Known as the butterfly’s more unruly cousin, moths are a pest that affect most people in the world. Sometimes it can seem like they appear out of nowhere, causing quite the annoyance especially at night! This can leave us with one simple question: “Just why the heck is there a moth in my bedroom?”
Many things could attract moths to your bedroom. Most, if not all of these are probably no surprise to you, but learning how to prevent their buildup is key. Some of the most common include:
- Dirty clothes
- Natural fibers
- Heat and warmth
- Bright lights
- Other moths
- Leftover food and drinks
- Old furniture
These are just some of the main things that moths find attractive. Keep reading to learn why these things attract them and how you can prevent them from coming into your bedroom in the first place!
Why It’s Important To Get Rid Of Moths Quickly
I know I know, we’ll get to the good stuff in a bit. First, I wanted to touch on moth reproduction a bit as it’ll help you understand WHY you need to get rid of moths sooner rather than later.
Once a moth gets into your bedroom, it can quickly reproduce, causing your problems to get worse than expected! Knowing how and when moths reproduce allows you to know what to expect if they find their way into your bedroom.
Moths Attract Other Moths
First of all, moths are like beacons to each other, especially if they are of different genders. In most cases, male moths are attracted to female moths because they produce a special proximity pheromone.
As the name suggests, this pheromone only lasts in specific proximity. However, within the proximity, it is extremely powerful.
Additionally, multiple moths together can make this pheromone signal stronger, increasing the attraction ability of an area. If you have female months in your bedroom giving off pheromones, it’s only a matter of time before males join in.
According to NC State University, even if some moths have “weaker pheromones”, it can strengthen the signal of those with stronger pheromones.
In other words, having more moths makes pheromones stronger in an area, which is key to their reproduction.
It may be also important to know that some moths opt to use ultrasonic/sound signaling to attract mates to an area.
Basic Moth Reproduction
Once two moths find each other for mating, they quickly join close to each other. After this process, the female has fully fertilized eggs and she must find a good place to lay them.
Just like any other common pests, females will look to lay eggs in places that can support their young. This means any place with an open food or water source is open game for these egg layers.
Some common places where moths lay eggs include clothes (especially stained/dirty clothes), dried food packages, and even carpets.
They will try to lay their eggs anywhere that has natural fibers or natural food sources, as these are great outlets of nutrition for their offspring!
Moth Larvae (Caterpillar) Lifecycle
Once hatched, moths emerge as larvae/caterpillars, which are very familiar to butterfly larvae. For this reason, you may accidentally identify moth larvae as butterfly larvae.
When they first hatch, moth larvae are ravenous, to say the least. For this period of their life, until they turn into moths, they have a hunger that simply cannot be stopped (luckily, caterpillars do hibernate in the winter, so their mothing opportunities are mitigated.)
They must consume insane amounts of food to support their quickly growing body, as well as the process of metamorphosis.
In most cases, moth larvae can consume well over their body weight daily to support this rapid growth.
If you’ve found that you already have caterpillars inside, take a look at our guide on the scents that caterpillars hate to keep them away in the future!
Now, onto the good stuff.
7 Things That Attract Moths To Your Bedroom
Now that you know some of the basics about moth reproduction and their attraction to clothes, we can discuss more of the other things that can attract them to your bedroom.
Although this is not a comprehensive list, these are just some of the main things that people find attract moths.
Moths Love Dirty Clothes And Laundry
As mentioned earlier, moths often lay their eggs in nice clothes so that their larvae will have a lovely meal when they hatch. These clothes can act as a food source for the young larvae, giving them enough sustenance to grow into fully adult moths.
With this in mind, simply having clothes made from natural fibers can attract moths to your room. Luckily, however, normally something needs to attract them to your house/bedroom in the first place before they find your clothes.
In addition, moths are especially attracted to dirty or soiled clothes, such as ones you would throw in a hamper. They like soiled clothes because the sweat and stains on the fabric act as an extra food source for their young.
Aside from keeping your clothes clean, investing in a hamper that fully closes could reduce the chances of moths getting into your dirty clothes. One great example is this Greenstell Laundry Hamper With 2 Removable Liner Bags.
Moths Lay Eggs In Natural Fibers
Just like with your clothes, any natural fibers are free games for moths to lay eggs on, and for moth larvae to eat.
Although you may not know it, many products feature natural fibers within your home. For instance, bed sheets, any clothing, curtains, towels, rugs, furniture, and even office supplies can all contain natural fibers.
