My wife and I live in UA. We returned home in late April after an extended...

Asked August 12, 2014, 11:02 AM EDT

My wife and I live in UA. We returned home in late April after an extended absence due to a family illness situation. We found numerous small brown moths in the house. We killed the ones we could find and over the past two or three months we thought we had gotten rid of them. But in the past two weeks, they are reappearing. Can you tell us anything about what kind of moths we may be dealing with and the best way, if possible, to eradicate them? As I indicated, they are small and seem to be a light to darkish brown. I was under the impression that the life span of a month is in weeks, so the fact that we still have them in the house mean that eggs were laid and a new generation(s) are the problem? Thank you very much for your assistance. Sincerely, Bill and Julie Hood

Franklin County Ohio insect issues

1 Response

I would suggest capturing a few moths and bringing them into your local extension office. Proper identification of the moth species will help to narrow down the possible sources of the insects and therefore how to manage them or eliminate the source. Without seeing one, I can only offer information on 2 common suspects:

For example, one such small brown moth that commonly affects homes is the Indian Meal Moth. It is a pest of stored pantry products (see more here: It is possible your mystery moths are from a stored grain product left unattended after your leave, such as flour-based mixes, cereals, rice, pet food, or bird seed. For stored product pests like this, you can put these products in tupperware or zip-tight bags and freeze them to kill any potential pests.

Alternatively, the moths could be an outdoor moth from a nearby field or infested lawn such as a cutworm ( which have been reported as accidentally invading homes through windows or broken seals when they emerge, often in mass.

Without proper identification we cannot be 100% of the source or behavior of your mystery moth. However you can use the information above to inspect your pantry items and take precautions to freeze or seal them if it is suspected, or seal possible holes or broken seals in windows or screens to prevent outdoor populations from entering the home. With a proper ID, you will be able to have more exact information to help you.

I hope this helps you get started.