Common Clothes Moth in white powder

Are Moths Dangerous? The Shocking Truth

Moths are not overtly dangerous towards humans or pets. They do not bite or carry any diseases. However, moths can become quite a nuisance inside the home in a few different ways.

  1. Contaminate food
  2. Damage clothing, linens, and upholstery
  3. Can cause allergic reactions and skin conditions
  4. Can be poisonous if eaten

Although they do not pose a direct threat to you or your animals, moths can contaminate food and damage clothing and upholstery. A moth infestation can also take place very quickly as they increase in numbers rapidly and can find their ways into the smallest of crevices.

Contact with infested food or textiles may induce allergic reactions and mucosal irritations in people and animals.

What Do Moths Do To Humans?

Some moths can cause lepidopterism or caterpillar dermatitis, which is an inflammatory skin disease caused by contact with moth and butterfly caterpillars. The hair (spines) of some moth larvae may induce an allergic reaction. This might manifest as hives or itching and discomfort for a few minutes.

Furthermore, some species of moths can induce poisoning if eaten. Moths are hazardous to both people and pets since they spread germs across meals and certain types of pet food (such as dry pellets) with their droppings and white cocoons – left from the caterpillar.

Moth-infested foods can also cause intestinal issues.

Do Moths Bite?

Most of us have experienced the sinking feeling of seeing moth holes in a treasured piece of clothing. Fabric stored in closets, drawers, or other storage places may be moth-eaten over time, resulting in tiny punctures that create a mosaic of damage throughout your garment fibers.

Adult moths don’t actually bite, so what’s causing those moth holes?

Those who are to blame for the holes in our favorite belongings are larvae, also known as caterpillars. They enjoy eating through the textiles. Certain moth larvae, on the other hand, can sting and cause mild skin reactions.

Moth caterpillars have rough, bristly skin that differs significantly from animal fur. They are more like spines and, in certain people, may cause an allergic response when they come into contact with human skin.

Are Moths Poisonous?

Moths are not poisonous in general. As a result, if you inadvertently consume a moth or its larvae (don’t worry; it happens), there is no need to be concerned. There are only a few species of moths that can produce harmful chemicals when eaten, but these chemicals aren’t potent enough to cause damage to humans.

These moths often feed on poisonous plants during their larval stage, which is why they develop poisons as adults. Eating or ingesting somewhat toxic moth species in small quantities will just result in minor adverse effects. If this does happen, it would most likely cause an upset stomach, vomiting, or diarrhea.

Some moths with visible spiny and brightly colored hairs may contain greater poisons than others. Nonetheless, none of these moth species can kill a person or even a dog or other pet.

Dogs occasionally eat moths. However, there’s nothing to be concerned about. The ingestion of most moth species will not harm pets. If your dog ingests a poisonous mite, it can induce minor gastrointestinal issues in very rare cases. However, no severe troubles are anticipated.

Can Moths Hurt You In Your Sleep?

Moths can’t harm you while you sleep. Moths are the most harmless creatures imaginable. They lack any of the “toxic” bodily parts like fangs, mouths, claws, pincers, stingers, or other body parts that might harm humans.

The only way that moths could hurt you is if you were to ingest them while you sleep which is next to impossible. Even then, it would have to be a moth that is poisonous when ingested. However, moth caterpillars can sting you.

Moth caterpillars have tiny bristles that resemble spines and might inadvertently stick to human skin. Moths and their larvae are generally docile, thus the best defense is to avoid their way as much as possible. If you encounter one, never touch or handle it. They aren’t poisonous if you touch them, but their spines can prick you, causing skin irritations and itchiness.

How To Get Rid Of Moths

The larvae must be eliminated to prevent a moth infestation. Because moths can breed quickly, you should remove the larvae as soon as feasible. You could have another infestation in no time if you don’t soon.

Here are three measures to take care of as soon as possible to prevent an infestation:

  • Examine where the source of the problem is. It might be in a wardrobe, chest of drawers, or cupboard. Because you’ll notice the most signs of damage in that area, it should be quite obvious.
  • Begin removing the moths by setting moth traps to capture adult moths, and vacuuming frequently in the infested area to eliminate all larval stages.
  • Do laundry frequently including sheets, towels, and linens in order to ensure that no moths come back.

Most Common Moth Pests

There are a few distinct species of moth pests that can ruin your house, each with its own set of characteristics, behaviors, and lifespan. We’ve compiled a list of the most frequent ones to assist you identify which one you’re dealing with:

Common clothes moth (left) and larvae (right)

Common Clothes Moth

The common clothes moth is one of the most frequently encountered moths, and it is also one of the most destructive. The adult moth is 6 to 7mm in length with straw-colored wings. These moths typically avoid the light and can be found running, crawling or flitting across the floor or low walls instead of flying.

Clothes moth larvae are 10mm long and cream colored with brown heads, and they feed on a variety of textiles. In favorable circumstances, larvae may mature to adulthood in as little as 6 weeks.

Case-bearing clothes moth and larvae

Case-Bearing Clothes Moth

Another common and destructive clothes moth is the case-bearing clothing moth. The adult moth is similar in size and behavior to the common clothes moth, being around 6 to 7mm long. However, they are slightly darker in color and have three brown marks on each wing.

The case-bearing clothes moth gets its name because the larval caterpillar creates a silken cocoon around itself as it travels and consumes food. These are frequently said to resemble tiny grains of rice on the ground, but you may occasionally glimpse the head protruding from the case if you look close.

Brown house moth and it’s larvae

Brown House Moth

The brown house moth is less destructive and pose a lesser threat compared to the clothes moth mentioned above. The adults of this species range in size from 8 to 14mm. The wings are brown with three or four dark dots clearly visible on them.

They are known to be scavengers and, as larvae, they will prey on a wide range of textiles and food, including furs, feathers, and cereals. The growth from egg to adult is slow, usually only one generation per year, therefore the population doesn’t increase nearly as rapidly as other pests.

White-shouldered house moth and larvae

White-Shouldered House Moth

Another moth that isn’t as much of a nuisance is the white-shouldered house moth. Adults typically grow between 8 to 10mm in length and they can easily be identified by their white head and mottled wings. These moths are usually found in colder places such as outdoor buildings and structures. They are less likely to bother you indoors.

The larvae are cream in color with a red head, or may be found within a silk cocoon. These moths don’t cause as much damage to textiles as some other species.


Moths are not dangerous, but their larvae can be a nuisance. Moth-infested foods can also cause intestinal issues. If you ingested a poisonous moth, it could result in minor gastrointestinal issues. Pets may also experience gastrointestinal problems if they eat a poisonous moth.

To prevent an infestation, eliminate the larvae and set moth traps to capture adult moths. Vacuum frequently and do laundry often to ensure that no moths come back.

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