In most cases, however, you shouldn’t have to worry about moths getting into those things, as they will usually opt to lay eggs in clothing because of its flexibility.
There isn’t a proper way to combat this moth attractant, although many homeowners like to use something like this Magnifying Glass With Light to inspect their curtains and bedsheet for eggs every once in a while.
Heat And Warmth Attract All Types Of Moths
Just like any pest, moths are extremely attracted to any type of heat source. Especially during the winter months, moths flock to heat sources to maintain a high metabolism that is required for reproduction and cellular maintenance.
The real issue with this comes if you like to have your windows open any time throughout the year.
The temperature difference between your house and the outdoors can often attract moths that will happily fly inside for a little visit.
For instance, I am sure we have all left a window open overnight only to find a few months and mosquito friends in the morning.
To help with this issue, you could invest in something like this NeatiEase Adjustable DIY Magnetic Window Screen to help keep them out.
To mention, this is probably the BIGGEST one. If you keep your doors and windows shut, you’ll really be able to keep the majority of moths out.
Moths Are Attracted To Sources Of Bright Light
Just like in the movies, moths are extremely attracted to all sources of bright light. There are many ideas about why they are attracted to that specific stimuli.
According to Boise State University, the light could interfere with their biological navigation, mimic the moon, or create dark spots within the moth’s fields of vision.
In any case, the moths are attracted to the light, which can especially be a problem when the sun goes down. To help with this, you could get some blackout curtains to block the light from your bedroom, or simply turn off the lights when the sun goes down.
Moths Seek The Presence Of Other Moths
For insects, moths can be a pretty social bunch. During periods of reproduction, the presence of one moth can increase the chances for others to come.
When multiple moths release pheromones in an area, the scent is so strong that it can simply cause a moth frenzy.
Additionally, during the winter, moths sometimes like to be huddled together for warmth (as well as reproduction). These issues often compile with their love of light and warmth, which can make your house a moth breeding ground during that time of year.
Again, there isn’t a straightforward answer to how to mitigate this attractant. The best way, however, to make sure that moths aren’t attracted to each other is to make sure that your room is moth-free to begin with.
During the winter months especially, do a full deep-clean of your room looking for moths, so you know you are starting with no intruders.
Now keep in mind, you may also have caterpillars living inside that hatch into moths. If you’ve found caterpillars in your house, they actually MAY turn into moths. It’s just as likely as a butterfly really. Certain species evolve into certain moth types.
If this is the case, take a peak at our guide on the things that attract caterpillars for more info.
Moths Love Leftover Food And Drinks
Just like any other pests, moths will flock to any leftover food or drink you have lying around. With large amounts of food/drink, moths will lay their eggs there, as it is a butter source of sustenance for their larvae.
This doesn’t even have to be large spills, however, as small bits of food and dried-up spills can also attract moths to your room.
In other words, keeping your room clean and mopping/picking up after spills is a great way to reduce the number of moths that want to be in your room.
Moths Prefer Old Furniture And Carpeting
Furniture that is worn down or was made long ago can be an attractant for moths. In most cases, this type of furniture is made of natural fibers that have worn down to a degree that is highly digestible by moth larvae.
Many people find that moths particularly like old carpets, and couches with wooden insides. Especially in the case of carpets, there is an abundant amount of natural fibers for eating, and loads of hiding spots to lay eggs.
Other than checking for eggs in your furniture, giving your carpet a quick clean with something like the Hoover MAXLife Pet Max Complete Vacuum could help remove eggs from your bedroom as its designed for deep cleaning carpets!
Basic Moth Prevention Tips
Keeping in mind all the factors that can attract moths, now we can get down to the nitty-gritty of basic moth prevention tips.
As with most pest removal attempts, not every tip will be useful or even achievable for you, so work with what is best for you!
Cleaning/Overhauling Your Room To Prevent Moths
First of all, cleaning out the area you want to prevent moths is a great way to keep them out. Because their eggs are so tiny, most cleaning attempts will get rid of them all, leaving the area moth-free.
Additionally, cleaning out spaces allows you to check for moth damage, tipping you off to any problems early on. Most sources recommend doing regular cleaning around once a month, with a deep clean around every year.
Cedarwood Repels Moths
Disliked by moths, cedarwood produces potent scents that just drive them crazy. The essential oils and natural compounds found in the wood are strong enough to repel most pests.
Most people like to use cedarwood for moth prevention, as it smells good to us, it is natural, and it is tidy.
Rather than using cedar wood shavings or chips, it can often come as blocks or rings. For instance, these Cedar Sense Cedar Rings are a great option for a homeowner who wants some tidy moth repellent.
