got company. In hindsight, maybe the plaster moths were the lesser of 2 evils.


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RE: White-shouldered house moths from new furniture

Okay ladies, what is going on with the moths now? We have had a bunch of the white-shouldered ones in the house because we had been using the door to the garage to let the dogs into the back yard during the kitchen remodel. Last year I had birdseed out there that was infested with webworms and we have a lot of moths in the garage.

I went to Gardens Alive! and ordered six sets of their pantry moth kits. They are sticky cardboards on which you place a scented plastic doohicky that is a lady moth pheremone. The males go to it and get stuck. I have one in the garage almost covered with moths. The one on the living room TV has half a dozen or less, one in the kitchen just a few, and one in front of the bedroom TV just a couple. Have you tried these traps? I really don't want to use poisons.

Here is a link that might be useful: Gardens Alive! moth traps


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RE: White-shouldered house moths from new furniture

Well, I'm almost afraid to say this but I haven't seen a moth in 2 weeks. Of course I still have my HVAC registers covered with insect screen but I haven't seen any behind the screen either, as I was seeing before. This happy state of affairs could be due to one or more of the following factors:
1. When the pest control guy applied a little bit of spray in about four places (without drilling the walls... heck, he hasn't even called me back about that...what am I paying these people for anyway??), by incredible good luck the spray happened to hit exactly where the larva were (yeah right).
2. My sealing up of every opening I could find from those two walls into the house, was a better job than I thought.
3. The moths are "between flights"; meaning that one generation is finished, and I won't see any more until the next generation of larva pupate into adult fliers. That could take anywhere from 3 weeks to almost a year.

About the pheromone traps, when the pest control guys first came out they did try those, although they explained that normally they only work on the smaller moth species such as meal moths, clothes moths, and such. The big brown suckers usually aren't attracted to them. I think they were correct because I had adults flying in the same rooms as the pheromone traps and none went anywhere near them.

Mona, how are you doing? Who is winning, Team Mothra or Team Charlotte? (okay I read 'Charlotte's Web' a long time ago but I still don't like spiders much)


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RE: White-shouldered house moths from new furniture

I'm starting a new thread called "Moth experiences". Join me there.


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