How do I get rid of wax moths?

Asked September 15, 2014, 1:38 PM EDT

We got rid of the honeycomb in our wall and ceiling, but now have an infestation of wax moths. When the wall was opened, the area was sprayed with chemicals and a couple of chemical strips put into the wall and ceiling area before resealing. One week later we are still killing 15 to 20 moths per day. I have covered the recessed lights in the ceiling which is their main entry point. Makes little difference. I now have no idea where they are entering our home. I'm wondering if fogging the entire home is the only answer to get rid of these pesky creatures.

Maricopa County Arizona insect issues urban integrated pest management moths lrk wax moths

1 Response

The bottom line is that there is still wax and honey bee nest residue within the wall voids. This is what the wax moths eat and it may take some time for them to completely clean out the residues. Fortunately, wax moths do not feed on anything else, so your clothing and stored food materials should be safe. Spraying, fogging, etc., just prolongs this process. As soon as the pesticide residues are gone, the moths will be back. The moth larvae are pretty adept at creeping through tiny cracks and crevices of walls, ceilings, and other structures. They often crawl some distance from the food source (to avoid predators and parasites) before they pupate and transform into the adult moth.

My only concern is that you have had the moths properly identified. Take some to your local Arizona Cooperative Extension office (look them up in the telephone book under government offices or look them up on the Internet), but you may want to call before you go. I just want to ensure that you are not dealing with the Indian meal moth or grain moths that could be in your pantry.

I had a similar case here in Ohio a couple of years ago, and it took the wax moths three years to clean out the residue and disappear on their own.