Moths Can’t Stand Strong Scents And Moth Repellent
Many natural scents can work to repel moths from an area. Scientists aren’t exactly sure what it is about them, but these scents simply cause moths to run away. Some common scents that are used to repel moths include:
In addition to these scents, some companies make natural pest repellents that use their essential oils. For instance, this Wondercide Natural Products Pest Control Spray is a great option that uses natural peppermint scent.
You can real our full guide on scents that moths hate here for more repelling options!
Why Moths Are Attracted To Clothing In Your Bedroom
I’m sure we have all seen a cartoon or two where a moth flies into someone’s bedroom closet to eat their prized sweater. How much validity does this have though? I mean, they sell moth balls, but is the whole idea a simple tall tale?
In short, lots of moths like clothes at one point in their life, however, there is an enormous difference depending on what life stage they are in. Additionally, some species of moths don’t even like clothes at all!
Moths That Don’t Like Clothes
As mentioned, there are a few types of moths that never like or want to eat clothes. These moths often lay eggs in areas more abundant with things like dried food.
You’re likely to find either a clothing moth or a brown house moth in your bedroom in house. If you find a moth near your pantry, it’s probably a brown house moth or maybe even an Indian meal moth!
Thus, it’s more common to find the latter two kinds of moths in your kitchen or pantry.
More than likely, these moths shouldn’t be finding their way into your bedroom, unless you have stored food in there or their lost. That mean that common clothes moths are your most likely bedroom moth!
If you’d like to learn more about the differences between common species of house moths, take a look at our article on putting moths outside and the benefits (and negatives) that each species provides to the ecosystem!
Adult Clothing Moths
Moving onto the moths that like clothes, they can often be found in bedrooms and closets. These moths are so notorious that one species is called a “clothes moth.”
One interesting fact about clothes moths is that they don’t really “like” clothes in their adulthood.
As adults, clothing moths usually eat things like nectar, fruits, dried grains, etc. Supposedly, if they are experiencing a period of famine or food shortage, they can eat some natural fibers such as cotton and wool, although this is pretty uncommon.
Clothes Moth Larvae Habits
During that special stage in a moth’s life (as larvae), when they are most likely to eat you out of house and home, they are apt to eat your clothes.
For this reason, adult moths often lay eggs in closets, so that when they hatch, they will have an ample food supply.
Moth larvae will eat any sort of natural fiber they can find, including bamboo, wool, cotton, silk, etc. Unfortunately, these are usually found in our nicest clothes that we like to store in our bedrooms.
According to the College Of Agriculture, Food, And Environment, these young moths are such voracious eaters that they can eat natural fibers such as feathers and animal hair, making them a nuisance to even museum owners.
That’s A Wrap!
In the end, moths are a pretty unique pest to have. They are small, reproduce fast, and nest in unusual things such as carpeting and clothing.
Moth reproduction leads to eggs that must be laid in some food source. For most indoor moths, this means they will lay eggs on your carpet and clothing. Additionally, when moth larvae hatch, they immediately begin eating your carpet/clothing, which is a telltale sign of their presence.
There are a few main things that can attract moths to your bedroom, some of which include having dirty clothes, bright lights, sources of heat, and even old furniture. Even though some of these attractants are out of our control, there are a few that we can alter to prevent an infestation.
There are also a few things that you can try to prevent moths from coming inside in the first place. Mainly, really make sure that your windows are shut!
In addition to this, you may also want to call a pest professional. For help with this, check out our pest professional finding tool!
With this in mind, the last thing I have to say is good luck on your moth prevention journey!
Hampson, G. F. (1896). Moths (Vol. 5). Taylor & Francis.
Powell, J. A., & Opler, P. A. (2009). Moths of western north america (Vol. 64). Berkeley: University of California Press.
Frank, K. D. (1991). Impact of outdoor lighting on moths. In International Astronomical Union Colloquium (Vol. 112, pp. 51-51). Cambridge University Press.
Frank, K. D., Rich, C., & Longcore, T. (2006). Effects of artificial night lighting on moths. Ecological consequences of artificial night lighting, 13, 305-344.
Zack is a Nature & Wildlife specialist based in Upstate, NY, and is the founder of his Tree Journey and Pest Pointers brands. He has a vast experience with nature while living and growing up on 50+ acres of fields, woodlands, and a freshwater bass pond. Zack has encountered many pest situations over the years and has spent his time maintaining and planting over 35 species of trees since his youth with his family on their property.
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