Types of Moths and How to Identify Them
Moths are tiny flying insects belonging to the order Lepidoptera the same as butterflies. There are over 150,000 types of moths have been discovered in the world.
All types of moths have their own unique size, characteristics, appearance, and habitat. Though moths usually inhabit outside green spaces, forests, gardens, and lawns, some of them are known for living indoors and invading houses. Check out some common indoor and outdoor moth species.
Indoor Types of Moths
Brown House Moth
- The most commonly found moth flying around the house.
- 8-14mm long adult moths while the larvae are larger in size ranging up to 20 mm in length.
- Their body bears brown color with a couple of dark colored spots.
- Larvae feed on animal products like leather, feathers, and wool.
- The life cycle of these moths spans over an entire year, and there is one generation per year.
- Larvae are wanderers in nature and are known for traveling larger distances before pupating.
Case-Bearing Clothes Moth
- Notorious for making holes in fabrics and clothes.
- Adults are 6-8 mm long while larvae are longer, and reach up to 10 mm in length.
- Forewings of adults are dark buff-colored bearing 2-3 faint spots.
- Life Cycle completes within 6 weeks or longer if conditions aren’t favorable.
- Usually found near clothing items with the animal origin like leather, hides, wool, and fur.
Common Clothes Moth
- Larvae of these moths feed on fabrics.
- Adults are 6-8 mm long.
- Straw colored wings with fringed trailing edges.
- Larvae are almost 10 mm long and creamy white in color.
- Life Cycle depends heavily on outside conditions.
- In a favorable climate, the life cycle completes within 6 weeks, in extreme cold 10-18 months.
White-Shouldered House Moth
- Less damaging than other moths to fabrics and clothes.
- Average size is around 1 cm while larvae are a bit longer reaching up to 12 mm in length.
- Adults have white head while their wings are mottled.
- Larvae during pupal stage spin a silk cocoon around itself.
- Usually found in outdoor moderate climate, but can also survive in indoors.
- Larvae are scavengers and feed on a wide variety of foods.
Outdoor Types of Moths
- Adults are bright glittering grey, and their forewings bear dark-brown patches with gold-copper colored markings.
- Larvae are creamy white in color with a distinct black head.
- Codling moths heavily damage fruit crops.
- They feed on ripening fruits, and leave them after taking a few bites making them useless for consumption.
- Female moths lay eggs on branches, trunks, and leaves of trees.
- Eggs take almost three weeks to hatch.
- As soon as the caterpillar comes out it starts eating away fruits.
- Adult males have a light-brown colored body with dark-brown wings
- Adult females are white in color and have dark bands on their wings.
- Unlike other types of moths caterpillars of gypsy moths are black in color, hairy, and two rows of blue-colored spots on their back.
- Detrimental to trees and shrubs as they feed on hundreds of species of trees.
- They have the potential to defoliate an entire tree when they attack in groups.
- Females usually lay eggs on tree trunks and bark.
- Eggs overwinter in trees while waiting for spring to hatch.
- As soon as caterpillars emerge they start feeding on new tree growth.
- These types of moths are active during extreme winters during January and February.
- Females are virtually wingless possessing only small wings they are almost invisible.
- Female winter moths have a mottled-brown colored body, while their caterpillars are green in color.
- They feed on new tree buds and shrubs as soon as new ones start emerging in spring.
- If there is a severe infestation of winter moth caterpillars they can even defoliate small trees completely.
- Trees including roses, oak, maple, ash, and crabapple are among the favorite foods of winter moths.
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